Beaten Nadal eyes more 'special' achievements on clay
Rafael Nadal believes he is capable of more "special" achievements on clay after losing an enthralling Australian Open final against Roger Federer.
Yet another clash of the titans lived up the hype at Rod Laver Arena, where Federer came from a break down in the final set to win 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 and claim an 18th grand slam title.
Nadal and Federer - two of the all-time greats - both recovered from injuries to exceed expectations in Melbourne.
Rather than feel sorry for himself after coming agonisingly close to claiming a 15th major title - and a first since 2014 - Nadal was buoyed by his exploits and the man known as 'The King of Clay' feels his resurgence bodes well with the clay court season to come.
He said: "I cannot predict what's going on in the future. That's always the same thing. I just think that I am playing well.
"I just think that I worked hard to be where I am. I believe that playing like this, good things can happen. That can happen here on this surface, but especially can happen on clay.
"If I am able to play like this, to hold matches like I hold the other day, and recover well as I recovered, but on clay I recovered better than here, then the opponents don't get that many free points, and I am playing from the solid baseline.
"If I made that happen, I think I can keep having success in hard courts, but on clay can be special."
Nadal was not downbeat despite the agony of missing out on a second Australian Open title.
"I said before the tournament start, I felt that I was practicing great. Then you need to do it on the matches, and I did," he said.
"I am with big personal satisfaction. I cannot say that I am sad. I wanted to win, yes, but I am not very sad. I did all the things that I could. I worked a lot during all these months. I keep working, and I competed well.
"I enjoyed the competition. I won against the best players of the world, and I competed well against everybody. That's the most important thing for me, and that give me confidence to keep playing, and that's what I going to try."