Indian Wells QF: An interview with Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his quarterfinal match at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open.

Q.  For almost two sets maybe you played your best tennis in one week.  Then you looked like tired because something that what happened or maybe something else.
RAFAEL NADAL:  In the third?

Q.  No, for the first two sets.
RAFAEL NADAL:  But when I look tired?  In the third?

Q.  At the end of the match.
RAFAEL NADAL:  I am not agree with you.  I agree with you and I am not agree with you.  I agree with you that I played well for almost all during two sets, you think?  In the third I didn’t have a lot of chances to have breaks too?  (Laughter.)
Because at the end ‑‑sport is like this, and at the end we cannot analyze all the things thinking two or three balls, because that will be not fair for me, for nobody.
At the end we have to analyze a little bit more overall, not think because I didn’t have the break point he served an ace on the break point in the third, and in 30‑All he played some good forehands.
I was tired?  I was not tired.  I had more opportunities than him in the first, in the second, and in the third, too.  That’s the real thing about what happened during the match.  The real thing is I am happy the way I played.  I am happy the way that I competed today.  I am happy the way that I stayed in a level during the whole match.
I am not happy that I lost.  (Smiling.)  That’s it.  No, no, at the end of the sport is win or lose, but today I lost against a great opponent who was fighting for every ball with very positive attitude.  Feeling that I was there fighting for the victory against a top player again in a good surface for him is a big improve for me.  I am not very sad.  I’m not happy about the final result, but I am happy because, as I said before the tournament, I am much closer than one month and a half of what I want to be.
I had a lot of chances to win today.  Maybe I should win.  (Smiling.)

Q.  What are the greatest regrets on this match?  What are the things you think you could have done differently?
RAFAEL NADAL:  That return on the, I don’t know, 10‑9, big mistake with the second‑serve return.  That’s the only thing that I can say to myself during the whole match.
So maybe with more victories on my shoulders, without being outside of the competition for several months, maybe I will win that match because I will not play the return like this.
But is normal that you are a little bit more nervous in that moment than usual.  It’s true that I didn’t compete at that level of intensity mentally in tennis for a long time.  I didn’t play the match with that positive energy and that attitude since almost eight, nine months.
So is a long time.  That’s a big improve for me.  I was able to be there very focused, playing with positive energy for three hours, so that’s great news for me, because that’s the way I competed during all of my career.
Today I did.  In this tournament I did much better than in the previous tournaments.  So I am leaving Indian Wells with the feeling that I had big chance to do more and with the feeling that I was ready to compete again well.
Hopefully that will help me for the future.  I think match like this obviously is much better if you win, but even losing I think I’m 90% sure that will help me.

Q.  You had talked the other day about the challenge of facing these big, big servers.  Can you talk about the mental challenge of having to face a guy for three sets who is serving 140 miles an hour?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I was there.  I had a lot of opportunities, no?  I think I returned well.  Great.  In three games of the second set I had chances to have the break.  That’s a lot of opportunities to play against a big opponent and big server like Raonic.
I did what I have to do; he saved that opportunity.  I had the passing shot.  I played close passing shot.  Maybe it was the moment to do it down the line, the banana, but was not the case.  I thought that he will cover that part of the court and I went for the other one.  A mistake or not?  I don’t know, you know.
We cannot analyze‑‑ as I said, the first answer, no, we cannot analyze match or that in just a few things.  That’s what happens against these kind of players.
In general, I played aggressive.  I played with determination, with the right attitude, I think, playing good tennis.
I lost, and I feel that I had a lot of chances to win.  Let’s keep working that way.  As I say since the first week of the season, is a process that I had to pass, and I am doing the normal process.
The positive thing is during that process sometimes with losses like I had few times in the last couple of weeks maybe you are going down, but is not my case.  I think every week I am better.  Every week I am more competitive.  Every week I feel stronger, quicker on court again.  My movements are good again.
My focus on the match is becoming better every match.  Today I was able to compete against a top player without a feeling that he was better than me.  So that’s a big improve.
Against Berdych in Australia I played that match and I didn’t compete.  Today against a very tough opponent, a very uncomfortable opponent, I created a lot of chances.

Q.  You spoke the other day about the conditions.  How was it today to manage the shape of your shots and the thin air and the court speed?  How was that for you today?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Is difficult to say something because I felt I was there.  The conditions were good.  Is true that playing in the night things are a little bit easier on the return, on playing the points, because the ball become a little bit slower, so is easy to have more control of the point from the baseline.
But I don’t have the luck today.  I played during the day.  That’s it.

Q.  You said obviously you’re disappointed at losing, but was it also a frustrating match to play?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Frustrating?  No.  I enjoyed the match.  I enjoyed on court.  I enjoyed suffering his serve.  I enjoyed trying to be very focused with my serve all the time.  I think I did well.  I enjoying the fact that I felt well with myself on court again.
So I felt competitive.  I felt strong, with the right energy.
No, no, I lost that match thinking much more positive things than negative ones.

Q.  You played well; you played well the whole tournament.  Can you talk a little bit about Milos’ level?  Can you talk about his level to beat you?  How good is his level?  Is he ready to make that step where he can compete with you and the other three big players consistently?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t know.  I think we’ll see at the end of the year, because is obvious that with that serve, at one match you can beat against everybody serving like this, no?
It’s obvious Milos going on court can win against every player of the tour, because with that serve, if he serves well you know that you gonna be in the tiebreak, probably.
So those are the things that are deciding in just a few balls.  So let’s see.  Let’s see.  He’s young.  It’s the normal thing, normal process.  He will keep going up on the ranking and will be more consistent.

