Nadal finding it tough after Monte Carlo shock
Rafael Nadal admits his defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters was just the latest disappointment in what has been a tough year.
The Spaniard had been hoping to win a 12th title in the Principality but saw his campaign surprisingly ended at the semi-final stage when losing 6-4 6-2 to veteran Italian Fabio Fognini.
Fognini is only the fourth man to have won three or more matches against 'King of Clay' Nadal on the red dirt and can look forward to a showdown with Serb Dusan Lajovic in Sunday's final.
The loss has left Nadal with plenty to ponder as he continues to have to manage his troublesome knees, taking a month off ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters to rest up.
The world No.2 is scheduled to play at next week's Barcelona Open as he continues to build towards the French Open and admits he is in need of a confidence boost ahead of Roland Garros getting underway.
"I am coming from low moments in terms of injuries, and in terms of the mental side it has not been easy to accept all the things that have been going on," Nadal said.
"The problem is that sometimes we are used to being very, very solid all the time, and even coming back from injuries, winning and winning and winning, and things are not that easy.
"It is more difficult to hold the same level every single day when you don't have confidence in tournaments in a row or matches in a row. And that's what I needed. Even if I have been very competitive all the tournaments that I have been playing, all these stops create some instability...
"That's why I have been able to win all the things that I won, especially on clay. But it is always more difficult when all these things are going on."
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.