An Interview with Rafael Nadal: Post-Victory Transcript
R. NADAL d. J. Monaco
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.
Q. First of all, congratulations. I want to talk to you about the people that are not playing here. Djokovic and Federer; Wawrinka left. Do you think there is a favorite, apart from Nishikori and Ferrer and you to win here this year? I think that Murray-Isner is a little bit complicated.
RAFAEL NADAL: Favorite, as I always say, is whoever lifts the trophy. That’s the favorite. There are candidates, and in the end it’s you, the ones who care about that and you have to write about that.
We don’t care. We go day after day and we know that all the matches are complicated. Every day you have to be out there with all your senses. When you come off a winning streak you see things differently. When you’ve lost a few matches, maybe things are a little bit more complicated.
So you just have to think on each point, match after match, and then see if things just work out. And in the final we’ll see what happens. We will see who’s playing better. Let’s see who can be there for the final rounds.
Q. Your friend and opponent Monaco was really angry with the umpire. Do you think that that was something that affected him?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t know if that affected him. Whenever you have a distraction sometimes you don’t play as well. It doesn’t help.
Well, as I said, in the end he was a little bit angry. For example, the time he was taking too much time, I understand that after that point it was not a time to give a warning.
You know, after all, it seemed that the ones that rule here don’t want to seewhat people like to see. People like to see that the points are fights and they have long rallies. I’m not making things up.
I just see what people applaud out there. People rarely applaud an ace; people don’t really applaud a serve. People applaud normally long rallies. That’s what they like.
The points where the abilities are there, where you’re suffering, that’s what people like. The points that normally we face the limits, that’s what people like to see.
It seems that those up there that are ruling don’t like that. They’re looking at a game where you don’t have to think, where you have to play ping‑pong really fast, one shot after another one. I think that’s not the sport.
So I understand that Juan was getting angry when he had a warning after a long point. He was running from one side to another. He needs to recover to continue giving a good performance. That’s what happens. That’s my feeling.
I already told you last year when this rule came into the game and it was a little more strict, what I do is try to adapt myself and play. I just do what they say. But my opinion is different to what we have out there.
Q. How did you feel out there? Did you need that victory to start with here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don’t know what I needed. Of course I needed to win to have positive feelings. I think I had it. Maybe I started out a little bit nervous during the first game. It’s logical after losing a match that the next match, the beginning is always tough whenever you’ve lost.
Yesterday it happened to David. The points are a little bit more complicated at the beginning.
But it’s also true that since I’ve was able to break and confirm the break with my serve when I was 4‑1 up, I think I was playing at a really good level. Perhaps one of my best levels on clay from the 4‑1 to the 6‑1, and then in the end of the match.
Sincerely I think I moved better and played well, better than I normally play on the clay. I was dominating over the points and playing very well. I think I’ve done positive things.
That’s the most important thing. I go step by step. You know, I don’t go from zero to 100. I go step by step. I think I’ve been playing better than I played in Barcelona.
I lost this match that I think I should have won, as I said. This week I have another opportunity to try to play well. I started pretty well, and tomorrow I have another match. We just have to be prepared for it.
Q. I want to ask you about the people that are not playing here. Do you think that the tournament has lost intensity or energy because we don’t have Wawrinka, Federer, Djokovic, in comparison to other years?
RAFAEL NADAL: I understand that for the tournament it’s always better that all the top players are here. Wawrinka was here but he simply lost. This is what happens in sport. You are here and you lost. It’s true that important people are not playing here, Djokovic and Roger. I’m sorry for the tournament. I’m sorry for Novak.
You know, whenever you don’t feel well, it’s really tough to say no to a tournament like this. It’s never an easy decision.
I just have to say congrats to Federer because he’s a dad once again. I think it’s a complete different situation, the one of Federer to Novak’s. It’s much more complicated, Novak’s complication, rather than Federer. Federer is something really happy. For Novak is something really bad.
In my case, I’m just playing here at home with lots of intensity, and I don’t care if Novak, Federer, or Wawrinka are not in the draw. I just look at my side of the draw, and I have to be ready for my next match.
I know that you are thinking further, but it’s very positive for the tournament and all the fans that all these players are here.
