French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal says he performs better when nervous

Jun 08, 2018, 09:43 IST | AFP

It is the 11th time the Spaniard has reached the French Open last four, becoming only the third man in history to achieve the feat at a Grand Slam tournament, after Jimmy Connors at the US Open and Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the Australian Open

French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal says he performs better when nervous
Rafael Nadal celebrates his quarter-final victory over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in Paris yesterday. Pics/Getty Images, AFP

Rafael Nadal insisted he still "feels pressure" and is "only human", after battling back from a set down to beat Diego Schwartzman yesterday and set up a French Open semi-final clash with Juan Martin del Potro. The 10-time champion was much-improved under the sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier after finding life difficult the night before, clinching a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over dogged Argentinian Schwartzman on his fourth match point.

It is the 11th time the Spaniard has reached the French Open last four, becoming only the third man in history to achieve the feat at a Grand Slam tournament, after Jimmy Connors at the US Open and Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. "I don't have any obligation to win, first thing. Second thing, if you don't feel the pressure, it's because you don't love the sport," said Nadal, who has never failed to win the title in Paris after reaching the semi-finals.

"Pressure is good. You are able to control that. That pressure, that adrenaline, can be in a positive way." The 16-time Grand Slam champion was pushed for three hours and 42 minutes by 11th seed Schwartzman. When asked why he still felt stress before resuming yesterday despite all of his past achievements, Nadal said: "[Because] I am a human
person. "Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous." In dropping the opener on Wednesday, Nadal had lost a set at Roland Garros for the first time since a 2015 quarter-final defeat by Novak Djokovic.

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