Rafael Nadal doesn’t like losing and isn’t used to it, especially on clay. Last season’s dropped Masters against Novak Djokovic were a one time blemish for him, and eventually, didn’t matter that much after he won the Roland Garros. But this week in Madrid has brought out a side of Nadal we didn’t really think we’d see.
First of all, losing to Fernando Verdasco isn’t something Nadal planned. He never lost to his countryman before, becoming the seventh player in eight years to beat Nadal on clay. That saying, Madrid isn’t Nadal’s favorite tournament, winning it only once since the move to Clay and outdoors in 2009, something Nadal has also been very critical. But losing to a player that’s never beaten him, in the third round of a Masters tournament?
Nadal was in a bad mood all week. Mad about the tournament for years, because it downplays his advantages. God forbid anyone create a clay tournament that Nadal can’t dominate. The Blue clay. To be fair, Nadal isn’t the only one who has complained about it, but it sometimes feels like something people rant on about because it’s the trendy thing. Eventually, both players are affected by it in the same way. It’s not an Anti-Nadal thing.
Verdasco celebrating like he just won a Grand Slam title was another thing to annoy the greatest clay player to play the game, probably. That’s how Verdasco talked about him at least. After losing thirteen times against Nadal over the years, it’s understandable to see such an emotional reaction from Verdasco. Nadal had to wait till Verdasco finished his celebrating before getting the traditional handshake across the net.
And while better fortunes should await Rafa when he heads off to Rome, where he has to reclaim the title after losing to Djokovic last season, he was less classy when his time in Madrid was up. Nadal actually threatened to not show up in Madrid next year if the Blue Clay remains. A day earlier, after beating Davydenko, Nadal said that if he’d lose, it would have nothing to do with the Smurf Turf.
Nadal lost some points with neutral fans this week in my opinion. Too much complaining never goes down to well. Frustration never leads to better results, and Nadal let his own negativity get the best of him in Madrid, against Verdasco and in the eyes of those who hope to see more of a class act from their Tennis idols.