Shanghai - Rafael Nadal said he may call an early halt to
his season and hit the practice courts instead as he bids to halt a slide in
his form and results in time for next season.
The 30-year-old, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, bore a
worried look after he was soundly beaten 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) by Viktor Troicki in
his first match at the Shanghai Masters.
It extended a difficult run for the Spanish left-hander who
hasn't reached a final since he won his second title of the year in Barcelona
"I don't know what's going to happen in the next couple
of weeks. It's something that I need to think about", said the world No 5
"I cannot say now what I'm going to do during the next
month. I'm not sure about my calendar. I'm not sure about the things that I
need to do to try to be 100 percent ready for next year."
The last events of the season include the Swiss Indoors, the
Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals in London. But Nadal said more
tournaments may not be what he needs.
"Sometimes keeping (on) competing is not the solution.
Sometimes the solution is to practise and stop and have a process of training.
And maybe that's an opportunity to do it," he said.
"I'm not sure about that. Maybe I'm going to play in
Basle in two weeks. So it's not the day and not the moment to analyse all these
kind of things."
Nadal's first ever defeat to Troicki, ranked 31st, came less
than a week after his dispiriting straight-sets loss to Grigor Dimitrov in the
China Open quarter-finals.
Signs are growing of a steady decline for the one-time clay
court king, who won his first Slam title aged 17 but hasn't added to his tally
of majors since the 2014 French Open.
Nadal said he badly needed to work on his once-formidable
forehand, and the speed of movement which made him a brick wall for so many
"Every time that I hit the forehand, I need to create
pain for the opponent, something that is not happening today," he said.
"Maybe because I had an injury on the wrist and I am
scared. Maybe because I still have some limitation in there. But at the end of
the day, nobody cares about that and I don't care about that."
He said he needed to recover "the electricity in the
legs" and "move faster to hit more forehands".
"But I need to be more confident with the forehand to
make that happen. Everything is a cycle. I need to do the things