NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal is full of confidence and ready to defend his U.S. Open title, having enjoyed a blockbuster 2017 by claiming the French and US majors after a three-year Grand Slam trophy drought.
The world number one told reporters on Friday that his strong performances this season — including clinching yet another Roland Garros title in June — have given him momentum heading into the fourth major of the year next week.
“That’s important for the feelings, the confidence,” Rafa said. “I am here just trying to improve every day.”
For Rafa, whose record 11 French Open titles have earned himself the moniker King of Clay, trophies on the U.S. Open’s hard courts have been relatively harder to come by. Before 2017, Rafa had won the tournament twice, in 2010 and 2013.
Despite a semi-final exit at Wimbledon last month, the Spaniard is relying on memories of last year’s win at Flushing Meadows to spur him on.
“Last year was a very special year. 2015 was not a positive year in terms of tennis,” Rafa said, referring to the period when he struggled for form.
“To win on hard court again is something that means a lot to me, especially here in New York.”