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Nadal keen to forget 2011 Rome final

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Originally published on: 15/05/12 00:00

The Rome public remember last year’s Masters 1000 final in the Italian capital between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic as a classic confrontation between two of the game’s finest players of modern times. Nadal, who was beaten in straight sets, does not recall it in the same way.

When the Spaniard was asked at a pre-tournament press conference this week about the “fantastic final” of 2011, he said bluntly, and to the amusement of his audience: “For him.” Even when the reporter pressed Nadal, insisting it had been “a great match”, the world No.3 said that with a scoreline of 6-4, 6-4, the encounter “was not one of the epics”. It was one of six finals in which Nadal and Djokovic met last year – and the Serb won every one of them.

Since Carlos Moya won the Rome title in 2004, there have been only two male champions at the Foro Italico. Nadal won in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, while Djokovic won in 2008 and 2011.

Nadal described Rome as one of his favourite tournaments, but he is taking nothing for granted this year. When asked what he would have to do to win the title he said he was thinking only about his first opponent.

“I will think about Florian Mayer, who I lost to last time in Shanghai last year,” Nadal said. “Let me think about the first match, that’s the most important thing. It would be stupid to think about the final, quarter-final or semi-final. All the tournaments start in the first round. No tournament starts from the final and every round is difficult in a Masters 1000. All the best players in the world are playing, so you cannot expect an easy match. I will try my best in the first round and if I am able to play my best and go to the final then we will see.”

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