Nadal turns back the clock in Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal says he has renewed vigour following his run to the Indian Wells semifinals, where he lost to world No 1 and defending two-time champion Novak Djokovic.

“I going to try to follow this to keep going at this level,” said Nadal, who lost 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to pre-tournament favourite Djokovic.

“If I am able to play weeks in a row at this level, then I can start to think about competing for everything.”

Nadal’s resurgent run to the semifinals will go a long ways to boost his confidence but it also should quiet the critics who say his career is in a tailspin.

The 29-year-old Spaniard is considered the greatest claycourt player ever and he has his nine French Open crowns among his 14 Grand Slam titles to show it.

But in the past two years he’s lost five times on clay to players ranked outside the top 15 and heading into Indian Wells he was 0-4 this year against players ranked in the top 50 this season.

“I played well during the week,” said Nadal. “I won very interesting matches, good ones, fighting.

“Today was closer than the last couple of times against the best player of world, so was a very positive week for me.”

Nadal has won the Indian Wells title three times but not since 2013. He won three times in 2015 but he lost in the first round of this year’s Australian Open to Fernando Verdasco, a player he has owned since they were teens growing up together in Spain.

“He was better,” said Djokovic of Nadal. “The first set was decided in one or two points, the second set was very close.

“I’m just glad to overcome this challenge that is one of the greatest in sport, playing against Rafa.”

© AFP

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