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RAFAEL NADAL

Rafael Nadal: 'It's not easy to play almost every day for four weeks'

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by Gatto Luigi

Rafael Nadal's 17-match win streak was broken by Dominic Thiem, who beat the Spanish player 6-4 6-3 to advance into Rome semifinals. In press conference Rafa, who could have become World No. 3 beating Stan Wawrinka, praised his opponent's performance but admitted he could do better.

'He played very aggressive, hitting the ball very strong', Nadal said. 'The court here is probably the smaller on all the center courts on clay, so that's makes the players who play with bigger serve and hitting the ball strong, you know, is a little bit more easier for them to see the option to hit winners.

So he did it. He played very long. He didn't miss a lot. Played high intensity. Yeah, so in general I was not able to push him back. He had the control of the points much more times than me. That's the key of this game.' 'It's obvious that I did not play my best match', Nadal admitted.

'I have been playing a lot, and is difficult when every day or for a long time it's true that Madrid and Rome, back to back after playing Barcelona back to back, so is not easy, no, after playing almost every day for the last four weeks, no? Is normal that one day you don't feel not perfect, and if you are unlucky on that day that you don't feel that well the opponent play unbelievable, so then tomorrow I will be in Mallorca fishing or playing golf or doing another thing (laughter).

That's it. I'm going to rest a little bit that I think I deserve, and then I gonna start probably Monday/Tuesday to prepare Roland Garros, try to be best preparation possible during that week before. Is important event for me, obviously.' 'Of course I came in with a very aggressive game style', said Dominic Thiem.

'Because I knew that if I want to have a chance, then I have to do something different and be more aggressive. I knew that if it goes in, everything, maybe I have a chance. If not, maybe I also lose easy. But today was one of these days where I really felt the ball great on the racquet, and a lot of risky shots went in.

It was a very, very good performance and I think probably one of my best matches. It's a great achievement for me, especially -- I mean, even against him, if you're up a set and a break, you never feel safe because he just doesn't give you one easy point.

So you really have to finish the match off, and that's what I did today with a little bit of troubles in my last service game. I mean, he's this kind of player who never gives up probably. Probably the best fighter in tennis.

Especially on clay it's, for sure, one of the toughest things to beat him.' Asked what improved most than last year, Thiem replied: 'I think the serve and the return. The percentage of the first serve got higher, and I don't serve that fast anymore but around 200 and a lot of first serves in.

And then the return got better. I mean, I mix it up better. Yesterday against Querrey was very tough to return. At the end I put quite a lot in, and also today I was standing a little bit closer to the line on the serve. I think that's the biggest difference between this year and last.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: 'Every morning I wake up to improve' .

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Rafael
NADAL
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Dominic
THIEM
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