Rafael Nadal cheerful despite exit to Fognini

Rafael Nadal insists he's improving despite shock defeat to Fabio Fognini in the US Open


Despite losing at the third round of the US Open to Fabio Fognini, Rafael Nadal insists he is making improvements.

World number eight and 14-time grand-slam champion Nadal went down 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 as Fognini claimed an incredible victory from two sets down at Flushing Meadows.

The loss marked Nadal's first defeat from two sets up in a best-of-five contest and ensured the Spaniard will end the year without a slam title for the first time since 2004.

But Nadal still found some solace in his ability to keep fighting until the finish.

"He's a player with a great talent, with huge shots, and he played amazing shots," he said. "But what I am doing worse is playing worse than what I used to do the last couple of years. That's it.

"We can be talking for one hour trying to create a reason. But the sport for me is simple, no? If you are playing with less confidence and you are hitting balls without creating the damage on the opponent that I believe I should do, then they have the possibility to attack.

"It's another loss. My mind allows me to fight until the end. That us something that I was missing for a while, that feeling that I am there.

"For the nerves, for the anxiety that I had for a long time this season, I was not able to do it. I was not able to be fighting the way that I was fighting today. So it's an improvement for me. I take that like a positive thing and I know what I have to do. I am going to work on it.

"[I have to] Accept that was not my year and keep fighting until the end of the season to finish in a positive way for me."


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