An interview with Rafael Nadal (August 11, 2013)

Photo: Meriem Larbi-Youcef
Photo: Meriem Larbi-Youcef

R. NADAL def. M. Raonic 6-2, 5-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Nobody was able to beat you on hard court this year. Is it possible to beat you on hard court?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I lost on clay few times I will lose on hard, no doubt. I only played two tournaments on hard. It’s true that one is more favorable for my game than the other. That’s Indian Wells. For my game is probably the perfect hard court tournament.
Here is faster. To win here, have to be playing my top level. Very happy the way that I played almost every match in this tournament. Is very important for me, this title. Just very happy for everything.

Q. Yesterday you said that the serve of Milos would cause you trouble, and the surface was favorable to him. It didn’t seem to cause any trouble today. Was everything going right for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, was the perfect situation for me, no? I had the break very early in both sets. That’s a lot of calm. I only had one game that I had trouble on my serve. That was one Love 40. The rest I played very comfortable.
I did a lot of things well. My return was huge this afternoon. I returned a few first serves of him in important moments, decisive.
Then I think he play with more mistakes than usual. That’s the real thing. That’s helped me. But, you know, thinking about myself, I did lot of things very well.

Q. Even though it was a one sided result, what did you think of Milos’ performance, knowing this was in front of his home crowd, high expectations?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think this week going to be very important for him. Had the chance to play a first final of Masters 1000. Is very important result to be in the final of Masters 1000. Have to beat, win against great players. He had a great week winning against Chardy, Youzhny, Del Potro, then Pospisil yesterday. A lot of great matches.
I will repeat the same I say, no? With his serve, his chance to be in the top position, to be in the top 10 for a long time, are very good ones. Then what you need to work is the mental part and in the game from the baseline, to try to play the right way the important points tactically.
I think he will do it. He’s still young. He’s having a great results. This week going to be very important for him and for the tennis in Canada in general.

Q. After this week how are you feeling physically going into Cincinnati?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, we’ll see tomorrow. But I am fine. I was able to recover well after tough battle yesterday. I felt good physically today. That’s important new for me.

Q. You broke many great servers in this tournament. Does it mean you improve on your returning game?
RAFAEL NADAL: That means this week I returned very well. To say I improved on one thing, you have to do that very often. I will say I not best returner, talking about the history of my career, but is something that I need to keep working. Something that for not moments of my career was great, my return. But returning like I did on hard courts, like Australia 2012, I return very, very well, my chances have great result are higher.
This week my return worked great. I need to keep working that. I was working a lot last week with Francis here. The work give me a good result, so I have to continue the same way.

Q. You put in a lot of hours on court at the beginning of the week. You said you didn’t expect to do as well as you’ve done because you just started training on hard court. Does this change anything in the way you’re going to prepare for the US Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: Normally the victories, the loses don’t affect the way that I prepare the things or the way that I work for the things, no? I am not working thinking about the US Open. I am working thinking about every day.
When I’m here, I’m thinking about Montréal. Then I will work thinking about Cincinnati. Then when I will be in New York, I will work thinking about the US Open.
I always think tournament by tournament. And the routine always is similar. You have to put yourself a goal about the things that you really want to improve. I am doing things very well this week on hard courts. That is important example that I can play this way in the future. That’s give me confidence, that if I keep working this way, I can have a good results playing very aggressive.
I happy with that. I need to keep going this way.

Q. Going on the court today, did you expect the crowd to be a little louder or more disturbing for your game as it was during the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: I expected a great atmosphere like it was. Atmosphere is great always in Canada. Last night was amazing feeling out there. Today, playing against a local player, was special. I like that feeling. That’s good for our sport, these kind of atmospheres.
When presenter present the players, when they present Milos, you see all the stadium stand up and supporting him. I think is great. Is a great picture for our sport. Presented my name, was a big crowd for me, too. I really enjoy these moments and are special.

