Rafael Nadal closely followed Roger Federer's process in deciding whether to play the clay season. The Spaniard admitted that at first, he thought that the Swiss wouldn't skip playing on clay.
'He said that he'd love to play me again in a best-of-five-sets match on clay, so I thought he'd play Roland Garros and two days later he says he s not playing clay. Maybe a little bit contradictory,' Nadal joked in his pre-tournament press conference in Monte Carlo.
The world no. 1 also commented on his physical condition. He is not feeling pain anymore: 'I’m not practising thinking about it. I am not very good with numbers, but I feel good and I am practising well. I think I am playing with the right intensity and I have a couple of days left until my first match.
I haven’t competed enough to know 100% that I will be at my best, but the feelings are good. I’ve played some good sets and that helps me. I love this event and the weather has been good. Being in Monte-Carlo always gives me the best feelings possible and good memories.
When the time comes to play, I need to be at my best. This is my first event of the year, that I hope I can finish and I am excited about that. I always try to be very focused at the beginning of the tournament on what I’m doing.
Every match I win is very important.' At the Australian Open he dealt with a Psoas muscle lesion for the first time, but in Acapulco, he suffered a setback. 'Mentally, it was even harder the second time,' Nadal admitted.
'The second one was frustrating because I’d done everything the right way to recover. I returned to Mallorca and it was tough not to have the opportunity to play tennis. If you’re injured and you’re able to do different things, play golf and different sports, it distracts you.
But with this injury I couldn’t do anything – no physical work and every movement I did, it affected the injury. I don’t like not doing anything, so I spent time in the offices of the Rafael Nadal Academy checking different areas.
I couldn’t be on the court [hitting with children] though as I couldn’t move. I am not a fan of watching a lot of TV, so I also spent time with friends and went out on the boat for a couple of days.' ALSO READ: 'Nadal is the man to beat' Goffin .