Nadal Gains Confidence In Indian Wells

Nadal leaves the desert optimistic about his play

Rafael Nadal lost to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the sixth time in the last 12 months on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open. But Nadal still will leave Indian Wells in good spirits.

To the Spaniard, the mere fact that he's consistently advancing deep enough into tournaments so that he can play Djokovic encourages him, Nadal said. “If I play against him it's because I am in semi-finals and finals, so that's very positive news,” Nadal said. “Even if I lose, [it's] great news.”

Nadal, who fell to 12-5 on the year after losing to Djokovic in straight sets, will carry other positives with him from Indian Wells, he said. On Saturday, the Spaniard pushed Djokovic harder than he has in any of their recent contests. Nadal even had a chance to take the opening set at 5-4 on Djokovic's serve, but the Serb erased the break point and went onto hold.

“I felt for a moment that I was competing at the highest level possible,” Nadal said.

A few mistakes at the tail end of the first set were the difference, he said. “I believe that with a little bit more of confidence with my forehand at the end of that first set [I'd have] a better chance,” Nadal said.

Nadal, who holds a record 27 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, has thrown around “confidence” a lot during the past couple years. He's struggled with injuries and with his belief. But the past two weeks should only help his confidence on the ATP World Tour and against Djokovic moving forward.

“I think I played well during the week. I won very interesting matches, good ones,” said Nadal, who fought off a match point to defeat Next Generation star Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals. “Today was closer than the last couple of times against the best player of [the] world, so was a very positive week for me.”

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