Rafael Nadal looking forward to playing on clay again

Last Updated: 02/04/14 5:16pm

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Rafa Nadal: Looking forward on playing on his favourite clay surface

Rafa Nadal: Looking forward on playing on his favourite clay surface

Sky Bet

Rafael Nadal is relishing a return to playing on his favoured clay surface after having what he describes as a 'good, but not fantastic' start to 2014.

The world No 1 won the Qatar Open on the hard courts in January and took the Rio Open title on clay a month later.

However, he could only finish as runner-up in two other hard court finals. A back injury ruined his chances of becoming only the third man to win all four major titles twice as he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.

He was then beaten 6-3 6-3 in the Sony Open final against Novak Djokovic and admitted that he had been outplayed by his rival.

"I think I have started the season quite well, not fantastic but good," Nadal said

"In the Miami final I was not at the level of Djokovic, obviously he was quite a bit better than me."

Forty three of the Spaniard's 62 singles titles have come on clay, including the French Open which he has won eight times.

Nadal will have the chance to retain this title for a fifth successive year when the tournament begins at the end of May. Before that the 27-year-old can also claim a ninth title at the Monte Carlo Masters later this month and has clay events in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome.

Nadal says he will take the positives from Miami into the claycourt season.

"It was important for me in terms of confidence for the clay season," he said.

"As always I am coming into the clay swing with the maximum level of hopeful anticipation and I am eager to do well and eager to start training on clay.

"The only thing I can do is try to work hard and get to the clay season well prepared in tennis terms and in good physical and mental shape."

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