Madrid: World No 1 Rafael Nadal admitted yesterday shock defeats to David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro in recent weeks have shaken his confidence as he looks to defend his Madrid Masters title this week.
Stressed out: Rafael Nadal talks to the media in Madrid yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The 13-time Grand Slam champion has appeared almost unbeatable once he hits the red clay of Europe in recent years, but comes into Madrid having lost at the Monte Carlo Masters for only the third time in his career and for the first time at the Barcelona Open since 2003.
"Losing always creates doubts, anyone who tells you the opposite is lying," he said. "There is no benefit in losing. The easiest thing is to keep winning because everything comes naturally without thinking.
"When you lose you think more about where to move on the court, where to hit the ball, but that is what has happened and as I have said various times you cannot win in Monte Carlo or Barcelona 12 times.
"To lose twice in the quarter-finals is normal. Perhaps what has been abnormal is what has happened in recent years."
However, the Spaniard is hoping the energy of the home crowd will provoke a return to form. "I feel a bit better and I am desperate to play in this tournament because it is always special for me. The energy this tournament gives me is a bit different and hopefully you will see that on court."
Djokovic pulls out
Meanwhile, World No 2 Novak Djokovic was forced to pull out of this week's Madrid Masters due to an ongoing right wrist injury.
Clinches his third Madrid title after a 6-2, 6-4 win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the final
Avenges his loss to Roger Federer in the 2009 final with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win in the final
Wins his first title in Madrid after a marathon 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) victory over Ivan Ljubicic
Loses his title to Novak Djokovic in the final
Loses in the final to Roger Federer