An interview with Rafael Nadal (Thursday, August 29, 2013)

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America

Q. You played well in spite of the conditions on the court today.

RAFAEL NADAL: I started a little bit too slow, in my opinion. Then during the match I tried to play better and better every time. I think I finished the match playing well, doing a few things well, moving myself better. Important thing at the end winning 6-2, 6-1, 6-0. The result says that I did the right things.

Q. If you could give advice to parents whose children want to be like you, what would you tell them?

RAFAEL NADAL: To be like me or not, that’s something if I did, probably a lot of people can do it because I feel like I am a really normal person. But I think is important to have good people around you. Parents have to be a little bit away and support the kid. But at the end is negative when the parents want to be too much involved on the things. For any reason there is a coach there that knows much more about tennis than the parents. At the end the most important thing is the guy and the kid needs to have a good physical and mental conditions to be ready for the competition and then find a kid that is ready to work.

Q. When you won this tournament a couple years ago, there was a lot made about how high a level your serve was at. Do you feel like you’re getting into that area again with your serve?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so. In Montréal, Cincinnati, I was able to serve well, to lose very few serves. So important thing is try to find a regular serve that give me the confidence and that give me the possibility to start a lot of points with an advantage, then try to have the control of the point from the baseline and with the first shot try to find the advantage on the point, no? So if I hitting well my forehand and my backhand and my serve, give me the possibility to hit the first ball in a good position, then the point, I am in a good position to win the point.

Q. Can you talk about Francis Roig and how he’s helped you in your career in the last six months or so?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, Francis didn’t help me the last six months. Francis help me since 2005 that I started with him. Was always a very important help for me. He’s a good combination. Have Toni most of the weeks. But with Francis I am able to work in some aspects that with Toni I work with another ones. So is a good combination. I have to get both of them in my team. I think both of them are fantastic coaches. I feel very, very lucky to have two very good coaches and persons around me.

Q. What aspects is he best at? What aspects does he help you with more?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think he has a great experience on practicing, on training players. In my opinion, the best thing that I can say of him, he knows how to work to make you feel that you are improving, and he knows how to work if you give him two weeks, three weeks of practice with him, most of the times then I feel after this three weeks that I am more fit, that I am playing better than before.

Q. Any thoughts about Dodig next round?

RAFAEL NADAL: He’s playing great. He had an amazing victory against Verdasco first round. And today a very tough opponent, Davydenko, with straight sets. He’s a very aggressive opponent, good serve, very good backhand, he goes to the net. He’s a tough one. I need to be playing my best if I want to have chances against him. It will be a tough one. I hope to be ready for the fight and be ready to play for the match. That’s what I going to try.

Q. It’s been reported recently that there might be some Jewish heritage in your family.

RAFAEL NADAL: That’s not true. Really doesn’t matter for me. Doesn’t matter if I am or am not. But is not the case. I am not.

Q. How does the nighttime crowd compare to the daytime crowd, the atmosphere? Which one do you prefer?

RAFAEL NADAL: Both are great. It’s true that in New York the nighttime sessions are special. The show, the music, the crowd, you know, is a little bit more like showtime during the evening. I like that crowd. I love the crowd of New York. I feel great every time that I have the chance to play in Arthur Ashe Stadium, even if is day or night. Today I have the chance to play night session after three years. That’s amazing feeling. I’m very, very happy to be back on the US Open. That’s great for me.

Q. Do you feel your opponent was a little nervous tonight starting the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I think, well, he started the first few points, but then he had a very good comeback in the first game. That was a confidence for him. Always start with a break in these kind of match is important. But was not the case, so… He was able to be back on the game and then win the game. I don’t know. You can ask him. I don’t know how he felt. He played with good attitude, I think. Played, fighting for every ball. Probably he was a little bit tired coming off an amazing match the other day against a very good player like Pospisil. I went on court with big respect for him because Pospisil, I saw him playing very well on Montréal this year, winning amazing matches against very tough players. So Rogerio was able to beat him. So I went on court with big respect.

Q. Will you tell me about how you reenergize yourself, take this motivation for extra games? Early in your career you thought you wanted to win in Wimbledon one day. At that time there was a lot of doubt. 2009 you had an injury time. 2010 you came back much stronger. Last year you missed half of the year. You came back stronger, not just physically but mentally. Do you think one of your biggest weapons is the will?

RAFAEL NADAL: When you are coming back after a hard times, after an injury, after moments that you are not well, so when you are having the chance to be back, is true to be back you need to work hard. You need to work with the right attitude every day. You need to be ready to suffer, to enjoy the suffering, and to be able to change the situation. But when you are in a low position, low situation, you are able to work and work to change that dynamic, is because you really feel the love for sport, the passion for sport. When you are back and you have the right feelings on court, then you change the dynamic. After overcoming a tough situation, then you are ready to compete better than before. That’s something that I am sure. All my life I played with lot of passion. I love the sport. I love the competition. Not only tennis. I love the tennis, sure, but I love the competition in general. I love the sport like a spectator. So have a chance to go on court in big stadiums that I saw on the TV when I was a kid, always is really special for me. So I feel very lucky and very happy to be back on the tour and playing well again.

Q. What is your opinion about playing the first round in three days here?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is longer. Is not a question of play the first round in three days. The question before we were finishing the finals here on Sunday, playing Saturday and Sunday. Every player knows that is something that was not fair. If one player have match like I had, for example, in the final of Australia against Djokovic, so next day is better go home, better than go on court. So is something that’s not fair. This year the final is on Monday. Is something that is not new because last couple of years the finals were on Monday. Is more fair have the final on Monday, have a day off between the semifinals and finals. But at the same time is one more day for the tournament. Is not normal finishing a tournament on Monday. Is nice finish a tournament on Sunday. That’s my opinion.


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