Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal insisted on Friday he was not yet ready to reclaim his long-held title of king of clay despite winning through to a semi-final against Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Though he staged a third-set fightback to get past longtime Spanish rival Davids Ferrer 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, Nadal still believes he is lacking in match fitness and confidence as he recovers from an injury-blighted last season.
But the eight-time champion in the principality is more than ready to give it a go against the top seed as the pair meet for a record 43rd time.
Nadal has the upper hand, having won 29 of the duo`s previous meetings, but even that statistic is not enough to boost his enthusiasm.
"I`m not favourite, that is obvious. When you play a player that is winning everything like he is doing, it is always going to be a very tough match to win," he said.
"Djokovic is playing almost perfect, he`s doing everything well, winning all the matches with not many problems."
Nadal`s only title since claiming a ninth Roland Garros last June was at a small Argentine tournament in February.
"Tomorrow will be a good match for me. It`s another chance to be on court, to enjoy the match, to find again the feelings that I found today. Then we`ll see what happens.
"I love this court and I`m in the semi-finals again. That`s a very, very, very positive result for me, especially the way that I get to that semi-final.
"Let`s play the match of tomorrow, try my best, fighting for every ball.
"I hope to be recovered physically because obviously I am not used to play at that level of tennis and that intensity for three hours in a tough match, battle, on clay.
"I have nothing to lose tomorrow, it`s a good tournament already for me. I did what I wanted to do here. I am sure that will help me for Barcelona, for Madrid, for the next few weeks."