MADRID (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal will have to be at his best to get through a tough draw and cope with the faster conditions if he is to win a second straight Madrid Masters title this week, the world number one said on Sunday.
Nadal has a bye into the second round where he is likely to meet former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis in his opening match.
He could then meet Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, in the third round while eighth seed Juergen Melzer of Austria or 12th-seeded American Andy Roddick potentially lie in wait in the quarter-finals.
"The draw, without doubt, was not favorable," Nadal, who won back-to-back tournaments on his favored clay at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open last month, said at a news conference.
"What's more, it was pretty negative," the 24-year-old Mallorcan added.
"In a tournament of this importance, all the best players in the world are here and you cannot expect an easy draw because it rarely happens.
"Obviously I have a difficult draw and I will have to play at my best."
Nadal said the altitude of the Spanish capital, which stands at around 650 meters above sea level, would be a factor as it means the ball flies faster through the air and favors players with a bigger serve.
The courts at the futuristic Magic Box arena are also appreciably quicker than those at other clay events such as Monte Carlo, Rome or the French Open, meaning hard-court specialists feel more at home.
"It (the altitude) is a 100 percent proven fact and it is always a little bit more dangerous," Nadal said.
"But that's not the problem, it just means that the match is always more out of control," he added. "The problem is the opponents."
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Brian Homewood) ;