Rafael Nadal returns to clay courts in a bid to rescue faltering season

Rafael Nadal heads back to the comfort of clay next week as the struggling Spaniard attempts to resolve the crisis that has gripped his game.

Rafael Nadal has seen his world ranking slip to No 10, his lowest in over a decade. Miguel Medina / AFP
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Rafael Nadal heads back to the comfort of clay next week as the struggling Spaniard attempts to resolve the crisis that has gripped his game.

The 29-year-old is top seed at the Hamburg Open but his decision to play a European clay tournament with the US hardcourt season just around the corner has baffled many.

“It’s obvious that the situation is different,” Nadal said.

“I have lost more (this year) than in the last 10 or 11 years.”

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In a testing 2015, Nadal has seen his world ranking slump to 10 — his lowest in a decade — and lose his French Open title where he had been champion nine times.

He has already been defeated 12 times this year, including just a second career loss at Roland Garros and a second round exit to German journeyman Dustin Brown at Wimbledon.

In 2014, Nadal was beaten just 11 times. He was defeated only seven times in 2013 and lost a mere six matches in the whole of 2012.

“I need to accept that it is a new situation and face it with a good attitude and keep working hard to return to a good level,” Nadal said.

“I feel good. I don’t have any injuries and that is the important thing.”

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