Interview with Rafael Nadal – Wimbledon, June 21, 2014

Photo via Tennis Canada
Photo via Tennis Canada

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What did you make of Spain at the World Cup and how determined you are to give the Spanish public something to cheer about here?
RAFAEL NADAL:  For me doesn’t make no one difference on my motivation.  That’s not different stories.  I am sad.  Everybody in Spain is sad for what happened in the World Cup.
But my mentality, my motivation going to be always at the top to play here in Wimbledon.
So I am not more motivated because Spain lost in the World Cup.

Q.  What does it tell us about sport, though, a team that had been so dominant for six years… 
RAFAEL NADAL:  That’s the sport.  You know, that’s the life.  That’s normal that that can happens.
Is not the first time that happens in the world of sport, and will not be the last that these kind of things happen.
Everybody who understand about sport understand that there is a beginning, there is an end of the things.  Is difficult to make changes on the team when the team had the success that this team had.  Is normal that probably the coach didn’t had the changes for this World Cup.
So now after that lose, you feel free to make the changes.  But at the same time, is a little bit sad that nobody ‑ the players, the coach, the fans ‑ nobody had the chance to enjoy that World Cup.
Was only the first half against Holland was positive.  After that was everything so negative.
Is the moment to analyze the mistakes and to work hard for the next competitions.

Q.  You left Halle pretty frustrated having no real match under your belt.  Can you talk about your preparations since then. 

RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t remember that match (laughter).
I came back home.  I didn’t practice tennis for a while.  I went a few days with the family, with friends.  I was able to go for a party on Saturday with my friends.  I was able to go to the beach few days in Mallorca.  Work little bit physical performance on the gym.
But I didn’t practice tennis there.  I needed a few days off for my back after a lot of stress for my back in Roland Garros.
I really tried hard on Halle, even though I know I was not able to have good success there.  But few days of practice help me to, you know, retain a little bit how to play here on grass.  That helps me little bit, that when I arrive here on Wednesday was not the beginning, you know.  The feeling to play on grass starts easier, come back easier to my mind.
And that’s it.  I am practicing hard since I arrived here.  More than usual.  Practicing more hours than what I usually do in the tournament.  That’s positive that my physical performance, especially my knee, give me the chance to practice that much to prepare the tournament, because is only tournament of the year that you don’t have weeks of preparation and matches to understand how you are playing or to know how you are playing in that surface.
Was always a little bit tougher to know which level you can offer.

Q.  Novak and Roger were saying now top players can be vulnerable here in the first couple of rounds.  Do you feel more refreshed coming in this year than the last couple of years?  Physically, I mean. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yes.  Yes, but that doesn’t matter if I go to the first round and the opponent plays better than me and he beat me.
I say before:  Is really the most dangerous tournament of the year.  When I arrive to Roland Garros I already played for one month on clay.  I played a lot of matches.  So more or less I can imagine how I am going to play.
US Open is the same.
Australia, is true that is the beginning of the season, but is surface that we know so is not a dramatic change, no?
Here, yes.  Especially the beginning of the tournament the courts are a little bit faster.  The feeling on court is a little bit strange for everybody.  Especially the top players have really more pressure.
But then the match is decides in a few balls, so you need to convert the small opportunities that you have.  That is true.  If you are able to win a few matches, you have the feeling you are in the tournament and everything becomes a little bit more logical, no?
I will answer your question that I am feeling better this year than last couple years, seriously.  Personally I feel that I am doing the things better.  I am able to move myself more free now with less‑‑ I’m not scared about my knee.  That’s the most important thing for me.
But then is true that for the last couple of years I didn’t play lot of matches on grass.  But I am confident that I can do it again.  Not talking about win, talking about play better than what I did last couple of years on grass.

