An Interview with Rafael Nadal (January 3, 2014)

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R. NADAL/P. Gojowczyk 4‑6, 6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What was the key to turning the match around?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I tried to change a little bit and tried to be positive for the rest of the match, because the tennis was not there today.
I think beginning of the second set was very important.  I started with a little bit higher rhythm, I think, without doing something very spectacular, but improving a little bit the rhythm.  Seriously, at the beginning, I felt that he was playing too comfortable every shot, no?
Even if he was playing great, when the opponent is playing too comfortable is because I’m doing something bad.  At the end I have to analyze myself, and in my opinion for a lot of periods of the match I let him play with very comfortable positions.
So that’s a negative thing.  Positive thing is I am in the finals first week of the season without arriving here with big preparation.  Without playing my best, I was able to find solution.  It’s true that I finished the match playing better than what I started.  That’s always a positive thing, because that means that mentally I was prepared to find solutions.
But for the rest, most important thing of today is just a victory.

Q.  It was a tough battle and you’re now one step closer to the trophy.  How do you feel?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I need to play better than what I did to have any chance tomorrow to win the trophy.  That’s the real thing.
Opponent will be tough tomorrow.  And if I don’t improve my level of tennis, my level of rhythm, need to play more inside, going more for the shots, my chances will be not big.
So I am really focused on try to do it, because I need ‑‑it is the right match to do it, and I need to do it.

Q.  Do you still train during a tournament like this as well as compete?  Do you train?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Train?  Practice?

Q.  Practice but also do the training you were doing offseason.  Because you had a short time.  I just wondered whether you were still training and whether that affects your tennis. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  No excuses on that.  Only thing is matches will help.  The practice will help.  At the end ‑‑yesterday I played better but is important to find the right line and to play with the same intensity.
You know, at the same time when you are playing more than usual and the practices and these kinds of things, you know, you feel legs sometimes a little bit heavier.
For example, today the feeling before the match was not great for me.  I felt a little bit, you know, tired.  But is not an excuse because at the end, even if I didn’t play, as I said before, my best in the second and the third set, the body language, in my opinion, and the intensity in the match was much higher.  So that’s the way.
Even if you are not playing your best, the intensity cannot ‑‑ it have to be there.  So I still practicing a little bit more than usual during tournaments, yes.  A little bit longer warmups, but that’s what I needed to, and I am in final.  That’s one match to play here.  Most important thing is even if I lose or win tomorrow, important thing too is I already gonna play five matches, and that’s important thing for me.  I gonna try to play my best match tomorrow.

Q.  When you were losing 3‑Love, you did not look worried.  In fact, when you lose a set in other matches, your expression never changes.  Your face never changes.  Is that because you do not worry inside, or is it because you don’t want to send a message to the opponent that he’s beating me and I’m worried?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I think no one thing or no other thing.  I am worried, but when I am losing, sure, I’m worried, and I am not thinking about sending or not messages to the opponent.
I am thinking about what’s better for me.  Sure, I was worried, but at the same time I was thinking that he played great in the beginning.  I was back on the first set.  I felt I had set a little bit under control after coming back to 3‑All, and then I played a few bad points.  That’s the real thing.  I had I think 30‑All or deuce in his service game with 4‑all, and I played short, so I didn’t play with the right decision.
Then with my serve, few mistakes and he played few good points.  I should have had break before.  That’s my feeling.  I shouldn’t arrive to 5‑4, and you start to get a little bit more nervous, and then you can have mistakes.
But, you know, at the end, I know if I was able to change the dynamic of the match and I was able to improve my intensity, I will have a good chances to keep winning the match even if I lost that first set.  That’s what experience says.
Not always works, no?  So I cannot give a set to the opponent.  That’s the real thing.

Q.  How much did you know about his game style before the match?  Obviously he probably knew a lot about yours. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Nothing.  I saw him yesterday play.  But seriously is very difficult to analyze the style of him yesterday, because his opponent, I never saw Brown play before one full match.  It was very strange all the things that happened during the match.  (Laughter.)  It was very difficult to analyze the opponent yesterday.

Q.  So that made it a little tougher for you to figure him out today maybe?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, what make tougher for me is I didn’t play well.  That’s the real thing.

Q.  When you’re playing a tournament that’s so close to a Grand Slam, how much are you able to stay in the present, in the moment, and how… 
RAFAEL NADAL:  In the?  In the present?

Q.  Yeah.  How much are you looking forward to already next week ‑‑not next week, but the Grand Slam. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  100%.  I am able to stay in the present 100%, because at the end, Grand Slam is in one week and few days.  I am playing in Doha.  I’m in a final.  Is a chance to win a title, and the title always a title.
Here, this tournament with good prestige.  At the end, I started the season playing a final.  That’s a positive thing always.  That’s it.
I know to play well in a Grand Slam you have to be playing day by day, and when I was able to play well in the Grand Slams is because I arrived there playing well.  I don’t believe in miracles.  If you are not doing the right things before the Grand Slam, I don’t think inspiration can come like this (snapping fingers).
It’s the work of every day going to give me the chance to arrive to Australian Open with right feelings, and that’s what I am thinking, trying, day by day, thinking day by day, every practice, every match, and doing this way.
I’m in the final.  That’s probably give me a little bit more confidence, a little bit more rhythm.  We’ll see if I am able to make a little bit the change tomorrow to play a little bit better.

Q.  Andy Murray has got to go ‑‑well, he’s gone now to Melbourne, needing a lot of practice.  Do you think you and Novak and Roger and the other top guys will be happy to practice with him or might it help him to get back into some sort of form practicing with you guys?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I am waiting the message of Danny to practice.  That’s the real thing.  (Laughter.)  I talked to him in Abu Dhabi last week, and I talk to him yesterday before he left.  But he didn’t know yet the days that he’s practicing, that he’s playing in Kooyong.  So I’m waiting his message to confirm what day we are going to practice.
No, seriously, I don’t see the competition that crazy way, no?  I have a good relationship with Andy, and I’m always happy to practice with the good people and good players.

Q.  Did you see any of the Real Madrid guys yesterday? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I didn’t have the chance.  In the morning I was working a little bit in the gym yesterday and preparing for the match in the afternoon.  Probably they were doing the same.
I was watching the match a little bit on television here before my match yesterday.  But when you are in a tournament, it’s very difficult to combine the timings and especially when you are playing in the afternoon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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