Rafael Nadal says he still has work to do on his game as he gets set to launch his claycourt season, which the Spaniard hopes culminates with his ninth French Open title.
World No. 1 Nadal lost in straight sets in the final of the Miami Masters tournament on Sunday to second seed Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win as he easily dismantled Nadal, who has been hampered by a back injury that wrecked his Australian Open bid earlier this year.
Thirteen-time Grand Slam winner Nadal said, despite the loss, which dropped him to 0-4 in Miami finals, he feels good about having made it to the final.
“It is great that I am in the top of the race arriving to the claycourt season,” Nadal said. “But now we start on clay and I need to be 100 per cent.
“I need to work hard and try to be in better shape for clay.”
Miami is one of just three ATP Tour Masters 1000 events that Nadal has failed to win.
“To be able to play in the final here is a lot of points,” Nadal said. “I had a few good matches so that gives me confidence to start a very important part of the season for me.”
Asked on Sunday if his back is still bothering him, Nadal said: “No. I am fine. Thank you very much.”
Nadal’s success on clay has earned him the nickname “King of Clay.” By winning last year’s French Open, Nadal became the first player to win a single Grand Slam tournament eight times.
Djokovic said on Sunday he ranks victories over Nadal to be his most satisfying.
“He is definitely the biggest rivalry I have in my tennis career,” said Djokovic.