Rafael Nadal and indoor, it’s always the same story. An old story. On October 23, 2005, the Mallorcan won the Masters 1000 in Madrid, at home. Before being resettled in the spring and on land in place of Hamburg and giving way to the autumn calendar in Shanghai, the Castilian tournament took place indoors and on a fast surface. At 19, this success of the very young Nadal inevitably called for others. But 15 years and two weeks later, it remains the only indoor title on “hard” for Nadal.
Novak Djokovic (and incidentally Roger Federer) absent, and with the possibility of riding the wave of his victory at Roland Garros, the Spaniard seemed to have a real chance to win for the very first time at Bercy. Missed. Beaten in straight sets by Alexander Zverev on Saturday, he won’t even play his second final there after the one lost in … 2007. And that’s not even a surprise. Mistreated since the start of the week, Nadal had already had to fight to reach the last four.
Too little, too late
However, he wasn’t exactly devastated after his defeat, more Zverev’s victory than his own failure, according to him. “I think he plays really great tennis, judged the world number 2. He just won two tournaments in a row, and today he was very strong. He served bombs, and even on the forehand, he felt the ball well as he sometimes makes mistakes and his backhand is still performing well.“Nadal is not wrong. It was very, very good Zverev and, in these playing conditions, the German, who had already beaten the Mallorcan at the Masters last year without losing a set, is a client. when he is evolving at the level that was his on Saturday.
The man with the 20 Grand Slams tried to adjust during this semi-final. After dismissing two double-break balls at 6-4, 4-2, he even managed to get back in the direction of travel. But it was too little, too late: “I think I have returned better than the previous days, but at first it was impossible. So I decided to get like eight yards behind the baseline later in the game and it didn’t go too badly. But I think I figured it out a little too late to get through.”
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“For the most part my game is in place”
In the absence of a title or even a final, Rafael Nadal nevertheless believes that the results of his week in eastern Paris are far from being thrown away. “I was competitive, and I lost to a player in great shape who is very successful on this surface. So it’s still a positive tournament for me, he assures. I had the right attitude all week, I fought. Of course, I’m not happy that I lost, I really wanted to win the tournament, but I lost to a great player. He played a little better than me. It’s part of the game.”
Having decided to ignore Sofia, Nadal will now try to “carpet” in London. The Masters, the ultimate symbol of his indoor difficulties, can he finally smile at him? He wants to believe it: “Being able to play four games here will help me for London. I still need to tweak a thing or two, but for the most part my game is fine. We’ll see. I still have a week to work, I hope to be ready. “After this Bercy, two well-anchored certainties remain: to beat Nadal, even indoors, you have to be strong. But for the Spaniard to give a little brother to the Madrid title in 2005, he will need to do a lot. more.