Jaume Munar's time at Roland Garros might be over, but he leaves Paris having learned some invaluable lessons. The #NextGenATP Spaniard earned his first victory at a Grand Slam by defeating David Ferrer 3-6, 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 in the first round before losing to Novak Djokovic 7-6(1), 6-4, 6-4 in the next round. Both matches served as proving grounds for the 21-year-old and helped raise his self-confidence.
Munar broke down five things he learned during his time at Roland Garros.
1. A Step Forward
From my first qualifying match here (d. Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-3) through Wednesday, I've made strides and I'm happy with my progress. I know I wasn't at my best against Novak but I also didn't play poorly. I was competitive from start to finish, which is what matters. Nole showed why he's a player of the highest level in the first set tie-break; he took it up a notch and that proved the difference. I need to convince myself I can do the same. The most positive thing I can take away from the loss is that even when I'm not at my best, I can still compete and that's progress.
2. Room For Improvement
I'm not trying to sound boastful, I'm just being realistic here; I didn't play my best (against Djokovic). That's just constructive criticism. I'm aware that there are areas in my game I need to improve. If I'm going to win a set, I'm going to have to break my opponent's serve while holding my own. That requires consistency and today I wasn't consistent. That's the difference between Nole and me, and why he's so much better than me.
There are about a million things I need to work on to get to the next level, and despite that, I'm still able to compete against some of the best players on tour. I played really well throughout the three rounds of qualifying and I defeated David [Ferrer] in the first round -- someone I revere. And holding my own against Djokovic, who has won everything there is to win in tennis, this gives me confidence that I'm doing the right things so far. I'm going to improve a lot of aspects of my game and come back with high expectations for myself.
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3. Advice From Nadal
Rafa told me above everything, stay calm and worry about the things I can control. I'm taking that advice from now on. I knew it was going to be next to impossible to beat Novak because he's Novak, and I'm Jaume. We're on different levels at the moment. Rafa told me to look at my own game and at things I can do better, not analyse things from Nole's side of the court because I can't control what he's going to do or what plan he's coming with once he steps on the court. I guess I'm guilty of not following that advice but it's advice I'm taking with me going forward.
4. Reasons To Be Proud
Maybe I lucked out a few times here; I nearly lost in the last round of qualifying (d. Lee 6-7, 6-0, 7-6) and I had to come back from two sets down against David. I was almost out in that match as well. That was some mountain to climb, more mentally than anything else. David dominated the first two sets and I had to shake that off. Now I know I can overcome my nerves when I'm faced with adversity.
5. Back To ATP World Tour Challenger Events
I'll be playing ATP World Tour Challenger events with a different outlook from now on. Tennis is my life now and everything revolves around me being a player. I'm going to train for a few days and then play some upcoming Challenger events with the intent to win. I'm hopeful about improving my game; I want to continue growing as a player and keep achieving positive results.
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