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Tennis | ATP

Nadal hoping to hone condition in Barcelona

Rafael Nadal is determined to put aside his first loss in a decade in Monte Carlo as he searches for peak physical condition this week in Barcelona.

The world No 5 brushed off his 6-2, 7-6 final defeat to Novak Djokovic at the weekend, which ended his bid for a ninth straight Monte Carlo title, saying it was "no tragedy".

Instead of moaning about missing out on another clay record, the 26-year-old merely re-dedicated himself to the Roland Garros run-up, starting in the Catalan capital where he makes his second-round start on Wednesday.

"Hopefully I can play another great week in Barcelona, play some matches that will keep helping to put me in the 100 per cent condition physically," said Nadal, who has won at Barcelona in seven of the last eight years.

"If we talk about tennis, I was pleased about my tennis," he said after Monte Carlo.

Nadal is ranked as the second seed on his home clay at the Real Club de Tenis, with friend and rival David Ferrer taking the top spot by virtue of his No 4 world ranking.

The classic hard-working underdog has lost three Barcelona finals – all to Nadal – in 2009, 2011 and last year.

The only year that Nadal did not play was 2010 when he sat out with an injury, but the title remained in Spanish hands as Fernando Verdasco triumphed.

Ferrer should be refreshed after skipping Monte Carlo due to the thigh injury he suffered during his losing Miami final with Andy Murray last month.

In opening day first-round play, Croatian Ivan Dodig beat Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, Russian Alex Kuznetsov put out Igor Sijsling 6-1, 6-3 and Italy's Paolo Lorenzi won over Guillaume Rufin of France 6-4, 6-2.

Well over a third of the 48-man field is Spanish, with home players taking three of the top four seedings.


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