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Nadal hopes to regain form on clay

Barcelona: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal gets an immediate chance to shake off his surprisingly early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters by going for his ninth Barcelona Open title this week.

The Spaniard is hoping to recover his clay-court form, after a quarter-final loss to David Ferrer in Monaco, where the eight-time champion made his earliest exit since 2003.

Nadal acknowledged that his confidence is shaken following the Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka, and says his state of mind “is what it is.”

Nadal said on Monday: “I started the season okay except for some lack of confidence and competitiveness in important moments of certain matches. I’ve faced adversities throughout my career, and this is just another one.”

Nadal opens play later this week.

On Friday, Nadal was shown the door from the Monte Carlo Masters after a straight-sets quarter-final defeat to fellow Spaniard Ferrer.

The eight-time champion capitulated in a first-set tie break before twice dropping his serve in the second to lose 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 to the sixth seed.

The Spaniard, who lost to Nadal in last year’s French Open final, had beaten his compatriot only once before on clay, and that was a decade ago. He said: “I have had to wait 10 years to beat him on clay. It was a long wait but I am pleased with the win and the way I played.”

Nadal, who made 44 unforced errors in the match, said after the match: “When your opponent is doing things better than you, the normal thing is to lose. That’s what happened. All losses feel bad, but especially on clay. I’m not playing well.”