Rafael Nadal is motivated to win more tournaments and add another major to his 14 Grand Slam titles after his US Open exit on Sunday, insisting that he still have a “couple more good years” in him competing at a high level.
Nadal crashed out of the US Open in New York, suffering an upset against French Lucas Pouille 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) in Round of 16 of the final Grand Slam event of the year. Nadal failed to convert a forehand in the final set of their game, giving Pouille a fourth opportunity to finish off the King of Clay in a four-hour thriller at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The loss means Nadal will have to wait until next year before getting the chance to win another Grand Slam singles title, which the Mallorcan has yet to win since his French Open glory two years ago. But despite his recent setback, there is no shortage of motivation for Nadal to win a 15th major title, insisting that he still has more years of playing competitive tennis in his tank.
“I have the motivation to keep working. If I am hundred percent healthy, I have the energy to keep going. I believe that I can have a couple of more good years,” Nadal said, reports Tennis World USA. “I don’t start from zero. That’s a positive thing. I am closer than last year to be where I want to be.”
Following a regretful season in 2015, Nadal seemed to have found his old niche in winning tournaments during the European clay circuit earlier this year, winning back-to-back titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
But while it appears Nadal is ready to carry some of his momentum from his short winning streak into Roland Garros, he was struck by a major blow, a left wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from the French Open and skip Wimbledon.
It took Nadal more than two months before playing competitive tennis again, and his recuperation paid off at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing with a Gold Medal in doubles competition.
At the US Open, Nadal was touted by many to at least reach the later rounds of the tournament, with the world No. 5 admitting that his left wrist is still bothering him a bit. But Nadal insisted there was no excuse on his defeat at the US Open, barring any issues of tiredness as what he suffered during his hectic run in Rio.
“Of course was not a physical thing. Was not a mental or pressure thing. Was a terms of sport, and in sport you lose or you win,” Nadal added.
“When the opponent beat you, is not the time to find excuses is mental or physical. Doesn’t matter. The opponent was a little better than you. That’s it. You have to congratulate the opponent, go to the next tournament, the next practice, and try to be ready.”
With the season nearing its conclusion, Nadal can now only hope to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Currently, Nadal sits at No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Race to London, but not too far ahead of Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively.
This means Nadal should finish strong in his next tournaments in China, Basel and Paris to keep or improve his place for the Tour finale.
“I have a few months to finish the season, to try to be qualified for the World Tour Finals. That will be a good effort if I make that happen after two months and a half without competition. I going to fight for it,” Nadal said.