Nadal yearning for a swim after shock defeat

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The Independent Online

A good swim in his pool was all world number one Rafael Nadal could think about following his shock defeat at the French Open on this afternoon.

The four-times champion, who was unbeaten at Roland Garros since his debut in 2005, lost 6-2 6-7 6-4 7-6 to Swede Robin Soderling in a fourth round shock on Centre Court.

Asked what his preparations for Wimbledon would be, Nadal said: "Right now, my preparation is for the swimming pool at my house."

Nadal, who was gunning for a record fifth consecutive title at the claycourt grand slam, was gracious in defeat.

"Defeats never make you grow but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until today was, and this is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give value to your victories," he told reporters.

"I'm 22. Well, 23 in a couple of days. But unfortunately, it's the first time I'm not going to celebrate my birthday in Roland Garros."

Nadal, who was supposed to be presented with a birthday cake on the terrace of the press bar on Wednesday, said he had suffered worse losses.

"I've never lost here so far. It's the first match I lose. It's the round of 16. So people remember about victories and not defeats," he said.

"It's not the worst (defeat) in my career. Not even close to that. I need to face the fact I didn't play well this week. When I practised this morning I felt good. I felt very good, but it wasn't the case during the match," he added.

"Well, that's the end of the road, and I have to accept it. I have to accept my defeat as I accepted my victories: with calm. So I have to stay calm and stay cool headed to try and analyse what I did wrong."

One thing Nadal did wrong is play too short on Centre Court, letting Soderling step into the court to unleash a total of 59 winners.

"You learn more when you lose than when you win. I need to work on those points on which I wasn't good and from there try and do better for my next tournament," he said. "So as I said, this is not a tragedy, losing here in Paris. It had to happen one day, and this is an excellent season for me. Of course it's a bit sad but I have to overcome this as quickly as possible."

Nadal, who was booed by the French crowd when he retired injured from the Paris Masters at Bercy last year, again found it difficult to find support among the crowd.

"This tournament is so important, such a beautiful tournament for me. Well, that's the way it is," he said.

"Maybe at one stage they supported Soderling more than me, and that was a bit sad. But I wish when I'm back they can support me a bit more in key moments."

Although he would like one of his compatriots to win the title this year, Nadal said he also wished Roger Federer could lift the Musketeers' Trophy next Sunday.

"That would be great. He has tried to win it for many years, and he was very unfortunate losing three finals and one semi-final," the Spaniard said. "If one guy deserves it, that's him."