Interview with Rafael Nadal: “I am going to go to the beach in Mallorca”
Rafael Nadal speaks to the media following his 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 defeat to Nick Kyrgios
Q. What are your thoughts on how Nick was able to beat you today?
RAFAEL NADAL: The thing is this surface, when you have an opponent that he decides to serve and to hit every ball very strong, you are in trouble.
I think that I didn’t play really bad. But that’s the game in this surface.
I think in the second and the third set I was better than him, but I was not able to convert that opportunities. And for the rest, I think he play better than me.
So, in general, talking about what you need to win in this surface, he did the things better than me.
Q. He’s No. 144 in the world and only 19 years old. What do you think of his future as a pro tennis player?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I didn’t see him playing in other surfaces. Grass only three, four tournaments per year. But is obvious when you have a player that is able to serve that big, always advantage is so high.
Q. Do you get the sense from that match that he’s a player you’ll be meeting time and time again in the future in perhaps the later stages of competitions?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. We have to see if I am able to keep playing the latest rounds in the future. I will see if he is able to keep playing the latest rounds in the future.
The sport is a mental part a lot of times. He has things, positive things, to be able to be a good player. But at the end, everything is a little bit easier when you are arriving. Everything is new. Nothing to lose. Everything is good. Everything is positive. You can do whatever and will be positive, and everybody see just the good things on you.
When you are there yourself, the rest of the people starts to see the negative things on your tennis.
We’ll see if he’s able to improve and to play at very high level for a long period of time. I wish him all the best.
Q. Before you came to Wimbledon you weren’t sure what your expectations of yourself were on grass. You fought through the first three rounds and fell in the fourth. How do you feel about what you did here in Wimbledon? Did you exceed your expectations at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I am satisfied the way that I played this Wimbledon. Is true that my draw was not the best one. All the matches were uncomfortable against players that didn’t give you the opportunity to play a lot.
I fighted until the end in every single match. I was able to play some good tennis on this surface. That’s something that I was not able to do in the last two years.
But that’s the tennis. That’s the sport in this surface. I felt in a way I am even not angry today because I feel that I lost the match losing only one time my serve during the whole match. I created my opportunities.
But I was not able to read his serve during the whole match. At the end on grass, the resume is that. I was not able to read his serve. I was not able to put enough returns inside. We had one break each.
In the tiebreak he was able to serve better than me. So that’s an advantage. I could serve better on the tiebreaks. But 5???All in the second set in the tiebreak, second serve, net, inside for him, second serve big. Then he repeat the second serve with 140 miles the second serve.
You know, that’s happens when you have nothing to lose. You can play that way. Players who really play for being in the last rounds, think about win the titles, it’s not easy to create the second serve 114 5???All in the tiebreak, but that’s what happened today.
Congratulations to him. For me, beach (smiling). For me, I going to go to the beach in Mallorca.
Q. I know the disappointment is great, but how different a defeat is that to the previous two years, and how much better do you feel about yourself today than you did last year or after Rosol?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every year is different, no? Especially when you come from playing very bad here and you think you play better, the feelings is better. But I did not want to lose today. That’s obviously.
That’s fine. I try my best, as always I do when my physical performance give me the chance to try my best. Last two years I didn’t have that chance to try my best because my knee was not right to compete here.
But this year I felt the knee was right to compete here. I competed. I think I competed well. Was not enough today, but that’s it. That’s the sport. Opponent better than me. Life continues. I going to go to Mallorca, have some weeks off with the great weather there, enjoying with the family, with the friends some holidays.
It’s the only part of the year that I have holidays, and the right ones because the weather is great. After a few weeks I going to start practice again to prepare another important part of the season for me that will be in America.
Q. Why do you think grass has been hard for you in these last few years? You five times in a row made the final here, and since then it’s been a weaker surface for you results-wise.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I answered that talking about the last two years. I think I did. I explained I was not ready compete last two years.
