October 1, 2013, R. NADAL/S. Giraldo, 6‑2, 6‑4
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi said this week that they believe Roger Federer is the best player of all‑time, but that you will likely overtake him eventually. Can you comment on that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, just can say thank you very much to them for the comments. It’s something difficult to imagine for me. I never thought about that. All my career I went day by day and tournament by tournament, year by year. Here we were 27 years old and it’s much more than what I ever dreamed. So I’m going to try to keep working hard. If I’m able to do it, I am able to be healthy and to compete well for the next four years, I going to try to create opportunities to keep wining in important tournaments. If that happens, I will have the chance to keep being in the top. If I am in the top, I will have a chance to win more tournaments. But to overtake Roger is something that nobody beat in I don’t know how many years of history. So going to be a big coincidence if that happens in a period of ten years. The normal thing is that will not happen. But if that happens or that not happens, only thing I am sure is when I am going to leave this tour, I am going to be very happy about what I did. I tried everything in every practice, in every match. I gave everything. When you try your best everyday, that’s all that you can do. I think I did. So that’s why I am gonna be happy.
Q. This late in the season, how much is fatigue a factor in your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: The fatigue?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. It’s true that I am the player who played more and more concentrate matches during the season, because I started one month and a half, something like this later than the rest. So since I started until today, I am one of the players that played more matches. So that’s the real thing.
But it’s true that the things went unbelievable so I had the motivation to finish the season well. That’s what I going to try. I have an opportunity to finish the season with good feelings. Remain important things to play, and here is one of those tournaments. Every match means a lot for me today, and I am going to try even if I am a little bit more tired than three months ago. But I really hope that’s not going to affect to my game.
THE MODERATOR: Chinese questions.
Q. Congratulations for your success. We’re expecting you to be No. 1 in this China Open. Also, you mentioned before that you didn’t play too many matches in the first half of the season. [Sic] What maybe was the reason for you to have such a good performance in the second half of the season? What kind of changes do you have?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English.) Well, first thing, I don’t want to talk more about the No. 1. We talked enough past couple of days. Today is important victory for me against an important opponent like Giraldo. If I’m able to keep playing well every day and at the same level I played last couple of months, I will have the chance to be there, to be No. 1 in the future. If not, I will not have that chance. My rival for the No. 1 today is Novak, and he’s playing great. His level of tennis is very high, so I’m sure he will have a great result. And for the rest, I think I don’t remember what you ask me. (Laughter.)
(Question read back for Rafa.)
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English.) I didn’t say that. I say I didn’t play a lot of matches just at the beginning of the season. Just the first one month and a half of the 2013 season I was not able to compete for the knee. I started one month later. Even like this, for the first six months of the season I played a lot of matches because I played three tournaments in Latin America and Indian Wells and then Monte‑Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, and Roland Garros. So I played the finals in all of those. That’s a lot of matches. And the reason for the success is not because I changed a lot of things. I didn’t have the chance to practice during this period of time that I was off, outside of the courts. So without practice, it’s impossible change or improve things. But it’s true that mentally I came back probably fresher than before with a lot of motivation to come back to the tennis court to play in the big stadiums and to compete again. That’s something that I love. I start to play well. The confidence was high for a lot of moments during the season, and I tried to play aggressive. Always the same. You can play aggressive if you are playing well. If you are not playing well, it’s very difficult to play aggressive. You can try, but if you are not playing well you will not have that chance. I was able to play aggressive for most of the time this year because most of the time I had a very good feelings on court.
Q. We all know that you are fan of Real Madrid. This year we have the Euro Championship. Are you going to try to stay up late and watch those games?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think today is playing‑‑ today is not Real Madrid. It’s Barcelona and which one more? But here the matches are at 2:45 at night. It’s difficult for me to see that when you have match the next day. If you don’t have a tennis match the next day you can go to the bed late or you can try to sleep earlier and wake up for the match and then come back to sleep. But it’s not that case in the middle of the tournament. It’s impossible. They play tomorrow. If I lose tomorrow ‑ hopefully not ‑ I will have the chance to see. If not, I need to rest for the next.
Q. During the match you were sweating and you change your T‑shirt. Is that welfare you give to Chinese fans, especially female fans? A lot of them were screaming on the court.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Smiling.) Well, I need to change my T‑shirt because if not I cannot continue. I am sweating a lot, almost all the time in the humid places.
Well, I cannot give the T‑shirt to the fans because I need to play here, Shanghai, and then next tournaments with the same combination. (Smiling.) So I don’t have 100 T‑shirts. If I’m in the last round of the tournament, then I will give.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports