Rafael Nadal on shock Rome loss: That day Diego Schwartzman was better than me

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Rafael Nadal on shock Rome loss: That day Diego Schwartzman was better than me

Record 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal was happy with the way he kicked off his campaign at Roland Garros. Nadal, seeded at No. 2, saw off Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 6-4 6-4 6-2 in his first match since suffering a shock defeat in the Rome Masters quarterfinal against Diego Schwartzman.

Gerasimov led 2-0 after the opening three games of the first set but then Nadal claimed three breaks in a row to easily overturn the deficit. "I played some good forehands down the line. That's a key shot for me. I will try to play a bit longer next time, but it was a normal 1st round.

I didn't expect much more. I'm happy with the match," Nadal said after beating Gerasimov, per Nikolaus Fink.

Nadal said Schwartzman was simply better than him

World No. 2 Nadal acknowledged Schwartzman was simply the better player on the court when they met at the Rome Masters just less than two weeks ago.

Going forward, 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal wants to serve better. "Sport is very changing, change very quick, you know, the dynamics change quick. That day Diego was better than me. I was not enough solid, and the serve was not good at all," Nadal said, per Ravi Ubha.

"I'm trying to serve with high percentage. That's the first step that I have to do. When I know that I can have a big percentage of first serves, then is the moment to increase the speed and increase the aggressiveness on the serve, no? "Step by step.

Today was the first step. Tomorrow, another day for practice. That's the only thing that I try to look at this tournament, no? "Try to be happy about every single improvement and try to give me a chance to be better every day."

Meanwhile, French tennis star Gael Monfils wondered why most of his good clay results usually come at Roland Garros. Monfils, ranked at No. 9 in the world, suffered a disappointing first round exit at the French Open on Monday as Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik won 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3.

"I lost the rhythm. And also, there was something I was wondering about – I’ve never had good results on clay except for Roland Garros. It’s only at Roland Garros that I manage to be better. Is it because it’s Roland Garros, I don’t know," Monfils said, per Ravi Ubha.