Nadal works on building mental toughness heading into US Open

New York, Aug 31 (IANS) Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal says mental toughness had always been one of his main strengths and hopes it would be no different this year at the US Open starting here on Monday.

“One of the best things during all of my career has been my mental toughness. I have not managed to achieve that consistency this season,” Efe quoted the former world No.1 and two-time US Open champion as saying on Sunday.

The 29-year-old, who missed last year’s US Open due to a wrist injury, has a 42-14 record this season, but the 14-time Major winner has won just two of nine matches against top 10 players.

“But I’m starting to notice that I have that mentality back, with confidence in myself. To have confidence, you have to win. If you’re not winning, you’re not going to have very high confidence.

“To win, you have to play well. To win a lot, you have to play very well and have lots of confidence, and I’m playing well today,” Nadal said.

Nadal, currently ranked No.8 in the world, arrives here after losing to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals at Montreal and to countryman Feliciano Lopez in the round of 16 in Cincinnati.

He will play promising Croatian teenager Borna Coric in his opening match at the Flushing Meadows.

The 18-year-old Coric, the second-youngest player in the top 100 and currently ranked 35th in the world, stunned Nadal 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) last October in the quarter-finals of the the Swiss Indoors.

After his loss in Basel, Nadal underwent an appendectomy and did not play again in the 2014 season.

“I feel good physically, something that’s important for me because confidence in my body has always been a key thing for the intensity of my movements,” Nadal, who has a 41-8 record in New York, said.

Nadal, who has won just three titles this season and was a finalist the last three times he played in New York, refused to say that he was ready to make a run at another US Open title.

“It would be arrogant to say that I feel like I’m ready to take the title after not having a great season. I don’t want to say that. I’m working hard every day and I know I’m playing and feeling better than a few months ago,” Nadal said.

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