Q. Comparing yourself and Novak last night, the execution, few misses, few unforced errors, comparing that to what we see from Milos and Vasek, shots into the net, what does it take to get one’s game sharpened up to the point where you reduce the unforced errors and get to your level?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think Milos plays another style. Milos have to play with unforced errors. Every game is different. Is not only one way to arrive to the top. Not all the top players in the history played the same way.
Milos has his abilities, has his things that he is very good. He needs to play with unforced errors because he play very aggressive. When you play very aggressive, you take risk. But that doesn’t mean that he cannot be in the top. He will be in the top.

Q. You were speaking on the court about your win here in 2005. You were speaking a little bit about Montréal. With all the success you’ve had in your career, the Grand Slams and everything, a victory like 2005 here is still in your mind?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, no? You know, few tournaments are going to be always in my mind, no? Montréal, playing against a big champion like Agassi here in the final, was my first victory on a hard court tournament, and a Masters 1000, is unforgettable memory for me.
I love this tournament. I really enjoy when I have the chance to be here.

Q. In theory you are No. 4. Should you be considered the best tennis player in the world right now with what you achieved?
RAFAEL NADAL: Today I am the fourth of the world. I am the third best player of the world tomorrow. Today is still fourth (laughter). That’s why we have a ranking. We talking about 2013 and the player who have more points. I’m leading the race of 2013. For the moment, I have more points than the rest in 2013, so I play better than the rest in this year.
But in the ranking, that says who is the best. Novak is first, Andy second, David Ferrer third, me fourth. Tomorrow I will be third.

Q. In the race you have 1004 points more than Djokovic. Can we take it that you are in a good position to retake the No. 1 spot at the end of the year?

Q. What do you feel?
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel I have an advantage, but not enough to say that I am the favorite, no? On this kind of surface, Novak is really good. Remain three Masters 1000s, one Grand Slam, Masters Cup, a more favorable surfaces for him than for me. So we are talking about 6500 points.
We have to realize how many points I have to win to be No. 1. I think I will not be No. 1 if I have less than 10,000 points at the end of the season. Today I have 8,000. I need to win minimum 2,000 more. That’s very difficult in this part of the season, but I going to try.

Q. You played Milos Raonic four times in your career. You didn’t lose a set yet. How do you explain your success against him?
RAFAEL NADAL: No reason. Probably I played well against him almost every time. One time I played against him in Tokyo. He came back after an important injury, so was not a real match.
This year in Barcelona I played my best match of the tournament against him and was on clay.
Today I played well. He played with more mistakes than usual probably. The first set especially, I played a great set.

Q. Losing first round in Wimbledon wasn’t very fun. Considering the outcome this week, the way you’ve played, would you say it was a good thing to get some rest after the long clay season?
RAFAEL NADAL: After Wimbledon I would like to have two weeks less of rest, but I had that two weeks. I lost in the first round. Was not easy to play on grass for me.
I accept that was a possibility. I wanted to play. I say the other day, I wanted to play on clay during the summer to not be seven weeks without a tennis tournament, because always is tough when you come back. To come back in a Masters 1000 like Montréal, the best players are here, in the second round you can meet a very good player and you can go out.
The feeling when you start here, you go out in the first round, second round, it is not great, the first tournament of the American hard court season. It happened in 2011.
So I wanted to avoid that possibility, give me better chances playing in Hamburg. I didn’t have that chance. I had to work at home on the knee.
I will say was not good, the rest. But the result is great this week. When we see everything after the success, we can analyze everything, we can say, yeah, we made great because we prepared that way, perfect result. Real thing is history.
Worked well and can work really bad. I am lucky that happened this way. I feel very happy for that.

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  1. what a nice young man Rafa is. Honest and humble. The top three tennis players in the world are incredible but I am a Rafa fan first. Go Rafa!!!

  2. What an interview-always comes across very well and very nice about his opponents. Vamos Rafa is what I say!

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