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Rafael Nadal is aiming to become the first player ever to win six Masters titles in a single season this week, having claimed the last four with victories in Madrid, Rome, Montreal and Cincinnati. Nadal has never won the Shanghai Masters but he made the final back in 2009 and given the form he’s in right now, he will be fancying his chances even if the courts are a little quicker than usual this year.
Nadal’s performances since he returned to the tour in 2014 have been outstanding, and have seen him regain the aura he had when ranked No.1 in the world back in 2010. However, he’s determined as ever not to put any pressure on himself and when speaking to the media in Shanghai this week, he said that while he’s hoping he can make history over the next month, he’s already very satisfied with his achievements so far this year.
“I think that [to] win five is something amazing already,” he said. “I think Novak did it in 2011, no? Masters 1000s are very difficult tournaments to win. From the first round you have fantastic opponents in front of you. Sometimes in Grand Slams you can be a little bit more lucky and you can have the draw a little bit more open. In Masters 1000, that’s very difficult.”
Djokovic has been very disappointed with his performances in the Masters tournaments this year. Like Andy Murray, he’s just won a single title, suffering a number of shock defeats to the likes of John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov, Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro. Nadal said that it’s not surprising to see big upsets in these tournaments as you have to be at your very best throughout the week.
“I consider the Masters 1000s one of the toughest tournaments to play because if you are not playing well from the beginning, is very difficult to be through. I know in the past this part of the season was hard for me, but I am confident that I can keep playing well. I am doing the right things to be ready. I hope to be competitive and have my chances. I’m going to go day to day as I have done my whole career. I am going to try my best. We’ll see.”