Nadal continues domination

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ROME, May 3- Rafael Nadal breezed to a fifth Rome Masters title in six years and then revealed that he is losing none of the fire that has seen him dominate clay tennis since 2005.The 23-year-old world number three matched American legend Andre Agassi’s record of 17 Masters titles as he beat compatriot and 13th seed David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 at the Foro Italico.

That took his overall record on clay to 191 wins to just 17 defeats, most of which were in his early career.

He has won the Monte Carlo Masters six years in a row, won Rome five times in six years, won Barcelona five years in a row before skipping it this season and will be aiming for a fifth win in six years at Roland Garros later this month.

"It’s not true that I don’t have bad days. I’ve had a lot of bad days in the past five or six years," he said.

"The thing is to have high motivation to keep winning. The important thing is to have enough motivation to want to improve all the time and this is what has happened to me all my career.

"Every time I go on court I try my best and I try to do this all the time."

Nadal’s clay court dominance seemed to reach its zenith two weeks ago in Monte Carlo when he dropped just 14 games on route to the title.

But he insists he will not be able to repeat that every time.

"Now I’m playing well and winning a tournament like Monte Carlo and losing 14 games doesn’t happen every week," he said.

"Can you remember lots of Master 1000 tournaments where someone only lost that many games because I can’t. In this tournament I lost one set and had a very difficult match (in the semi-final).

"I wanted to win this tournament but it was difficult to win like Monte Carlo.

"I am probably more happy winning without playing my best. When I play my best its a more a mental thing."

Given how he is playing at the moment it’s easy to forget that until winning in Monte Carlo, he had gone more than 11 months without lifting a trophy, a period where he was plagued by knee injuries.

And the man he beat in that Monte Carlo final, Fernando Verdasco believes he cannot be stopped.

"I think Rafa is in a good moment and he’s playing well and I think he’s the best player on clay," he said.

"He has now recovered from (his injuries) last year and is now very confident.

"Everybody has different opinions but I think he is the best player ever on clay and it’s unbelievable what he has done in the past years.

"When he played over the past years, he was winning almost every match easily and he didn’t normally lose a set.

"If Rafa plays his best tennis then nobody can beat him on clay."

Before facing Nadal in the Rome final Ferrer was asked if he agreed with Verdasco that he would’t be able to beat Nadal if he was on top of his game.

"I think he’s right. I think he is the best player on a clay court," he said.

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