Q. I am just saying, is there anything in particular about grass or is it the timing?
RAFAEL NADAL: I just explained that. The last few years I was not able to compete right because my knee didn’t give me that chance. This year I competed well again. I created myself the right opportunities. I was in the fourth round, second week.
Two days off for me was probably not the perfect thing for me at that time of the tournament because I arrived with the right feeling and playing well. But I had that two days, and that’s fine.
I tried. I lost. That’s the easiest way to explain that. I lost. Is not a drama. Is nothing strange. I lost in four sets having my chances, only losing one serve. Is not nothing about the grass. Is obvious that for everybody the grass is more dangerous than the rest of the surfaces.
But talking about last two years, I told you. This year I have the chance to be in quarterfinals, so is nothing bad about grass.
Q. Earlier you said that tennis is very mental. It’s easy to play with nothing to lose. Could you talk about what it’s like for you to have your great run at the French Open and then to come here, be No. 1, past champion, what pressures do you feel?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t play with lot of pressure. I won in the French. I am having a great season. I am playing well.
But I repeat. The surface here is dangerous and my draw was not easy. I played against a player that was not easy no one round. Today was not the right opponent again. He decided to serve so big and play so aggressive from the baseline.
During the whole match I had some chances. Not in the first set, but after the first set yes. Even in the fourth, first game, Love-30, two aces, two lines. That was it. I was not able to read the serve. I tried. Nothing bad.
Q. Given his age and experience, were you expecting him to crack at some stage? How surprised were you that he didn’t?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s 19. When he has 20? Next year or this year?
Q. Next year.
RAFAEL NADAL: In the end, with 19 I was here already playing these kind of tournaments and competing well. Is now that the thing is very strange that the young players are coming so late.
19 years old is a perfect age to be on the tour and to play well. That’s what happened with all the great players in the past. Is nothing new.
When I was young, I was looking about the players that were great players, the top players, Lleyton, Roger, Ferrero, Moya, a lot of ones, Becker. They are there with this age. Is something that I always thought I had to be there at that age. With 19, I always thought I had to be with the tour if I want to be a professional tennis player.
For me age is not an issue over that.
Q. Did you feel the best of you was still to come on grass here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Still to come? I won twice, played three finals.
Q. No, in this tournament did you feel that you were getting better?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I felt that I was playing well. I played a few great sets, a few fantastic moments.
The problem is always the same, no? The year that I won in 2010, I was losing two sets to one in second and third round against Petzschner and Robin Haase.
I was able to win that kind of match. I had the chance to convert one of that opportunities. That’s something that didn’t happen today. That’s why in that year I was able to arrive to quarterfinals.
Normally on grass the thing is first week when you compete against some players, the things are not very logical. The surface creates the opportunity to that players that they can play very aggressive and they can see a real chance to win playing that style, no, something on the other surfaces you cannot play that crazy, way, no?
When you arrive to quarterfinals, semifinals, and you play against the best players, the things become again logical, no? At the end, the top players want to play with control. The top players want to play normal way. They don’t want to play crazy aggressive. They play normal.
Is true that that makes me the things a little bit more less difficult for me.
Q. When you play a young player, Kei Nishikori, I think you said he had top 10 potential. I’m not hearing that much today with Kyrgios. I’m wondering if that’s because you don’t feel the same way or you haven’t seen enough of him play?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t see enough of him. At the end, the thing is top 10 is only 10, so is difficult to be in the top 10. Is something that is not easy to talk about top 10 because he can be top 10. For me is very easy to say he can be top 10. I think he can do. Is not an issue that I think he cannot do it. I think he can do it.
But always the same. I don’t want to say names. But when we see a young player that arrives to the tour and plays a great match or plays a great tournament, people say he will be the next big star.
Some things are right. Sometimes arrive, sometimes not. So depends how the things improve over the next couple of months, years for him. So if he is able to keep improving, he will be. If not, will be more difficult.