Rafael Nadal slams ‘disaster’ serve and backhand in Andrey Rublev Monte Carlo loss


Nadal was beaten by the Russian (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Rafael Nadal became the latest casualty of a Monte-Carlo Masters full of shocks as he was dumped out by Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

“King of Clay” Nadal, an 11-time champion at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, was far from his best in a 6-2 4-6 6-2 defeat to the Russian sixth seed.

Despite struggling early on, falling a set-and-a-break down, Nadal did claw his way back into the match but Rublev came roaring back in the decider, blowing the Spaniard away with his brutal power off the forehand wing.

While Rublev – who goes on to face Norway’s Casper Ruud in the semi-finals – has been in great form this season, any defeat on clay for Nadal is automatically viewed as a major shock and this is no different.

Nadal admitted his serve was a ‘disaster’ and criticised his backhand, suggesting it’s back to the drawing board in Barcelona.

‘Well, have been an easy match to explain, no? When you face great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose, no? That’s easy to analyse,’ said Nadal in his post-match press conference.

Rublev stunned Nadal (Picture: Getty)

‘For some reason I had problems with my serve. I don’t know understand why because I was not having problems on the practices at all. But today was one of these days that my serve was a disaster.

‘Serving like this, the serve creates an impact on the rest of the game. When you serve with no confidence, you are just focus on try to serve, not think about how you want to play the ball.

‘You just think about what you have to do with the serve to put the ball in. Then you have problems continue and prepare the point the right way, no?

‘Easy: he played well, he deserve more than me. I fought, yeah. That’s the positive thing, I was there. But you can’t expect win against a player like him losing my serve I don’t know how many times, but too many. No chance like this. Six, seven times? It’s too much.

‘He played well. That’s true. He played great. He played aggressive, as I knew. Well done for him. Happy for him. He’s a great guy. Wish him all the best.’

He added: ‘I think my backhand today was not enough well. Lots of mistakes. I was not able to open the court with my backhand then.

‘Yeah, is small things that I know, and difficult to explain. A few things that makes a big, big difference on the result and on my game that I was not able to make it today.’

Evans will face Tsitsipas on Saturday (Picture: Getty)

In the other semi-final fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face unlikely semi-finalist Dan Evans.

The British No. 1 followed up a win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic with victory against David Goffin, despite playing on his weakest surface. He has also reached the semi-finals of the doubles with fellow Brit Neal Skupski.

Goffin feels a mental shift has helped Evans – who had only four tour-level clay wins on his resume prior to this week – discover some form on the dirt.

‘I know him a little because I knew him when I was a junior. I saw him when he was younger,’ Goffin said after the 5-7 6-3 6-4 loss. ‘I could see his red socks and the clay. He could see he didn’t like playing on the surface.

‘Now with maturity, the past years he has been able to develop a good game with his own weapons.

‘It was only him who didn’t believe he was able to play well on clay. Now he’s more mature, has a more stable game, and he’s able to fight and believe he can win. He was the only one not believing it.’

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