An interview with Rafael Nadal (October 28, 2013)


THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  Rafa, welcome back, first. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Thank you.

Q.  You decided to take a break after Shanghai.  Can you just tell why, and how did you prepare for this tournament? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I prepare this tournament being at home with the family, the friends, playing some golf, and I practiced a little bit of tennis, too.
First week I didn’t play tennis.  After the week in Shanghai, I felt a little bit tired and very sorry to have not the chance to be in Basel.  It’s a great tournament.  I am happy they had a great final.
I am very sorry, but I played too much.  I played a lot of matches this year, and in a very short period of time.  It’s true there are players playing similar than me, but I started one month later than them, so my concentration of matches was more than the rest.
At the end of the season I always had some problems, and because of the situation and having all the matches that I had, I really thought that three weeks in a row in indoor for my physical performance, for my knees in general, is not the ideal thing today.
I decided to rest a little bit, and I hope to be ready for here.

Q.  You haven’t played here since 2009.  What do you think of the court now, the surface, everything? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I am very excited, motivate to be back here in a great city for me.  It’s a great tournament.  It’s true.
Sad because I really hate to had to pull out of great tournaments end of the season, great tournament of the year.  So I had not the chance to be here for different facts for the last four years, so I am very happy and excited to be back.
I don’t see big changes on the tournament.  Surface is fine.  Not very slow, not very fast.  It’s okay.  Always is the same.  If you play well, chances to win matches are a little bit higher.  If you are not playing well, especially on a surface like here in indoor, chances are very, very small.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Marin Cilic is back this week after his doping suspension.  He’s been saying that the ITF put pressure on him to withdraw from Wimbledon this year.  What do you think about that? 

Q.  About the ITF putting pressure on Cilic to withdraw from Wimbledon in June. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  (Through translation.)  I don’t know.  I really don’t have a lot of information on this case, so I don’t like to talk about the things that I really don’t know very well, first thing.
Only thing that I can say is I am happy to see Marin back on tour.  He’s a good guy and a great player.  I don’t know what happened, but if he’s back, it’s because it’s fair that he’s back.  That’s all.  Happy for that.

Q.  You have the chance here to make sure that you can finish as No. 1 for the end of the year.  What would that mean to you?  And also, here, Paris, it’s one of the few Masters 1000 tournaments you haven’t won yet.  Does that give you extra motivation?
RAFAEL NADAL:  The easier question is say yes.  The real question is not.  The real question, when I go to play in every tournament I play with the same motivation.  Even if I won two, I won five, or I won zero.  Because at the end, every tournament is important for me.  I try to play with my high intensity in every tournament.
Sometimes the results are positive; sometimes the result are not that positive.  I’m excited to be back in Paris.  Paris is a very special city for me.  Probably more special city of the world.  We’ll see what’s going on.
Talking about the No. 1, seriously, I will answer this question for the rest of the week.  It really don’t worries me.  Seriously.
It’s something during the whole season I say the same:  My goal is not to be No. 1.  My goal is be healthy finish the season.  For very positive circumstances I am here today being the No. 1 of the world.
But that doesn’t change my feeling from the beginning, that what make me happy is go on court ever day with a feeling that I am healthy, with the feeling that I am playing well, and feeling that I can lose and I can win against everybody.
That happened for most of the tournaments this year, so the season is done for me.  I did much more than what I thought.  We’ll see.  I going to try it finish well here and in London.  If I am able to play well and I finish No. 1, great.
If not, doesn’t change the season as being one of the best of my career without any doubt.  I enjoyed probably more than ever to play tennis the whole year.  Very emotional matches this year for the situation that I had last year.
So the thing that worries less to me is the numbers on my ranking today.  I have been in the top 2 for, I don’t know, eight years, nine.  I don’t know.  Seriously, that’s not going to change my career, finish No. 1 this year or not if I will be better or worse player at the end of my career.

