World No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Monday refused to blame his shock defeat in the Australian Open final in January to Stanislas Wawrinka as an excuse for his loss in Monaco last week.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, the top seed for this week’s Barcelona Open, lost in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters to compatriot David Ferrer.
It was his earliest loss in the Principality since 2003 and came 12 months after his eight-year winning streak at the event was ended in the final by Novak Djokovic.
“I cannot continue using the Australia Open final as an excuse, that is past,” said Nadal, whose campaign in Barcelona begins in the second round against either Russian Nikolay Davydenko or Spaniard Albert Ramos today.
“In Monte Carlo, I should have achieved more. No one can win all the time, I’m no exception. I’ve lost before and I’ll lose again. But I’m not bitter or mad at myself,” he said.
Nadal, winner of 13 Grand Slam titles, said there was no disgrace in losing to veteran Ferrer, who is ranked sixth in the world.
Despite his defeat, he still remains favorite to go on and win a ninth French Open title in June.
“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Nadal said. “I didn’t play a good match, he deserved to win.”
Nadal was joined in the second round by three compatriots, who being unseeded, did not benefit from an automatic bye.
Daniel Gimeno-Traver beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-5, while Roberto Bautista Agut crushed Pole Lukasz Kubot 6-1, 6-0. Wild-card Inigo Cervantes beat Kazakh Aleksandr Nedovyesov 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili beat Michal Przysiezny of Poland 6-3, 6-4 and will face second-seed Ferrer, who failed to build on his win over Nadal in Monte Carlo and lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Wawrinka.
Austrian hope Dominic Thiem beat 35-year-old Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4, while Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France advanced over German Andreas Beck 6-2, 6-2.