Rafael Nadal admits: 'I did not deserve to win'

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Rafael Nadal admits: 'I did not deserve to win'

Rafael Nadal skipped the second part of the previous season and made a perfect return this January. The Spaniard conquered the Australian Open and Roland Garros and reached the Wimbledon semi-final. Instead of chasing the third consecutive Major crown, Nadal withdrew ahead of the Nick Kyrgios clash due to a seven-millimeter abdominal tear, losing ground and still struggling almost four months later!

Rafa skipped Toronto and lost in the Cincinnati second round. He won three matches at the US Open, but the pain prevented him from serving at his best. Frances Tiafoe toppled Nadal in four sets in the fourth round, and it was the Spaniard's last singles match until Wednesday.

Rafa returned at the Paris Masters and experienced a 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 loss to Tommy Paul in two hours and 32 minutes. Nadal was a set and a break in front before Paul bounced back in the second set and claimed it in the tie break.

Struggling physically, Nadal faded from the court in the decider, losing serve three times and hitting the exit door. Rafa admitted he deserved to lose after playing a terrible service game from a set and a break up. He lost the crucial points and acknowledged that his rival played on a higher level.

Tommy lost serve three times to fall behind.

Rafael Nadal made an early exit at the Paris Masters.

Still, he turned 42% of the return points into five breaks, enough to survive the second set and dominate the third. Paul had 29 winners and 27 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and attacking the net.

He took advantage of Rafa's 35 unforced errors and built the lead in the shortest range up to four strokes, thanks to his aggressive approach. Nadal netted a routine forehand to lose serve at the start of the final set and missed his opportunity on the return in the fourth game.

The Spaniard sprayed a volley error in game five to fall 4-1 behind and propelled the opponent over the finish line after the American's volley winner at 5-1. "I was in control, leading a set and a break up. I played a terrible game when Tommy broke back.

I played badly in the crucial moments and did not deserve the victory. I played a good match up to that point, knowing it was my first encounter in almost two months," Rafael Nadal said.