Rafael Nadal refused to make excuses for his poor performance against Tommy Paul after he was eliminated in his first match at the Paris Masters on Wednesday night. The Spaniard entered the match as the heavy favorite to claim the spoils and managed to win the first set, but was deadlocked in the next two, with the result leaving him unable to regain the top spot in the ATP rankings for now.
Nadal has been through a turbulent time in recent months, with a troublesome abdominal injury making it difficult for him to perform at his best during the closing stages of the match against Paul. However, he refused to blame the problem for his loss in his post-match press conference, as he admitted that Paul was simply the best player of the day.
“Okay, no, all credit to Tommy,” Nadal said when asked if his injury was responsible for shaping the result. “Things that happen sometimes. But no, he’s good, right? I think he played aggressive, a lot of great shots.
“I had my match in that second set with a break. I played a terrible game there. Yes, I didn’t deserve the win by playing that badly in that key moment, no.
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“Up to that point it was good, a good match for me. Knowing it’s my first match for a while. So on this surface, especially, you can’t make mistakes with your serve.”
Nadal was then asked if he was distracted after becoming a father for the first time earlier this month following the birth of his first child, but he again insisted that Paul was the legitimate winner in Paris as a result of his performance inspired by the course of the contest.
“No, a lot of things happened in the last few months, for sure,” he added. “But yes, we are always ready to find excuses, but in the end it’s always the same. You play well, you win, if you don’t, you lose.”
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“And today, at times, putting it all together, he was playing pretty well. Then at the right time, I didn’t do the right things, right? So that’s it. He played well. He’s having a great year.
“Yeah, I also give him credit for playing with the right intensity, the right focus and going for the shots, right? I think I was doing that for a while, but then I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
The result marked the biggest singles victory of Paul’s career to date, with the American challenger doing all the right things to defeat Nadal as the match wore on despite trailing a set early on. The latter was the second high-profile name to be eliminated from the Paris Masters on Wednesday, and Daniil Medvedev was also forced to pack his bags after Alex de Minaur conquered him in straight sets.
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