Nadal waits out the rain with rivals on his mind

Nadal waits out the rain with rivals on his mind Rome - Rafael Nadal waited out steady rain Tuesday at the Rome Masters along with the rest of the field, his thoughts filled with fears that events on his clay-court surface of choice are in decline. "Every year for last years we have less tournaments on clay," said the top seed who lifted a fifth title at the weekend in Barcelona.

"Most of the tournaments of the world are hard or indoor. The clay players can play very well in the rest of the surfaces, and the hard court players can play very well on clay because the surface (clay) is different, but not like before.

"It's not really, really fast the hard, and the clay is not really slow."

The Spanish world number one added that despite his near-total spring domination on clay, he goes into every match knowing he could lose just as easily as win.

"Every opponent is dangerous every day, who has not lost on clay since going out at the Foro Italico against Juan Carlos Ferrero in his opening match (second round) 25 matches ago.

"It's tough is win every match. When I go on court, I have a lot of respect for every player. I always think I can lose and I can win. I have to accept both things," said the top seed who lifted three straight trophies 2005-2007.

Nadal holds four title this season and an impressive 33-3 match record. Since 2005, he has compiled a 142-4 mark on the dirt and stands 24-1 lifetime in clay finals."

Among other stalled by the poor weather as the event is staged two weeks ahead of its normal May date due toan ATP calendar re-write were holder Novak Djokovci and British fourth seed Andy Murray.(dpa)