The Spaniard has slipped to fifth in the world rankings and has a 15-5 win record this year. Nadal has claimed just one title, the Argentina Open, which not surprisingly was held on his favoured clay surface.
With a trip to Roland Garros for the French Open on the horizon, there is much talk of the current clay-court campaign being make-or-break for Nadal.
First on the agenda is this week's Monte Carlo Masters, and Nadal has asserted that there is little pressure on him to do well, despite being an eight-time champion.
“I don’t have pressure this year,” Nadal told the official ATP website.
“I’m not the favourite for anything. I have been playing worse than the rest of the rivals of mine. The pressure is not for me… I am arriving here with the motivation to do something better than what I am doing.”
The 'King of Clay' says that he is simply focused on getting comfortable on the court after a rotten run of injuries.
“The most important thing for me is to feel well on court again, feel confident, feel I am improving,” he said. “I was improving every week before Miami, and in Miami I played bad… If I’m able to find the confidence, to find the tennis here on clay, then it makes everything a little less difficult.
“I am working to be playing well as soon as possible, and if I didn't believe that I could, I would not be here… If I am here it’s because I have the motivation, the passion, the emotion to keep playing tennis.”
Nadal will begin his Monte Carlo campaign with a second round encounter against the winner of the clash between Dominic Thiem and Lucas Pouille.