Nadal returns to clay to salvage season

HAMBURG: Rafael Nadal heads back to the comfort of clay next week as the struggling Spaniard attempts to resolve the crisis that has gripped his game.


The 29-year-old is top seed at the Hamburg Open but his decision to play a European clay tournament with the US hardcourt season just around the corner has baffled many.

“It’s obvious that the situation is different,” said Nadal on Saturday.

“I have lost more [this year] than in the last 10 or 11 years.”

In a testing 2015, Nadal has seen his world ranking slump to 10 — his lowest in a decade — and lose his French Open title where he had been champion nine times.

He has already been defeated 12 times this year, including just a second career loss at Roland Garros and a second round exit to German journeyman Dustin Brown at Wimbledon.

In 2014, Nadal was beaten just 11 times. He was defeated only seven times in 2013 and lost a mere six matches in the whole of 2012.

“I need to accept that it is a new situation and face it with a good attitude and keep working hard to return to a good level,” added Nadal.