An interview with Rafael Nadal – Miami Open R3 (March 29, 2015) [VIDEO]


Q. It seemed you found a way in the second set, and then it totally went away in the third. What was the sensation today? How can you explain how it went?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, in general, I played some good games at the beginning, bad games at the end of the second set; some good games on the second; not bad at the beginning of the third.

But he played well the third, so he deserved to win more than me without any doubt tonight. Just congratulate him for the victory.

Q. Do you feel that you haven’t been able to build up much momentum this season?

RAFAEL NADAL: It’s not the question of tennis. The thing is the question of being enough relaxed to play well on court. Something that if I tell you one month ago or one month and a half ago I didn’t have the game.

Today my game in general improved since a month and a half. But at the same time, still playing with too much nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments, still playing with a little bit of anxious on that moments.

For example, in the 4-3 in the first set, and then in the 5-4, 30-Love. Something that didn’t happen a lot during my career. I have been able to be under control, control my emotions during, let’s say, 90%, 95% of my matches of my career, something that today is being tougher to be under self-control.

But I gonna fix it. I don’t know if in one week, in six months, or in one year, but I gonna do it.

Q. You obviously had quite a few issues last year. I think your wrist, your back, and the appendicitis. I’m just wondering if you’re finding it as easy to trust your body perhaps after those problems last year.

RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?

Q. Is it an issue maybe trusting your body this year after all the physical problems last year?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. The physical problems are past. I am on competition. I’m playing weeks in a row. Is not an excuse.

What happened last year, yes, the first weeks of the season obviously all the problems that I had didn’t help, but talked enough about these kind of things. Is different story today.

As I said before, feeling much more comfortable in my tennis, practicing well, much better than in Australia, much best than Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. But still playing on competition, you know, feeling more tired than usual, feeling that I don’t have this self-confidence that when I hit the ball I gonna hit the ball where I want to hit the ball, to go for the ball running and knowing that my position will be the right one.

All these are small things that are difficult to explain. One of the tougher things have been fixed, that is the game, in my opinion. Now I need to fix again the nerves, the self-control on court. That’s another issue.

Is not a tough issue to fix, but I gonna keep trying. I am trying my best. I am practicing with the right attitude, I think. I arrive in an important part of the season for me. I didn’t want arrive to that part of the season with that loss of today, obviously, but that part of the season arrives.

It’s the next for me, and I am excited. I am enough motivated to keep working hard, and that’sΒ what I gonna do. The tournaments that are coming are tournaments that are historically good tournaments for my game, good tournaments for my confidence. Is true if I’m not able to control all these things, I don’t gonna to have the possibility to compete well and have have success on that events.

But still with confidence that I can do it.

Q. I think it’s very interesting you’re talking about nerves and self-control. I mean, you seem like you have won so many big matches in your career that you always seem to have that confidence and that swagger about you. Why do you think this has happened? When did you start feeling that way?

RAFAEL NADAL: It happened when I came back. Beginning of the season I am playing with, you know, all these feelings that for moments are new. You know, I am not saying that didn’t happen in the past because happened, but happened for a very small — for one point, two points.

Happened, and then (snapping fingers) I’m able to say, Okay, I am here. But now, for example, happened for, you know, 3-All break point, more or less easy forehand. That was a very important point for me, but shouldn’t be that important, you know.

I lost that point, and then affects to the next game. I am playing with the next game with more nerves. Then I had the break back, 30-Love, and then again I miss a forehand. That created me doubts again.

So a little bit on and off, on and off too much. That’s something that didn’t happen in the past, no?

I’m trying to be honest. I am saying the things that I feel today. But at the same time, I tell you that I have been able to able to change a lot of situations, a lot of negative situations in my career, and I want to do it again. Gonna work to do it again. I am confident that I can do it. I don’t know if I gonna do it, but I hope I can.

Q. Have you ever felt this kind of nervousness or lack of self-confidence before in your career?

RAFAEL NADAL: I said yes. I said before yes. But not for, let’s say, four games in a row, no? Happened for two points and then I was able to be back and to forget about that two mistakes. Now takes a little bit more time.

For example, I was able to be back on the match today, but between 5-3, 4-3, and 2-1, break point for him, I was not there, you know. And I was not there not because I didn’t want to be there, no?

Because I was with negative attitude being there. Because I was playing with too much nerves. I was anxious on court. It’s not the thing that, you know — well, is not like maybe some players happen that four games because they lost the concentration and they didn’t have the right attitude there. Is not my case, no? Is not my case.

