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Page last updated at 20:46 GMT, Sunday, 31 May 2009 21:46 UK

Nadal stays calm after shock loss

Venue: Roland Garros Date: 24 May - 7 June
Coverage: Live on BBC Red Button, live streaming and daily text commentary on BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live plus second week commentary on BBC 5 Live Sports Extra. TV coverage on Eurosport.

Rafael Nadal

Watch Nadal bow out in Paris

Rafael Nadal was left to rue the end of his incredible French Open record which was halted by Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth-round in Paris on Sunday.

The four-time champion had never lost at the tournament, but Soderling ended his 31-match unbeaten run with a 6-2 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory.

"Defeats never make you grow but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until now was," said Nadal.

"You need a defeat to give value to your victories."

Soderling, 24, had lost his previous three matches against the number one seed, including a 6-1 6-0 defeat at the Rome Masters last month.

But the Swede was in sparkling form on Centre Court, although Nadal largely blamed his own form for the defeat.

"Well, that's the end of the road, and I have to accept it," said Nadal. "I need to face the fact I didn't play well this week. It's not a tragedy, I had to lose one day. I have to accept my defeat as I accepted my victories: with calm.

"So I have to stay calm and stay cool headed to try and analyse what I did wrong.

"It's not the worst (defeat) in my career. Not even close to that."

Soderling's Swedish Davis Cup captain Mats Wilander, a three-time French Open champion, said: "Everybody's in a state of shock, I would think.

"At some point, Nadal was going to lose. But nobody expected it to happen today, and maybe not this year. Now it's a matter of: There's a tournament to be won."

Nadal, who was booed by the French crowd when he retired injured from the Paris Masters at Bercy last year, again found it difficult to find support among the crowd.


"This tournament is so important, such a beautiful tournament for me. Well, that's the way it is," he said.

"Maybe at one stage they supported Soderling more than me, and that was a bit sad. But I wish when I'm back they can support me a bit more in key moments."

The world number one, who was supposed to be presented with a cake to celebrate his 23rd birthday on the terrace of the press bar on Wednesday, backed rival Roger Federer to end his French Open jinx.

If one guy deserves it, that's him

Nadal backs Federer to win the French Open

"That would be great - he has tried to win it for many years, and he was very unfortunate losing three finals and one semi-final," the Spaniard said.

"If one guy deserves it, that's him."

And with the start of Wimbledon a month away, Nadal revealed how he was preparing for the defence of his grasscourt title.

"Right now, my preparation is for the swimming pool at my house," said the 2008 champion.

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see also
Champion Nadal falls to Soderling
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Super Murray into quarter-finals
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Ivanovic sent to defeat in Paris
31 May 09 |  Tennis
French Open day eight as it happened
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Djokovic suffers shock Paris exit
30 May 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis

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