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Nadal not panicking after Norrie defeat: “I have time before the Australian Open”

The world No 2 was beaten in three sets by Cam Norrie in the United Cup on Saturday

Rafael Nadal, United Cup 2022 Rafael Nadal, United Cup 2022 | © Mark Baker / AP / SIPA)

At the age of 36, Rafael Nadal knows not to get too excited about a win in the first week of the season, and not to get too down-hearted at a defeat.

And so, the Spaniard was able to put his 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Cameron Norrie of Britain in the United Cup in Sydney on Saturday into perspective, focusing on the bigger goals ahead; namely, the Australian Open, where 12 months ago he won the title in stunning fashion.

“Well, was not a disaster at all,” said world No 2 Nadal, who played at a high level throughout. “I can do things, of course, better, and I need to do it. I need to be a little bit faster physically, a little bit more solid, some less mistakes and making better decisions at some point, playing a little bit longer.

“It’s all the credit to him that he did a lot of things very well. In my case, I think there is a way to improve, but I have time before the Australian Open starts in two weeks.”

Missed chances costly for Nadal

Losing to Norrie is no shame; the Briton reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2022 and would have been ranked higher had the ATP not removed points from the competition over the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, a point Nadal made in his press conference.

The Spaniard served well – he hit 10 aces and won 73 percent of points on first serve – and it was only a rusty forehand, which contributed to 37 unforced errors, and six missed break point chances that stopped him from coming out on top.

“Especially in this beginning of the season, it’s important to catch these chances, because then the road is easier,” Nadal said. “When you win a match, then you will feel better, more confident, you relax yourself. But was not that case.

“So that’s over, and now it’s time to take the negative things, try to fix that. At the same time have been some positive things that I have been competitive against a great player. So let’s take that too.”

Norrie revelling in first win over Nadal

For Norrie, though, it was a breakthrough win, having been outplayed in previous meetings with Nadal.

“It’s crazy, I hadn’t won a set against him so that was the goal going onto court,” he said. “It was a very physical match, I’m very happy with the win. I was able to dictate the rallies in the third set, and the team helped me a lot to push me to the end.”

And the world No 14 said it was the biggest win of his career.

“I think it was, yeah,” he said. “Especially on ranking and beating a guy like Rafa as the competitor that he is. I know it’s his first match of the year, but it was a sick win. He absolutely chopped me the last five or four times I played him. Nice to get him once now. I really played well and held my nerve throughout the match.”

Nadal will get another chance to hone his game when he plays Alex de Minaur as Spain take on Australia in their next match.

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