Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal refusing to panic after final defeat
Last Updated: 22/04/13 6:52am
Rafael Nadal was forced to hand over the winner's trophy in Monte Carlo
Rafael Nadal played down the significance of his Monte Carlo Masters final defeat to Novak Djokovic heading into this year's French Open campaign.
Eight-time champion Nadal relinquished the title he has owned since 2005 on Sunday afternoon after a falling to his bitter rival 6-2 7-6 (7/1) in the Principality.
Speaking after the match, Nadal tried to make light of the impact the defeat could have on his chances of retaining the French Open, the only grand slam event Djokovic has not won.
"It's no tragedy. I lost after eight years without losing here. That's the normal thing," he said.
"I think it was a positive week. I just practised here before the tournament. With not much practice, I was able to play the final."
After light rain delayed the start of the match for 45 minutes, Djokovic punished an error-prone Nadal to surge into a 5-0 lead in an opening set he eventually claimed 6-2.
And Nadal admitted such a deficit was always going to be difficult to come back from.
"Even if it's true that he started strongly, my feeling was that 4-0 was too much," Nadal said.
"He was playing great, yes, probably better than me, but I had that feeling that I was not playing that bad," added the Spaniard, who took a month-long break before the tournament after winning three titles following his return from seven months out with a knee injury.
"I need to put in a little more physical performance. That's the real thing, play all the points with the same intensity."