Q.  Having had some time to think about it, what are your thoughts now about what you accomplished at the French?
RAFAEL NADAL:  The sport at the end is a thing that when you are playing, when you keep playing, doesn’t matter what happened the weeks before.  That’s going to be important when I finish my career.
We will have, hopefully, enough time to understand how difficult was what I did and to analyze all the things I did in all my career.
But for sure I’m very happy.  Was very emotional victory for me, very important one.  But at the same time, is no time to enjoy as I would like to enjoy Roland Garros because I am here in Wimbledon, and I really want to try to play well here.  That’s my real goal today.
When I finish here, I will have one month at home probably.  For sure going to be the moment to be happy.  Going to be the moment to analyze what happened.
For sure nine Roland Garros are a lot.

Q.  You were just talking about sport, and you said there’s a beginning and an end.  You just said about finishing a career.  What would make you think about finishing the career?  Have you thought what you may do after?
RAFAEL NADAL:  After the career?

Q.  Yes. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  That’s easy to answer, no?  The most important thing to keep playing tennis is be happy playing tennis.  If you are not happy playing tennis…
I have the luck that I can decide, you know, because I did the things very well since I had very early age.  I had the success during my career, so I can decide when I have to stop.  That’s important thing.
But is something that not worries me.  I was never worried about that, because at the end is something I don’t think about.  I will know when I have to stop because will be the moment I don’t want to go on court.
I’m going to say, Okay, I don’t feel nerves.  I don’t want to win as I wanted to win before.  I don’t feel that passion for what I am doing.
When that day arrives, I going to do another things.  Not scared about stop playing tennis.  I think I will have a good life after if I am healthy.  I like a lot of things.  I have a lot of hobbies.  I have projects in my mind to do in the future.
The only thing I am sure, if I am healthy, I will not stay in my house, in the sofa watching the TV the whole day.  I love to do things, and I will do things.

Q.  How does it feel for you to come back to a place where you’ve had great success already in the past, but not so much in the last two years?  What does it mean for your confidence going into the tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL:  The sport in general is about victories.  Is not about loses.  That’s my feel.
In the end, everybody remembers the winner.  Everybody remembers the victories, and nobody remembers the loses.
So doesn’t matter if you play so bad for two months and you lose eight first rounds in a row and then you arrive to Wimbledon and you win Wimbledon.  Nobody will remember about that two months that you played bad.  Everybody will remember about your victory in Wimbledon.
That’s sport.  That’s the good and the bad thing of sport.  The winner takes it all.
But obviously, talking about personal feelings, obviously winning Roland Garros is a lot of confidence for me and give me the possibility to play here with less pressure.
That’s always a positive impact, to have the chance to play better here.
Negative things, is true that I didn’t play as much as I would like to play on grass for the last couple of years.  I am not going to start from zero because I already played a lot in this surface in my career, but is like a restart.
I am going to try to play well.  I am going to try to play with the best attitude that I have.  I am practicing that way, very positive every moment, playing my best in every moment, working in the things that I really believe that I need to work to play well here.
But as I say before, is a tournament you arrive to the first round, sometimes the match cannot be in your hands, because in the end is a surface that you don’t have the time to control the match.  You have two mistakes with your serve and you lose the serve, you have a lot of chances to lose the set and you are in trouble.
That’s the real thing of the grass.  But for the rest, I am doing everything I think the right way to have a chance to play better here.

Q.  Which players do you see as the biggest threat at this particular tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Biggest threat?  I don’t see farther than that today.  I have tough first round against Klizan.  For the last two years I lost in the first and second round.  I cannot think more about that.
Seriously, in every tournament of the year, even on clay that I had a lot of success, probably some of you think that Rafa, when the tournament start, analyze Djokovic, Federer, the other ones.
I start from the first round in every surface.  You can imagine even more here on grass.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. VAAAMOOOS MY HERO! A step a the time – u are going to WIN today and after u will bild on that. we are all behind u and GOD is with u! VAAAMOOOS RAAAAFAAA , VAAAMOOOS CAAAMPEOOONNN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. you are always a delight to read, listen to and look at! my kind of champion! vamos rafa! enjoy wimby, be safe and stay healthy! those are the most important things for us, your fans! <3

Leave a Reply