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Nadal suffering crisis of confidence in Barcelona

ESPN staff
April 22, 2014 « Mirallas ruled out for rest of season | Test Wayin World Cup »
Rafael Nadal says his Monte Carlo Masters exit to David Ferrer affected his confidence © Getty Images
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Top-ranked Rafael Nadal gets an immediate chance to shake off his surprisingly early exit at the Monte Carlo Masters by going for his ninth Barcelona Open title this week.

Nadal is hoping to recover his clay-court form after a quarter-final loss to David Ferrer in Monaco, where the eight-time champion made his earliest exit since 2003. He lost to Ferrer for the first time on clay since 2004 at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal & Djokovic still the ones to beat

Rafa Nadal has lacked confidence © Getty Images
  • Hats off to Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer for their displays at the Monte Carlo Masters, but even though the results didn't go to form, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are still the players to beat on clay.
  • Read Chris Wilkinson's latest column here

Nadal acknowledged that his confidence is shaken following the Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka and says his state of mind "is what it is."

"I started the season okay except for some lack of confidence and competitiveness in important moments of certain matches," Nadal said.

He added: "I've faced adversities throughout my career, and this is just another one." Nadal opens play later this week against Albert Ramos, who defeated world No.41 Nikolay Davydenko 6-4 6-4 on Monday.

"All my rivals are dangerous. Every one of them," Nadal said. "I always go out there to play knowing that I can win or lose."

Ferrer, meanwhile, will begin a 12th quest for a first Barcelona Open title by facing Teymuraz Gabashvili after the Russian beat Michal Przysiezny 6-3 6-4 in the first round on Monday.

Second-seed Ferrer has finished runner-up on the Real Club de Tenis' outdoor red clay on four occasions. Third-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy will play Santiago Giraldo of Colombia after he moved past Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 6-4 6-2.

In Tuesday's second round matches, 10th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(4) 6-2 while fifth seed Tommy Robredo eased past Marinko Matosevic 6-3 6-4.

Benoit Paire retired injured, allowing Andrej Golubev a place in the third round, along with fourth seed Kei Nishikori and ninth seed Ernests Gulbis.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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