LONDON: Rafael Nadal insists he will be back to peak form and fitness in time for the defence of his Wimbledon title after the exhausted world number one crashed out of Queen's against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Nadal looked a spent force in the final set of his 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-1 quarter-final defeat on Friday as the Spaniard's remarkable run of success over the last five months finally took its toll.
The 25-year-old arrived in west London for the Wimbledon warm-up event on the back of a record-equalling sixth French Open triumph and an incredible seven successive finals on the ATP Tour.
Since losing to David Ferrer in the Australian Open quarter-finals, Nadal had been remarkably consistent, but inevitably his mind and body have started to feel the strain of playing so many matches at such high levels of intensity.
He had nothing left to give as fifth seed Tsonga gave an inspired display, yet he is confident a few days rest back at home in Manacor is just what he needs to recharge his batteries before returning to England next week to begin practice at Wimbledon.
“I am very confident. I don't know if I will play well, but I'm going to Wimbledon with high motivation and hopefully in perfect shape physically,” he said.
“The negative thing is I lost here, but the positive thing is I have few days off and can stop a little bit mentally.
“After losing the second set I lost my concentration. I played a lot of matches in a row. I wasn't there like usual. I think I need a little bit of a break.
“It's important for me to be there with family and friends. I need a few days to be with them and hopefully come back to Wimbledon next Wednesday or Thursday.
“I will play some golf, go fishing maybe. That's relaxing, too. I can have a little bit of a distraction mentally and think of other things, not tennis.”
Nadal is adamant that he has every reason to be proud of his achievements this year, even if he lost four of those seven finals to Novak Djokovic.
But his belief that he should win every event he enters has placed a huge weight on his shoulders and lifting that burden for a short while until Wimbledon will be a relief.
“I can be a little bit more relaxed because every day I play with pressure,” he said.
“To wake up every day with that pressure that you have to play is not easy, and that's what happened for me in the last five months, every day.
“I had a tough Roland Garros. I had a tough clay court season and the American season included two finals too. So I played all the matches possible these last four or five months.
“My results in the last five months have been fantastic and I'm very happy for everything.”