Nadal says he's on right path despite Madrid loss to Murray

MADRID (AP) Rafael Nadal is not overly disappointed at losing to Andy Murray for the second straight year at his home tournament.

Following the 7-5, 6-4 defeat to Murray in the Madrid Open semifinals on Saturday, Nadal said he was on the right path heading into the French Open, which starts in 15 days.

The loss halted the Spaniard's 13-match winning streak and ended his chances of winning a third straight title, but Nadal said he played well and could have won if he hadn't been ''a bit unlucky.''

''I had another positive week, I made it to the semifinals. I'm very consistent every week, this is good news,'' the fifth-ranked Nadal said. ''Today, mentally I was OK. I fought a lot until the end. I tried to look for solutions, and I did that.''

Nadal's positivity and comfort on court was in stark contrast to last year, which began with a lack of confidence. He failed to win a Grand Slam, didn't reach the semifinals of any, bringing an end to a record 10-year streak of winning at least one Grand Slam. He won three titles all year, but was regaining his tenacity and determination by the end, which spilled into this year.

He won Monte Carlo and Barcelona again before this week.

''On these (last) three tournaments I have been able to win two, and one making it to the semifinals, so the clay season is great,'' he said. ''Let's try to continue this way or maybe try to put up the rhythm a little bit more.''

Nadal will be trying to win his 10th title at the French Open. Novak Djokovic stopped him last year in the quarterfinals.

''You need to arrive fresh physically and mentally and playing your best tennis,'' Nadal said. ''I feel happy competing. I'm comfortable.''

For that reason, he will easily get over losing to Murray.

''You have to criticize yourself to get better and better,'' Nadal said. ''It's true that without doing a great match I wasn't far away from winning (against) the second-best player in the world.

''I'm on a positive path. I hope to continue on this path.''

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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