Rafael Nadal post-R1 press conference at Australian Open 2014 in Melbourne
January 14, 2014
Q. How does it feel to be back in Australia after missing out last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Great, no? First of all, is fantastic new to be back here in this great tournament after missing last year. I missed a lot be here. Is a place that I really love so much. I enjoy a lot being here in this city.
The organization with the players is, my opinion, the best. They always are improving things. Every year something is new and something is better. Just congratulate them for everything.
Q. Having that extended time off, did that help you fall in love with tennis again?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I always played with a lot of passion, with a lot of love for the sport.
No, the period off didn’t create me more love for the game or more passion for the game. I always played with that intensity, in my opinion.
But is true that when you have a period of time outside of the competition and you are back, the mental part is little bit fresher than ever. Seems like everything is little bit new again.
So for one way bad feelings because you are coming back and you always have problems when you are back. But for another part is great, no? The feelings are great. To come back to the stadiums, playing full stadiums, the best stadiums of the world, and something that you get used. But when you are out for a while you really missed a lot and you appreciate more when you are back.
Q. Obviously that’s not the way you’d like to win today. Do you feel the tennis was at a very high level out there tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: My opinion, was not enough rallies to say that. I was happy the way that I was playing. Well, first of all, you know, very sorry for him. Is very tough to go out of a tournament like this when you are playing at home, when you are playing night session with full crowd, no?
I felt really sorry for Bernard. I was in that situation a few years ago and I know how tough is to take that decision. But if you feel bad, there is no reason why you have to continue. You put in risk the next tournaments for nothing.
Because if you are in bad shape, the chances to win a match like this are very few. The rallies were still not too much, my opinion, to say was a very high level. He was serving great. I was serving good. The court is so quick. That makes, in my opinion, the show, the great points for the crowd, much more difficult.
Q. There’s been a recent trend to get legends to coach the top players. No other coach has coached a player to more slam wins than Toni. What has it been like working with just one coach over the years? Do you think that is a strength in your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am thinking with McEnroe for me now (laughter).
No, seriously for me, I believe in the continuation of the things, something long time work. So my team is the same since I start. I never fired out no one in my career of my team. That is something that I am proud of.
I always believe that you are playing well, if you are playing not that well, is always your fault, not the fault of the coach. I am not saying always. When something new comes to you, when you heard new things can help at the beginning.
But my feeling is when I was winning and when I am winning is because I am doing the right things, I am playing with the right attitude, and I know my team is the right way. And when I am losing, I feel the same way. It’s because I am doing something wrong, because my team is the right one.
If I won so much in the past with my right team and right now I am not winning, why is that happening? Is not the fault of the team; is my fault.
I always felt this way. My education was on that way, and not finding excuses outside of me. Is great, by the way, to have all these great coaches, great players in the tour. Brings lot of charisma to the tour. Makes the tour more important.
I am very happy to see these big champions on the tour, see them in the locker room, people that you see on the television when I was a kid is great. I am very happy to see them in the tour.
Q. These players say they got the legends to coach them because they’ve had such great experience in the big matches. What has been Toni’s approach in the finals of all these tournaments? What sort of things does he tell you?
RAFAEL NADAL: My secret (smiling).
Toni knows very well my tennis, knows very well my character. He knows what he has to say to me in the important moments, when I am under pressure, when I am scared, when I am confident. Nobody knows better me than what my team knows me, because all my team knows me since long time ago.
So I feel very confident with them. Really don’t get really wrong when something bad happens. I really would love to finish my career with the team I have today. I will fight for that.
Q. Because of the short match today, what sort of preparation will you have now for your next match? A hard training session tomorrow to make up for tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: I keep working, practicing. I practiced well during the whole week, enough. I am in the tournament. I did all what I had to do to arrive in good shape.
So the only thing that I can say is wait that the thing is going to go well and I’m going to find the rhythm and the right feelings in a tough court, a difficult one.
Tomorrow I will practice as normal, normal practice as day off between matches: probably one hour, one hour and 15.
Days like today, tomorrow that will be very hot, it’s better to save little bit of energy.
Q. Do you know your next opponent, the Aussie kid?
RAFAEL NADAL: I practiced with him in the past. I met him the other day in the Babolat event. He has a great future and will be a very tough match for me if I am not able to play my best. I going to try to play well.