Under-prepared Nadal adjusting to heavier racket

Doha: World number two Rafa Nadal said his preparations for the new season had not been ideal as he adjusted to using a heavier racket.

The Spaniard, who plays Germany`s Philip Kohlschreiber in the first round of the Qatar Open on Tuesday, believes his game may suffer in the short term after making the switch but would improve in the months ahead.

"My preparation is not the perfect one, and I`m trying to play with a little bit heavier racket, to get a little bit more power," Nadal told reporters on Monday.

"(With the new racket) I`m losing a little bit of control now, sometimes I don`t feel the forehand as good as before. But it`s something that I believe can help me in the future."

Nadal said he had first considered switching to a heavier racket after the U.S. Open in September but would not have had time to adapt because of his playing schedule.

"After the Davis Cup final I had all the rackets prepared at home to change," the 10-times grand slam champion added. "In theory I`m supposed to practise almost a month or at least three weeks with the (new) racket, but finally I practised only one week, and I`m here now, so probably it`s not good enough.”

"You can`t think that everything will be perfect from the beginning, but you make the change thinking it`ll be better in the future. There`s no magic, but the new racket can help a little bit to improve my game. It`s a risk I`m taking at the beginning of the season."

Nadal ended a relatively barren year on a thrilling high when he battled back from a set down to beat Argentina`s Juan Martin Del Potro and secure Spain`s fifth Davis Cup triumph in early December.

The 25-year-old won just three singles titles in 2011, his fewest number in seven years, but was reasonably happy with his season.

"I think I played a fantastic seven, eight months during 2011. Out of the first eight months, I think, seven months were really, really good.”

"I lost against Djokovic in all the finals, but I lost only against him. So that`s a really positive thing, play almost every final in all the difficult and important tournaments."

Bureau Report

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