Q. After the matches that you’ve lost, does this generate in you tranquility? Do you have a different dynamic? Does it affect you, especially in the breakpoints out there? Do you feel it or not?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, no, it’s the first match. As always, afterwards you have to go over those barriers that you might have whenever you lose your confidence.
In Barcelona I had the opportunity to go over that barrier, and I think I was a little bit unlucky. Well, I’m always saying that I don’t believe in luck, but I had the opportunities to end that game in the second set and I didn’t do that.
Now I have to do things right here in Madrid, and today’s match will help me play a little bit more calm. I have another opportunity and I have to go for it. I am moving well, and tomorrow I’m a little bit more calm, as I say, with a little bit more security as I went out today.
Because each victory pulls you up, levels you up. Barcelona I started pretty bad. In the second round I played better. With Almagro I started playing really well. After that I lost. I didn’t go for any opportunities and ended up playing really well.
We could see that at the end of the match. We’ll see once again. I’m quite happy about the things that I’ve been doing well in training, the things I did before the match. I’ve done good things.
Well, talking about being calm, it’s something that you have to live with. Whenever you win, you can also be not so calm. When you don’t win, of course you’re more nervous.
It may be a little bit more tougher to go over the barrier that was talking about. Also, I know from experience in my career that you don’t go from here to here.
So you just have inertia, small things you have to change and they come out naturally. I just have to do it. I think today in the second set, the end of the first, I’ve done it pretty well.
Tomorrow I have another opportunity to play well. I’ll try to continue playing at tournament and we will see what happens. Because I also have a difficult opponent tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. You’ve played a lot of big matches in your career. Did you just feel a little extra nerves out there today and wanting to play well in front of your home crowd?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I never felt an extra pressure for playing at home. It was not this case. Always is a motivation play in Spain. Always that give me the positive feeling. Sometimes when people play at home they feel pressure. I never felt that way when I’m playing at home.
So I felt a little bit nervous, because at the end I felt that I was playing well. But you come back to the competition after losing a match that I felt that I had to win in Barcelona, so always at the beginning it’s normal to have some nerves.
Important thing is to accept that, fight, and try to pace yourself and find your rhythm again, and it happened.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.
Q. You have achieved your 654th victory. That’s over Arthur Ashe. What do you think about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in this case I always say that these things, you have to analyze them when you’re done with your career, not when you’re in the middle of your career.
You know, Ashe was a fantastic man in our sport. Well, it’s not something that was planned or that he knew, so all merit for what he did. As I said, he was a very important person in our sport.
In this case for me, you know, no matter how many victories I’ve had, I’m very happy that I can be compared to him. You know, to be to the level of some people like this, it’s always a great satisfaction for me.
Q. I am from Argentina. Monaco, I was just with him, and he said that he received a great lesson from your side. On Twitter, he just posted a phrase for you saying that you’re going to charge him Argentinian pesos for the lesson that you taught him?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, we’re friends. You know, I played pretty well. I think that he had an opportunity at the beginning of the match and didn’t go for it. He started with a break, and maybe that could have put him up a little bit.
Then when I recover from a that breakpoint, a couple good points from 2‑0, to 2‑1, he committed a fer errors and then I was up 3‑1. That was very decisive at the end of the match.
You know, these are matches that the results say it, but you never know if at the end things are different. Something else could have happened. You know, just all the support to Pico. I think he hasn’t gone through easy situations. He’s one of my best friends on the tour without any doubts.
Apart from being a good friend, he’s a really good person. So really the best to him and really good luck for his next events.
Q. (In English.) Out of all the other tournaments on clay, not including Roland Garros, does playing in Madrid make this one more special than the others for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s not fair if I answer that yes. It’s always more special when you are playing at home. Talking about the crowd, talking about the feeling that play in front of your people.
But talking about the tournament, it would not be fair if I say‑‑ I will not say the true if I say that for me is more special for me play here than in Monte‑Carlo, Rome, or Barcelona. They are historic tournaments, too.
I say the same: The crowd is more special here, and the chance to play in front of the Spanish crowd, Madrid crowd, was always very special for me.
Yes it is different. But talking about the tournament, for me all the tournaments are the same. All tournaments are very, very important for me.
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