Nadal: I don’t think opponents fear me

Rafael Nadal

Despite his incredible record on clay, Rafael Nadal doesn’t believe his opponents truly fear him.

The Spaniard clinched an unprecedented 11th Barcelona Open title on Sunday after demolishing Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets – one week after defeating Kei Nishikori to win his 11th Monte-Carlo Masters.

The victories have further underlined Nadal’s dominance on clay and have once again made him the overwhelming favourite to claim an 11th French Open title later this month.

Still, for all his dominance, Nadal doesn’t believe he strikes fear into the hearts of his opponents.

“I don’t think opponents are afraid of me,” he said.

“In 2015 there wasn’t any fear scenario and I had won eight or nine times here and at the Roland Garros.

“What makes you win is to play well which makes opponents have more respect.

“My goal is to continue at this level.”

Nadal, who also extended his winning streak on clay to 46 consecutive sets with his victory in Barcelona, joked that the only bad thing about his success is growing older.

“The only bad thing is that I get old,” he said. “It’s exciting for me.”