Over the last few weeks, Rafael Nadal has turned his dismal season around, reaching finals in both the China Open and Swiss Indoors in Basel, and the semifinal of the Shanghai Masters. The former world number one revealed his confidence issues and 'mental injury' earlier this year, although he's been working hard ever since to overcome it. "The story now is different, no? I'm enjoying on the court," Nadal said. "I don't have the nerves I had during the season. Doesn't matter if I lose, I win, but I'm enjoying on court, on practice court, so I'm going to be there."
Preparation For 2016
Nadal is using his time on court in the remainder of the season to prepare for 2016. He's also practicing more, and targeting specific things such as the return, that will help his progress for a next year. The Spaniard plans to play as many matches as possible, including exhibition matches in the off-season, to put what he's worked on in practice into action. "Everything (will be) like a practice.", said Nadal.
“I’m working on things I believe can help in the future,” he explained. “And for the moment, myself and my team is happy with what we’re doing. We practiced three hours every day the last couple of months. Now we’re using our time a little bit differently. So it’s good to practice differently when you feel that you need to improve something.”
Qualification For ATP World Tour Finals
Despite a number of setbacks this year, Nadal is now fifth in the ATP Race To London, and has already qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals. "I always believed that I was going to be in the top eight at the end of the season, but always with the respect," he said. "Even if I had the tough moments this year, I knew the year is long and normally I would have some good weeks to qualify." said the Spaniard.
World number one Novak Djokovic, who has picked up three of the four Grand Slam titles this season, is not taking Nadal lightly despite his tough year; “Rafa didn’t have a season up to his standards, but he’s finding a way to win and finding a way to get to finals,” said the Serb. “You’ve got to give him credit for that. It’s not easy when you’re not feeling that great on the court. He’s said that; everybody knows that. He has a lot of pressure because of the amount of tournaments he has won in his life and the records he has. Of course, he’s expected to reach the semis or finals of each event. He hasn’t done that too many times this year at the biggest events. Nevertheless, he’s still a great champion. He’s still somebody who is always the one to look out for. He’s always one of the biggest candidates to win any tournament on any surface. It doesn’t change much in my eyes.” explained Djokovic.