New York - Rafael Nadal says the responsibility for his recent struggles rests with himself, not his support team.
Coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal, he has won 14 Grand Slam titles. But 2015 has been a rough year in his return from injury.
"I have (had) an amazing career with the team that I have today, the same team from the beginning," he said Tuesday. "So my feeling is if something's not working well it's not because of your team - it's because of myself. The one thing I have to change is myself."
That means playing more aggressively, and Nadal comes into the U.S. Open feeling much more confident in his game even if it hasn't shown in the results.
Considering he was publicly voicing self-doubt before the French Open, that is a positive step.
"One of my best things during the whole of my career has been my mental strength," he said. "It is something I was not able to find that consistency during this year, but I start to see that I am again with that mentality, with that self-confidence."
Nadal is seeded just eighth going into the U.S. Open, which starts Monday. He won the tournament the last time he played in New York, and then was unable to defend his title last year because of a right wrist injury.
"I feel great physically, and that's important for me because that's giving me the confidence in my body that's always been very important (for) the intensity of my movements," he said. "If I'm healthy and I have the chance to keep working the way I'm working now, I believe that I can keep competing well for the next couple of years and keep having chances in the big events."
Nadal failed to make it past the quarterfinals in two hard-court warmups but insists he sees significant differences from earlier in the season, which included a second-round loss at Wimbledon. Not that he's going to predict a U.S. Open championship.
"I will be arrogant if I say I feel ready for the title now after not having a great season," he said. "I don't want to say that. I say I am working hard every day. I know I am playing better and I am feeling better mentally than a few months ago.
"Then (I) need results. I feel closer than ever during the season to be where I want to be. So let's be patient. Let's keep working with that goal and with that intensity, and I hope that helps and works in a not very long period of time."