This content was published 13 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
For half-an-hour, it looked as if Fernando Verdasco was going to cruise into the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia
It would have been his third consecutive final after Monte Carlo (defeat to Rafael Nadal) and Barcelona (victory over Soderling, last Sunday). But all of a sudden, the three weeks he had spent playing almost every day on strength-sapping clay – not least the 208-minute struggle past Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final here not 24 hours previously, caught up with him, and the Spaniard hit the wall well and truly.
“Until the 5-1 things were going okay for me and also, he wasn’t playing his best and made some mistakes. Later, perhaps he saw that I was tired – not from the 5-1 but ever since I got up this morning. He started to play better and became more solid on the court, and what happened, happened. The match yesterday was long and very physical against Novak. I was feeling good mentally but my body wasn’t feeling the same as before and so I was slower and had less power. Against a player like David, yes, I was at 5-1 but I was making some mistakes and I wasn’t playing a good game. After, he became solid and started moving the ball around the court and it was very hard for me and I was missing a lot of balls. It’s hard to play like this when your legs don’t do what you want them to do and against a player like this, your chances are very small.”
“I think that I had a hard but a very good three weeks,” said the world No.9 of his marathon month of April. “Of course the match yesterday was very hard and all the power that I had, I lost yesterday and today I felt that. Today I wasn’t feeling great but I have played perhaps the best three weeks on clay in my life and I need to be positive and now of course, I need to recover for a few days and then start practising again for Madrid. I hope to have the same weeks that I had both here and in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. You know, I got to the quarter-finals last year and now the semi-finals here and so I just want to recover first and then play and practise a lot to be perfect for Madrid and then Roland Garros.”
Had he bitten off more than he could chew in taking on three tournaments in a row? After all, the king of clay himself had pulled out of Barcelona – one of his “home” tournaments – in order to have fresh legs here in Rome. “If you win all of the matches in two sets, then you can play three weeks in a row,” said Verdasco with a resigned smile. “If you have matches in three sets or matches that last for a three or three-and-a-half hours with a lot of pressure and high intensity, then it is much more difficult. If you have matches like the one I played yesterday with Novak, then it is difficult and you cannot resist two weeks winning or getting to the final every week. If you win all of the matches that you play like Rafa has been doing for many years and if he has decided not to do it this year, then he has his reasons. It always depends on the matches you play.”