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Nadal plays down grand slam chances, targets US Open

sports Updated: Mar 14, 2009 12:57 IST

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Rafa Nadal has played down his chances of completing a grand slam of major titles this year despite the Spanish world number one's utter domination of the men's game over the last 12 months.

Rod Laver was the last man to win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in a calendar year in 1969 and although Nadal won the Melbourne title in January, he said winning the other three would be an almost impossible task.

"My chances are really small," Nadal told reporters at Indian Wells, where he is the top seed for the ATP event.

"What Rod Laver did was amazing. But at the same time it was a little bit easier in that moment than right now, because in that moment I think they only had two different surfaces (grass and clay).

"Now we have three and Australia and the US Open are not exactly the same."

Nadal will be the overwhelming favourite to win the French Open, where he has won the title in each of the past four years, and then will defend his Wimbledon crown in June.

"The US Open is a big goal right now," he said. "I would love to have that, the fourth. But I know how tough everything is and I'm happy with my results.

"I am going to continue working, but to win every tournament, it's very tough. And if you are talking about the grand slam, even more."

Nadal added that he was attempting to develop all parts of his game.

"I'm trying to play a little bit more aggressive, serve a little bit better, be a more complete player. If you can slice, you have another option. If you can go to the net, it's another option.

"In the end, when you have more options, you have more resources. When you have tough matches, that's really important."