I wanted to be there. I tried in every point, but I was not able to relax myself, calm myself, say I’m going to play my tennis now.

Q. As this is a problem in your head, if you like, have you thought about consulting a sports psychologist? Many top golfers say the sports psychologists were very, very important in recapturing their game and getting over these problems. Are you thinking about doing that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Seriously, I said a lot of times in my career that tennis is not a big deal in life. (Smiling.) You know, medical treatment you need when you have problems. Outside of the tennis world when you have some problems in your life, is a good help that you visit a professional that can help you to improve your quality of life.

Is sport, is game. That’s not that much important. But I don’t know. I didn’t think about. Is something that I need to fix for myself and with my team. I need the help of my team, too.

But especially I need the help of myself. That’s what I am trying to do. Nobody gonna change the situation for you. You have to know that you have a problem and you have to know that you have to improve that. You have to change that. I gonna keep working on it.

Hopefully the clay helps. Is obvious that if I am able to win my matches on clay, to feel my game confident there, then the doubts are less.

Q. With the clay season coming up now, are you looking forward to that as an opportunity for you turning your season around, hopefully getting some confidence going into the last stretch of the season?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Shaking head.) I am not American. I cannot understand you if you speak that fast. (Laughter).

Q. I will repeat the question. With the clay season coming up, do you feel like now with the clay season coming up do you feel it’s an opportunity for you to —

RAFAEL NADAL: You still doing the same. (Laughter). You are like me on court today.

Q. With the clay court, the clay season, Barcelona, Madrid, French Open, clay court season coming up, do you feel it’s a chance for you to get your confidence back and play better and hopefully turn around your season?

RAFAEL NADAL: Every tournament is a chance for me. I don’t have nothing to lose. At this point of my career I won enough things to say I don’t need to win more, but I want to do it. I want to keep competing well. I want to keep having the feeling that I can be competing for every tournament I gonna play, and I have the motivation to do it. Obviously clay is surface that I had some success, and I hope to be ready for it again.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports, Video: Tennis Atlantic

25 comments

  1. hi rafa,

    im from india we watch cricket,i hope u knew about sachin tendulkar the god in criket
    and holds many records in cricket.when tendulkar is gone from the match most of the
    cricket fans in india either they change the different television or shut the television.
    the same i applied here when u out from the tournament i stop to watch the entire
    tournament and after that i feel its very boring to watch tennis.

    i dont think your career ends and there might be drop in your ranks and it just a number.
    you will fix all the issue before clay court starts.

    all the best and i love you.

    thanks and warm regards,
    G saravanan.

  2. RAFA siempre estaremos contigo, sabemos que eres el mas grande, y estos bajones les pasa a todos los seres humanos, y tu eres eso un grandioso ser humano.
    Vamos Rafa a recuperarse mentalmente, agarra condianza y los triunfos vendran por si solos

  3. Tu seguiras siendo el mejor, y lo eres recobra tu confianza en tus tiros, mentalmente y esto pasara, vendran muchos mas triunfos poruqe tu eres un ganador un verdadero champios, I love Rafa.

  4. I can understand how u feel. I love for u to always win but I still
    Love you even when u lose a match. I think u have many years of tennis left in your body. Maybe meditation would be good to try

    Continue to be a gentleman on and off the court
    We will be back RAFA πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

  5. Your fans are in on court with you in spirit ,for every ball you hit ,we are with you ,behind you continuously ,and will be there always ,,,,vamos Rafa ,,,let’s go ,,let’s see the radar we know and live on court fighting concentrating and winning ,,,

  6. So good to feel the overwhelming love and support here for Rafa. Yes, it hurts to see him lose, because we’re so used to him winning. But it must have taken a huge toll physically and mentally for him to come back again and again after major injuries (remember how long it took Andy Murray to come back after his minor back surgery?). On top of that, he is getting older, and the field is getting stronger. That’s also why his achievements are even more incredible, compared to others who’ve been blessed with better physical conditions. Rafa, you have nothing left to prove, not to yourself, not to your fans, least of all, to the media! So, swing freely, my forever champion!

  7. Life can send you a curve. Guess what the sun in your life will come back out! I admire your honesty and self examination of your thinking process. Try not to get stuck. We fans all love and admire you.

