Nadal: I’m not as good as I was

“Obviously today I’m not as good as I was,” the Spaniard said. “Life has been fantastic with me. Today I’m not winning as much as I did in the past. Life continues.”

Nadal dropped out of the top five in the ATP rankings at the start of the week for the first time in 10 years, falling to world No 7 following his first defeat on clay to Andy Murray in the Madrid Masters final.

It was his fourth defeat on his favourite surface this year, only two weeks before starting his quest for a 10th French Open title.

It was also the first time Nadal has lost four straight clay matches during the same season since 2003.

“You are wrong if you think that the last week was a negative week for me,” Nadal, 28, added. “Last week was a positive week for the confidence and a lot of things. Let’s see if this week I can improve on last week.”

After a first-round bye, Nadal begins his Rome Masters campaign against Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan on Wednesday.

However, the Mallorcan, a seven-time champion at the Foro Italico, strongly rejected suggestions he should consider removing Toni Nadal, his uncle, as coach ahead of the major championship at Roland Garros.

“If things are not going well it’s because I am not playing well,” he said. “Not because of the coach.”

Nadal revealed he would never sack his uncle and said: “No. It’s not only my decision. That’s a decision of two people, not only one. Don’t forget that Toni is more my uncle than my coach.

“If in any moment of my career I change some member of my team, it will not be because I am losing or winning,” Nadal added. “It will be because there is not enough motivation for one another.”