New York: Rafael Nadal believes criticism of his form this year has gone too far. Nadal moved into the third round of the US Open on Wednesday with a 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 7-5 victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, which followed an impressive opening win over talented Croatian Borna Coric in round one.
Rafael Nadal returns during the US Open second round tie. Pic/AFP
It marks an encouraging start at Flushing Meadows for the Spaniard, who has fallen below his own high standards this season, losing 14 matches and failing to go past the quarter-final of any of the three grand slams so far.
Dropping to number eight in the world means Nadal could meet Novak Djokovic as early as the quarters, but the 29-year-old reacted angrily after the match when asked again about his recent decline.
"I am number eight in the world. I am not number 100," Nadal said. "It seems like I am number 200 in every press conference. I am not so bad. After I arrive here with the victory, I go back to the locker room saying how bad I am. Every day.
"For the fans, it is normal that they are worried because I am worried, too. If I am not playing well, I am the first one who worries."