Rafael Nadal refused to make any excuses for his sub-par performance against Tommy Paul after he was knocked out in his first match at the Paris Masters on Wednesday night. The Spaniard went into the match as the overwhelming favourite to claim the spoils and managed to win the first set but was pegged back in the next two, with the result leaving him unable to regain top spot in the ATP rankings for now.
Nadal has endured a turbulent time of things over the last few months, with a troublesome abdominal injury making it difficult for him to perform at his very best during the latter stages of the match against Paul. He refused to blame the problem for his defeat in his post-match press conference, though, as he conceded that Paul was simply the better player on the day.
“It’s okay, no, all the credit to Tommy,” said Nadal when quizzed on whether his injury was responsible for shaping the result. “Things that happens sometimes. But no, it’s good, no? I think he played aggressive, a lot of great shots.
“I had my match in that second set with set and break. I played terrible game there. Yeah, I didn’t deserve the victory playing that bad in that key moment, no.
“Until that moment was okay, a good match for me. Knowing that is my first match since a while. Then this surface especially you cannot make mistakes with your serve.”
Nadal was then asked if he was distracted after becoming a father for the very first time earlier this month following the birth of his first child, but again insisted that Paul was the rightful winner in Paris as a result of his inspired performance over the course of the contest.
“No, a lot of things going on the last couple of months, without a doubt,” he added. “But, yeah, we are always ready to find excuses, but at the end, it’s always the same. You play well, you win; you don’t, you lose.
“And today for moments, putting everything in a pack, I was playing quite well. Then at the right moment, I didn’t make the right things, no? So that’s it. He played well. He’s having a great year.
“Yeah, credit to him too that he played with the right intensity, and right concentration and going for the shots, no? I think I was doing that for a while, but then I was not able to keep doing.”
The result marked the single biggest win of Paul’s career to date, with the American hopeful doing all the right things to pick apart Nadal as the match progressed despite going a set behind early on. The latter was the second high-profile name to have been eliminated from the Paris Masters on Wednesday, with Daniil Medvedev also being forced to pack his bags after he was conquered in three sets by Alex de Minaur.