Nadal: 'Now I have to work a little bit ... hours and hours on a grass court'

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The Independent Online

If Rafael Nadal thought he was in fantasy land after beating Roger Federer here last night, that feeling will be reinforced when he performs his first duty today as the six-times French Open champion. Before setting off for London, where he will be playing in the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club, Nadal is off to Disneyland Paris for a photo-shoot.

The sense of unreality will not last long. Nadal hopes to play doubles at Queen's tomorrow and his first singles match on Wednesday. "Now I have to work a little bit on grass," the Spaniard said. "It's always a big change. Even if I had success on grass in the past, it's always a big change for me, so I have to adapt my game again and try to remember what I did well on grass and what I have to do to have the same feeling again. That means spending hours and hours on a grass court."

Nadal believes his victory here can only improve his prospects on grass. "After winning a title like this, you go there with a different attitude, with very positive confidence," he said. "Winning here makes me play Queen's and Wimbledon with less pressure.

"Roland Garros is always the Grand Slam tournament where I feel that I have more chances to win, so this is my biggest chance of the year. If I win this tournament, I know my year is fantastic.

"You are able to play with less pressure for the rest of the season. You are able to keep playing with the same positive attitude every day, but with less pressure than before and with more confidence. This title is always important for me every season. When I've won here I've always had a successful season."

Nadal said that he had started in Paris with less confidence than usual after his four successive defeats in Masters Series finals to Novak Djokovic. "I was practising OK but when I went on the court to play a match I was too anxious," he said. "What I said one week ago was that I was going to do everything to try to change the situation, to try to play better. That's what I did. I tried my best all the time and always had the right attitude."

Nadal said Federer had played "a fantastic tournament" and added: "Today I think he did well. He was a little bit unlucky in the first set and after that he came back fantastically well in the second.

"In the third I was 4-2 up, but I think he played very, very well from that moment to the beginning of the fourth set. I just had to wait for my moment and tried to put him in difficult situations all the time. Coming back from 0-40 down in the first game of the fourth set was very important for me. That was a big turning point of the match."

Federer said Nadal deserved to win. "Even though people don't understand how Rafa was able to win this tournament after the shocking start he had, I'm not," Federer said. "He plays better against the better players. That's what he showed today. He's a great champion on clay especially."

Although disappointed to lose the final, Federer said he was happy with his tournament. "It was just important to get to another Grand Slam final, to keep on playing well," he said. "I'm feeling better physically than I have in a long time, so that's been very positive.

"Also, after this tough weekend I feel really good, so that's been positive, too. It was a huge match with Novak. Obviously I'm happy about that win and today was a very good match."

The Swiss said that winning Wimbledon again was now his major priority. "That's always for me the No 1 goal in the season. This is where it all started for me back in 2003."