An interview with Rafael Nadal: “Without that second set, I don’t know if I would have this trophy with me now.”


Q. Congratulations, of course. Are we going to change the name of Roland Garros to Nadal Garros? How many times you have to win it for that? Did you change strategy? Because today you played 43 winners; one more than Djokovic. Play many, many forehand on his forehand down the line, which normally doesn’t happen. You always play much more on the backhand. Was that strategic? Something that you started? I guess it worked.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, thank you very much. The name is very nice, Roland Garros, so… (Laughter.) Don’t need to change nothing.

Well, I tried to do my best all the time, no? I know to play against him I need to play to my limit, I need to play aggressive. But is always the same thing, no? To play aggressive and to play that shots, you need to be with confidence, you need to feel the ball.

Sometimes you don’t have that great feeling. It’s more difficult to produce these kind of shots, no? Is true that at the beginning the match start very equal, but I felt that the match was more in his hands at the beginning than in my hands.

I was winning more points from his mistakes than from my winners, and I need to change that. I think in the second set that the dynamic of the match changed. I was able to play more aggressive. I did better things.

And even if I was 4 All, the real thing was that the match really changed before. So that was a positive thing. For sure the day of today was very tough, very humid. The combination of two weeks of cold with the drastic change of yesterday and today, so today was the first real day that we play with that conditions.

This big change I think affects us, affects our physical performance. After the one set and a half we were a little bit tired today, no? It was very important for me to win that second set. Without that second set, I don’t know if I have this trophy with me now.

Q. This was a very special victory for you, your fifth in a row. You’re the first person to achieve five in a row at Roland Garros. Your ninth victory. You equal Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slam victories. How important would you rate this victory as compared to your first, and also the last year when you come back from injury? How important would you rate this victory?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think I always said the same, that I don’t like the comparations. But always for me is the same. For me, the most important thing is win Roland Garros. That’s the most important thing.

Then the other things, sure, are important, but the other things I always repeat the same. We will see when we finish my career how many Grand Slams I have or if I win four, three, or five in a row.

You know, today, that is not the most important thing, no? The most important thing today is I won the most important tournament of the world in clay, probably the most important tournament of the year for me.

I did a lot of times. I think was an emotional victory after what happened in Australia. I think I arrived with a lot of motivation to Australia this year. I prepared myself well to be there healthy and to be there with the right level.

All the tournament I played great, and in the final is true that I played against a player I always repeat the same that was playing amazing, like Stan. I don’t know if I would be able to beat him in that match. I don’t know.

But I didn’t compete that match, so that was a little bit hard to accept for me. I had few months later that mentally I go down a little bit. I was keeping fighting, but I didn’t feel myself enough strong.

Since one month I felt that I was able to playing better or worse, but my mentality was there again, no? And my motivation, my positive feelings on court was there again. Talking about mentally, no?

Then is a process that you need to work, need to win matches to play better and better. That’s something that happened. I was winning more and more the last couple of weeks, and I arrived here playing well.

That’s why I won against the toughest opponent possible today.

Q. People talk about your big strokes, but you’re also so strong on court mentally. You have such an ability to overcome problems. We saw that today. Talk about your ability to solve problems on court, your mental strength. Do you think that’s one of your strongest qualities?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I think everybody who is able to do what we are doing, you know, is because we are able to find solutions.

But most important thing is not the solutions. It’s not the most important thing. You find solution because you really want to do it, because you really want to fight, you really want to find it, you play with the right motivation all the time.

And that’s why Novak, me, Roger, last eight years we were there so many times. It’s obvious that we are not playing at our best every day, but when we are not playing at our best, we were able to keep believing in the victory, keep fighting for the victory, and keep trying different ways to win the match, no?

So that’s my feeling. That’s why we were able to do what we did that often and with that regularity, no? So it’s true that during all my career I fighted a lot for every match, and that’s the principal thing in my opinion, no?

Because then the solutions arrives, but because you really want to find the solution, no? Is true that during the matches I always try to improve the things, analyze the opponent, what’s better, what’s worse.

But the most important thing is what I told you.

Q. Wondering what the feeling is like for you to have this great match that ends with a double fault. It’s happened to you before against Novak here two years ago, and also against Verdasco in Australia. Wondering what that feels like when a big match ends on a double fault.

RAFAEL NADAL: It’s difficult. At that moment you cannot feel that was a double fault. Only feeling is you won Roland Garros, no? That’s the real thing.

Sorry for him. Was a little bit unfair what happened in the last point between his first and second serve. Happens sometimes in the big stadiums. Is nothing wrong with the crowd, but that can happen.

Probably that distracts him a little bit more than usual. That combined with the moment, with the pressure that is match point, makes him double fault. Sorry for him.

But for me personally, finish one way or another way, that doesn’t make a difference.

Q. You said that one of your objectives was perhaps Rio as well, and to reach the same level as Roger Federer.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, the fact that I wanted to go to Rio is a source of motivation, you know, when I couldn’t go to London. So for me it was a motivation.

Now talking about Federer, well, he’s had 17 and I have had 14 Grand Slams, that’s true. But I’m not really worried. It’s not a source of motivation for me. I’ll follow my own path. Then when my career is over, we’ll count. We’ll count.

But I don’t really care that much about the records. I’ll still play with a lot of intensity. I’ll still be motivated. Then we’ll see. Time will tell if I can have another record or not. For the time being, I’m so happy to have reached 14 Grand Slams.

So I’m so very happy. But I didn’t really look at things this way when I arrived here at Roland Garros. I’m so happy.

And then about Rio, you know, we can talk about this afterwards. You know, I have just finished Roland Garros. We’ll talk about the rest in a month, right?

I love talking about football, that’s true, but we’ll talk about Rio and football later on, if you don’t mind.

Q. You have won this tournament. Now do you feel calmer or at peace for the rest of the season?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, whatever happens for the rest of the season, I must say I have done so much already since the beginning of the year. Since I started my career, it’s been ten years, and for ten years I have played many tournaments at a high level. Of course I’m quite serene and calm, at peace.

Well, you know some holidays will probably be better, that’s for sure. The fact that I won my ninth Roland Garros in a row is a very good thing. Mentally it really shows that I can play in a very consistent way for many months. You know, it’s not just a one week preparation. You have to work hard and practice for days and weeks and months.

To me, winning is the result, the equivalent of lots of effort; therefore, I feel more serene and personally I’m very satisfied.



  1. To me the victory on Sunday was so important in his career. It restored his confidence and in some way compensated for the defeat in Melbourne. He played with the passion and intelligence yet remained calm. He is a serene man and what an amazing champion. Rafa for ever

  2. Claro Rafa esa es la palabra SATISFECHO con todo el trabajo que hiciste y con el apoyo de tu equipo Feliciidades nuevamente y a seguir por mas.

  3. Very well done dear Rafa. You proved equal to the trust of your millions of Lovers and supporters all over the world. You have sculptured a fantastic glorious epic. Deservedly done great warrior. Vamos!

  4. aww so sweet words from Rafa! Rafa is happy, serene and at peace with his win! Rafa you are so sweet and humble this is why we as your fans love you so much and you really made my day i woke up early only to look at your match today then I went to work, everyone at work knows how much I love you when they ask me what are you doing for the weekend I told them I’ll be looking at Rafa winning the French Open, so when I wen to work after the match they all said to me ” Your boy Rafa won today” I was smiling so happy and I said I told you all he will win today! My happiest day ever! Thanks Rafa for all the joy you bring to my heart today and always!

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