London: Spanish tennis maestro Rafael Nadal has refused to complain about losing his numero-uno spot in the men’s rankings to long-time rival Roger Federer, after he slumped to straight-sets defeat to Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open.
Prior to his last-eight match against Thiem, the top-seed had improved his consecutive sets won on clay streak to 50 and looked all set to continue his impressive show on the format and retain his number-one spot.
However, Nadal’s 21-match winning streak on the clay court was eventually broken as Thiem went on to clinch a 7-5, 6-3 win over the Spaniard in just under two hours.
Nadal will now officially lose his top rank to Federer when the updated ATP Rankings will release on Monday, but the 31-year-old can retain his top spot with a win at the Rome Masters, which begins on Sunday.
But Nadal chose to take positive out of his defeat as he believes he would place himself in a good position ahead of the season-ending ATP Finals.
“I think I placed myself in a good position, more or less. I am No. 3 in the Race of the year, which is the most important thing. I still have two good weeks on clay, and then I’ll keep on moving forward. This is the reality,” the ATP website quoted Nadal as saying.
“I lost the No. 1 before, but what makes me happy is I feel fit, can compete with possibilities every single week. This is my final goal: to be happy. That’s what I’m working on,” he added.
It was Thiem’s third victory over Nadal in their nine FedEx ATP Head-to-Head matchup.
Describing Thiem as `one of the best players in the world`, Nadal admitted that the Austrian player performed exceedingly well while he was never in a good position throughout the match.
“I am playing against one of the best players of the world. He played well. We played in special conditions. The ball flies more here… I was not under control of the point [for most of] the match,” Nadal said.
“Whenever he plays really well, it’s very difficult to stop him. If he plays well, I just need to stop him. That was not the case today. He played well and I didn’t play well… We’re not playing a game where the differences are big or massive. The differences are very small,” he added.
Nadal had earlier won his 11th Barcelona Open title and 11th Madrid Open title to regain his number one spot. He went on to snap John McEnroe’s 49-set winning streak on the carpet in 1984 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina at the Madrid Arena. (ANI)