Rafael Nadal says he is satisfied after winning three titles on the trot on clay this season and that he will go for a fourth at Rome Masters, starting Monday at Foro Italico.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner won his fifth Madrid Masters title and a record-equalling 30th Masters 1000 crown when he defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6 (8), 6-4 in the final match on Sunday, thereby extending his record on the dirt this season to 15-0.
Nadal has been showing signs of his vintage best on his favourite surface this season, winning titles at Monte Carlo, Barcelona before he reigned supreme in Madrid, in which he decimated world number two Novak Djokovic, his first top-five opponent on clay this season, enroute to the top step of the podium.
Nadal, who had defeated Thiem in the final of Barcelona without breaking a sweat (6-4, 6-1), was made to toil hard by the Austrian, who secured the first break of the match in the opening set yesterday. However, the King of Clay fought back to take the set after a tightly-contested tie-breaker and the second set with ease.
"Today is a day to be satisfied, to be happy and to have this trophy. This is a very emotional period of the season. I really enjoy these tournaments," Nadal said, as quoted by ATP's official website.
"I just try to go for all of them. I try to compete. I did well in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, and also here. I hope to do the same in Rome.
"I am very happy for what I achieved. I think it's difficult to win three different trophies in a row on clay. They are all important championships."
With Sunday's win, Nadal leapfrogged arch-rival Roger Federer to the fourth spot in ATP Rankings. Notably, the seven-time Rome Masters champion has been drawn with Djokovic in the same half at this year's tournament. The Spaniard will start his campaign in Italy against Nicolas Almagro of Spain or Andreas Seppi after receiving a bye in the first round.