Rafael Nadal conquered his record-extending 12th Roland Garros title with a four-set victory over Dominic Thiem in the finals of the French Open 2019.

The 18-time grand slam champion played just three events prior to the clay season in 2019 as the Spaniard revealed in the post-match interview that the year has been a difficult one.

Rafael Nadal

“Well, this has been a difficult year. And when you are constantly hit in the face, you end up being hurt,” said Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal admitted that he was suffering from physical problems but was lucky to have the support from people surrounding him. The Spaniard further added, “Well, I have had very difficult moments when I was hurt because of all my physical problems. But with the support of all the people around me, I can tell you that thanks to my desire to continue, I was able to move forward.”

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal also talked about his improvement process after the injury. He continued, “A few weeks ago, I was in a difficult situation, and I decided I was going to improve little by little, to go to the court and decide to improve progressively without taking drastic steps.”

Rafael Nadal

He added further, “I said it in Barcelona and Madrid. I don’t think that making drastic changes or drastic improvements are a good thing. It’s better to take small steps that you can consolidate. And I feel that I have been able to do that over the past four weeks, every week a little bit better, every match a little bit better.”

Rafael Nadal recalled that the Italian Open title regained his confidence before entering the French Open 2019. He said, “The match against Tsitsipas in Madrid showed me that I was improving, but my personal feelings were much better, and it was a great step ahead. And obviously winning helped me, but more than winning, the confidence I had and what happened in Rome helped me come over here with some confidence in me.”