© Reuters/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANEATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open
(Reuters) - After warming up for the French Open in style by beating world number one Novak Djokovic in the Rome Masters final on Sunday, Rafa Nadal said he is heading to Rolland Garros with confidence and a clear mind in search of a 21st Grand Slam title. © Reuters/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANEATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Nadal, 34, beat the Serb 7-5 1-6 6-3 to claim a record-extending 10th ATP Masters 1000 title in Rome and felt his game improved through the week. © Reuters/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANEATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Nadal, who suffered quarter-final exits at Masters 1000 events in Monte-Carlo and Madrid, said he would rest for a couple of days back home before heading to Paris for his title defence.
"I think I can work in a couple of things that I can do a little bit better or I can keep confirming that I am on the way," he told reporters on Sunday.
Gallery: The most heated rivalries in the tennis world (Espresso)
"I think I have been improving this week, but I need to keep going with that improvement, because when you improve and you're able to do it every day for longer time, then you feel more confident and more safe.
"So I just need to keep going. I know what I need to work (on) for the next couple of weeks, and I (am) going to do it." © Reuters/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANEATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Victory in Rome saw Nadal equal Djokovic's tally of 36 ATP Masters 1000 trophies but it was not all plain sailing, the Spaniard having to save two match points against Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the third round.
"The 10th, I really wanted this 10th here in Rome. It was one of the first important titles that I won in my career," Nadal said. "After achieving 10 in Roland Garros, 10 in Monte-Carlo, 10 in Barcelona, I really wanted this one.
"I went through a lot of things during the week. Some positive, some great moments, some lucky moments, suffering moments. At the end I think I played a very solid week of tennis, it's the right moment to win an important title." © Reuters/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANEATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Berhampore, India; editing by Peter Rutherford)