Q.  Roger didn’t win in Basel, as usual.  There is lots of talk about him at the moment.  Is he finished or not.  You know him very well.  Do you think he’s on the way down or can we still expect him to do well in the future? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  He has the answer.  I don’t have that answer.  From outside, my feeling is his tennis is there.  He had a very positive week now in Basel.  That’s going to give him confidence again.
I don’t have any doubt that he will be playing better than what he did this year.  No doubt about that.  His talent allows him to keep being one of the favorites to keep winning the best tournaments of the year.
So talking about if he’s able to be back or try to be back in the No. 1 or something like this, will say the same like I said.  I think it’s not his goal, because at the end he already have been there.  He been in the top positions of the ranking for a long time.
So at the end, what really makes you happy is go on court with the feeling you can win the tournament.  That’s something that ‑‑ probably the only thing that maybe worries him.
His goal probably will be finish the year well and be ready to start well in Australia next year.  If that happens, he will be one of the candidates to win in the first Grand Slam of the season.  That’s something that really motivates him.
But I am sure that he’s not finished.  He will work hard in the off‑season to be ready for 2014.  I am sure he will be back playing great tennis again.

Q.  Because you started to play later this year, do you feel fresher than ever for the last two indoor tournaments or not? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  I feel motivated.  I feel excited to be here.  I really would like to ‑‑ love to finish better than what I did in the past, but it’s something that’s not easy.
Because in the end, the surface didn’t help me in the past.  But at the same time, it’s not the surface that is impossible for me.  It’s a surface that if I am playing well, if I am fresh, I am playing with the right energy, I can play well in this tournament.
Seriously, I’m going to try my best.  But I don’t feel exhausted like I felt another times in the past.  Other times in the past I arrived here with the feeling that I am very tired.  I don’t feel enough energy to compete well.
The situation is different.  It’s true.  I am relaxed.  I am happy to be here.  Remain two tournaments.  All the things that happened to me is more than what I ever dreamed eight months ago, so that makes me play very relaxed with less pressure.
And even if the last two tournaments of the year, that’s not mean that I am not motivate.  I always was motivate for this last part of the season, but I was not able to apply well.  I hope this year I can change the situation.  I hope to play well here and then we’ll see.
Last tournament of the year is important.  I never have the chance to play very well in London.  In 2010 I played well; the rest I play really bad.
I want to try to change that.

Q.  From your perspective, who is the best indoor player in the world, and do you think indoor tennis would deserve a Grand Slam? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  We need to create more Grand Slams, so I don’t know.  Indoor tennis is a great surface.  Nothing against the indoor.
Me personally, I prefer to play in the sunshine.  I like the hot conditions.  I feel more happy when I play on hot and outside and you see the sunshine.
But is a personal feeling.  Is not nothing relevant.  The really thing is we only have four Grand Slams, so you have the Masters in indoor every year.  That’s great.  It’s a great tournament.  It’s not that great that we play the Masters in indoor every time on the same surface.
It’s great that he have the indoor Masters, but changing surfaces with having the possibilities to play one year on clay, one year on grass, one year on hard, something that during all my career I was a little bit unlucky and I played ought Masters Cup indoor.
You remember here few years ago that was like other surface like plastic, I don’t know.  Now is that material, this material.
I never had the chance to play like happened in the past that they played in Houston, hot outside, or clay Masters.  Never had that chance, so that’s something that I was not lucky in that.
But even like this, London is great atmosphere, and I hope to be ready for that.

Q.  Can you talk about is it challenging for you to play Masters 1000 this week knowing you’re playing the Masters next week?  How do you feel about it? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  It’s not the ideal thing.  I really don’t like to play this and then the Masters, because at the end for the Masters is not positive.
Normally we have the presentation, the promotion, so less chances to have all of those things and to prepare well for the last tournament of the season.
It’s true that even if I prepared well I never played well, so…  (smiling.)
In theory it’s better have one week before the Masters.  But the real thing is the players are tired.  Players play from the beginning of the season, from very early in the season, and the problem is not playing tennis.  It’s the pressure.  It’s the physical demanding.
Because if you were playing, I don’t know, exhibitions or friendly matches, or you are, you know, practicing, you don’t feel that tired.  Problem is playing higher competition against the best players every week.
That’s happening too often, and that’s why the players decided to put Bercy and World Tour Finals back to back.
At the end, the players who are not playing the Masters have almost two months of rest, and that’s a great break.
But we’re still feeling that a little bit more break would be great for the players to recover well the body to try to have a little bit longer careers.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. cher Rafa,
    En plus d’être le meilleur, contrairement a Del potro tu es spectaculaire, tu débordes d’énergie et en plus tu es un modèle pour les jeunes et les moins jeunes car tu es respectueux et humble.

    Avec toi de tout cœur.


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