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Stressed Nadal dissatisfied with winning start

Last updated on: May 26, 2010 11:50 IST

'I played poorly'

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Rafael Nadal's 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over French teenager Gianni Mina looked as stress-free as it gets for the four-times Roland Garros champion but the Spaniard was far from happy on Tuesday.

"I played poorly because I made a lot of unforced errors," said Nadal, back to reclaim his crown after last year's shock fourth-round defeat by Robin Soderling.

"The ball was not doing what I wanted to do. I didn't play well. That's the truth. That's why I couldn't play my game as usual. I did things in such a way that I couldn't play well compared with what I usually do.

"I'm a bit nervous or stressed. It's the first round. The first round is always difficult in this tournament. But I have to re-focus and calm down and move forward," he said.


Image: Rafael Nadal
Photographs: Reuters
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'Right now it's difficult to speak about favourites'

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Nadal's French Open build-up was perfection with 15 consecutive wins on clay in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid and despite being seeded behind defending champion Roger Federer he is most people's favourite to reclaim the title.

The Mallorcan, who endured injury problems and poor form in 2009 after suffering his first defeat at Roland Garros a year ago, was at pains to play down those expectations as he continues to try and recover his best form.

"Right now it's very difficult to speak about the favourites," he said. "Sure I am one of the players that if I play my best tennis I'm gonna have chances but a lot of players think the same than me."

Nadal had plenty in reserve against 18-year-old wildcard Mina who was far from overawed by playing one of the greatest claycourters the game has seen in the first round.


Image: Rafael Nadal

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'I was probably a pain for Nadal'

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The runner-up in last year's junior singles, Mina delighted the crowd on a muggy Court Suzanne Lenglen with bold shot-making, occasionally wrong-footing his opponent with flashing winners.

He never really threatened to extend the contest, however, and bowed out with a forehand over the baseline as Nadal took his Roland Garros record to 32-1 and set up a second-round match against Argentine Horacio Zeballos.

"I had some nice exchanges and very nice shots," Mina said. "I don't know if it was his best match but he had to fight back. I was probably a pain for him."


Image: Gianni Mina

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