Q.  What are your thoughts about Milos playing tomorrow against Roger?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I saw Roger playing very well today.  The difference on that match is even if I only lost one serve during the whole match and didn’t have a lot of opportunities to have, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to have break on my serve.
Bigger difference with Roger, especially in that surface, is he has a great serve, too.  The opponent feels that, you know.  Milos felt that can attack sometimes with my serve.  Against Roger, he probably will not have that chance, because Roger is serving well.
The feeling, you know, comparing the two players, is Roger probably will have the same chances of returning serve than Milos.

Q.  When you go into a tiebreaker with someone with a serve so big, do you ever doubt yourself at the start of the tiebreak?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Doubt?

Q.  Doubts.
RAFAEL NADAL:  I have doubt in the locker room before I start a match, so…  (Laughter.)
You can imagine if I have doubt playing a tiebreak, no?  It’s obvious that I have that doubt.
No, no, when you go to a tiebreak I have a doubt against every player.  Imagine against a big server like Milos.  No, it’s obvious everybody have doubts.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Video: BNP Paribas Open

11 comments

  1. I agree the other top players have had to change their game and bring in another coach to compete against Rafa trouble is it has had an effect and now they are managing to beat him proving than bringing one in was the right thing now Rafa needs to do the same to stay on top because the way Novak is playing right now it will be hard for any one to stop him and we all know the French Open is the one he wants .All that said he will never have the loveability and fans that Rafa has

  2. Let’s not be too hard on Rafa. He’s the GOAT and nothing can change that. It is because of Rafa that we have a better Roger Federer, Let’s remember that Roger actually brought in Stefan Edberg because of Rafa. Also, it is because of Rafa that we have a better Novak Djokovic. Let’s also remember Novak actually hired Boris Becker to particularly overcome Rafa especially at the French Open. Both Novak and Federer have admitted that the Rafa challenge helped a lot to improve their tennis. The same goes for Murray and a lot of other players..
    So, you don’t say a person is the GOAT based only on the matches or grand slam titles won, but on the total impact on other players and contribution to the sports. And Nadal’s contribution to say the least has been momumental, unparalled in the history of sports.

    Now that he’s recuperating from injuries and illness, a lot of players are seeking to take advantage of him to earn overnight stardom. Well, they had better do that, because I know that soon and very, very soon our Rafa will be back (like the Terminator) to take his pound of flesh back. It is the ‘revenge time’ of Rafa that I’m just afraid of because he may just achieve a calendar slam and win all ATPs in sight! That is my greatest fear, my joy!

    However, on the issue of additional coach, Rafa really does not need it. If he needed one, he would be the first person to say so. My own opinion is that he should avoid distractions, he should stop playing Poker and concentrate solely on Tennis.

    Vamos Rafa, the King.

  3. Well done, Rafa. Very positive. You are right, to stay with a player who serves so well and to have those break point opportunities meant you were at that level. It will only get better.

  4. Vamos .I just love watch Rafa play.he treat
    every player the same.#1 to the qualifier.that
    Is why his the best player ever.down to earth
    and very honest.always have my support no
    matter what the result💖💖💖

  5. Rafa is a great player. As he said in interviews it takes time to play well after injuries. He is improving with every match he plays. Tennis is not easy sport. Its mentally very demanding. The star coach is not everything. His uncle can give him same things as Stefan Edberg to Federer. And btw Rafa’s friend Carlos Moya helps him as well.

  6. We can always count on Rafa to give his most candid responses to any question he is asked; this interview didn’t disappoint, which is why I take pride in saying that I’ll always support him for as long as he’s in the sport. I also look forward to his future matches this year and fervently hope he wins that tenth French Open! He deserves it! VAMOS RAFA!!! Adelante para Miami!!!

  7. Rafa will always be the player I support until he retires from the game ,and he is the one who got me into tennis again after many years but we have to be real at present it looks like Rafa,s French Open win will not make number 10. I cannot understand why he will not take on another coach to work along side Uncle Tony you only have to look at Novak,Murray and Federer to see what a big difference it makes.A year ago I thought that was it for Roger and look at him now.I know Rafa is about family and maybe would feel disloyal to his Uncle but loyalty works both ways and I’m sure his family can see its what is needed .Uncle Tony has done a brilliant job but think what Rafa would play like with a second coach an ex player he would be unbeatable

    • Can’t really understand why you would doubt Rafa if you are a fan. As he says, candidly in this interview, he is about back to his usual level of playing; unfortunately we won’t get to see him tested against Roger or Djoke.
      He played a fantastic match, as the stats show, a much better match than Milos. He served great, he returned great, he moved great.
      He knows what he has to do, he knows how he feels – none of this has anything to do with a coach.

    • If I may reply here….hard to find a former player who has finer, sharper, better and higher skills plus tennis know how than Rafa…..He has managed to upkeep his tennis game over time w an enormous success and relevancy…. winning against traditional back & forth long pointers, or winning against 1 pointers, simpler ace type of players….he is doing it all on a very superb level over a very long time….therefore, I can not imagine any other ways of training other than the way he has been blessed to grow and prosper w his game, as w his over all knowledge of tennis. Plus, the way Rafa follows his path has been working well for him and as you know, he is considered by many tennis followers to have earned the title the GOAT … THE GREATEST TENNIS PLAYER OF ALL TIME ever to play the game…. both fans and tennis professionals alike believe him to be THE PLAYER…. The most important of all perhaps is the fact that we have seen Rafa produce results, beautiful longevity, and much beloved well earned Stardom right infront of our eyes…. so I trust his instincts, his family, and his own knowing of what is right for his game & career… I adore his down to earth candid interviews and genuine responds to the asking….and KODOS to him!!!!

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