  8. The good thing is Rafa has greatly improved on the court. His problem-solving abilities
    also are still intact. He just has to regain and work on his confidence and hold his
    nerve in those crucial moments during a match. Ironically, Verdasco is the one known
    for losing his nerve when maintaining the lead and closing out a match but not this time. Rafa is always known as the most mentally tough player there is so he just has to navigate through some uncharted waters right now so he can get a grip during those games he
    faces breakpoint, etc. Ironically, he had no trouble playing Almagro who I thought
    would have given him a much greater challenge than Verdasco. Usually it’s Rafa who
    can re-group in the third set. Next time he will. All his fans including myself have
    every confidence in Rafa going forward! He could also draw upon his fan’s confidence in
    him.

    Those turning point moments are always the most challenging and unnerving no matter who the player is! This is just another hurdle for Rafa to overcome which he certainly will. He just needs some time and to have patience. He must not beat himself up! This is part of the healing process of returning after a long absence comprised of injury and illness. I see
    Delpo, Azarenka and Tsonga are also going through their process in forging their
    comeback after injury. It certainly isn’t easy for any one of them! No matter how great they
    are!

    The best is yet to come for Rafa. He will always remain my favorite!

    Always with Rafa!

  9. There is a lot of love and respect for you Rafa….we are all behind you and know everything gets resolved and ends up well. Sorry I forgot to mention very important point ….. that there is a Physical base & reason for all the nerves acting out and having this feeling anxious – it happens when our body is run down…. for a lengthy time….. after many nights with lack of sleep, and many days with lack of good balanced meals that include protein, iron, and other basics …. SO good nights with plenty of sleep, and having basic balanced meals are just as important as deep breathing, relaxing and calming. Doing YOGA helped a lot too because of the deep breathing and the over all relaxation of the muscles. NOT TO WORRY dear Rafa…. you doing a lot of things right and you have a blessed attitude….and taking good, basic care of the body will take care of everything for you. It will all disappears just as it came…. and everyone messages to you are right on….. You are blessed and you have the love and respect from your million fans!!! God bless you!!!

  10. Rafael will still have the support of millions who are true supporters. I wish I had a magic wand to make it right for him. He has identified confidence as an issue. Sometimes thinking too much is not good. I hope that he reflects on how good he is and what he has achieved and that it will give him the freedom to play in the glorious manner he can, Rafael forever our champion player and person

  11. Rafa I understand what you mean about the doubts take your time it’s normal because you’ve away from courts for a long time…but don’t take too much time too!!! As you know the clay season is just behind the door and I want to see that brilliant Rafa like I used to see in the past on the clay court…especially for Rolland Garros my favourite gran slam tournament and yours too…so VAMOS RAFA ☺

  12. rafa u r the best. try to practice with a good player and hit ur shots as u wish without any nerves coz it’s just a practise. hopefully u will get back ur old form. comeon mate u can do it. vamos for clay swing πŸ™‚

  13. Rafa, I think you are very much on your way back..I have watched you through your whole career and I am confident that you will be back..Unfortunately you have to listen to these jerks ask their stupid questions and you are answering them as honestly as possible and they still try to dig deeper….that in itself would be enough to send most of them packing if they were ask the same questions about their profession they are asking you…Don’t let anyone discourage you….life has its ups and downs no matter what…keep your head high and go for what you want in life. YOU LOOKED GREAT TODAY, just a hiccup here and there/

  14. Will always be der 4 U as a fan, no matter what. 🌺 it’s Ok Rafa.πŸ’–. These things do happen. Ups n downs come. But der is always a tomorrow. Take ur time. U r the best . 🌷 🌷 🌷 🌹 🌹 love you always. πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ’œπŸ’“πŸ’•πŸ’—πŸ’πŸ’–πŸ’Ÿ

  15. CHIQUITO ,YA TE DIJE UNA VEZ AUNQUE PIERDES O GANES ERE EL MEJOR DEL MUNDO,TE COMPRENDEMOS Y LOS JUEGOS SON ASI ,NADIE SABE QUIEN GANA HASTA EL ULTIMO MOMENTO ,DISTES TODO LO MEJOR Y SIGUE ASI ,YA LLEGARA UNA COPA PARA QUE LA MUERDAS, TE QUEREMOS MUCHO.Y BENDICIONES EN LOS PROXIMOS JUEGOS ,TE ESTARE APOYANDO. MUAHHH.

  16. That is a precious interview Nadal………thank you for being so amazing and so human!!! You are so special & God bless you!!! You are direct & honest and always offer real answers. Nerves happen, and the feeling of anxiousness happens, and the sensation of nerves & panic is real…. and it stops the flow of movement….not just in tennis but in any moment of action….and sometimes it can even happen when we are alone. The nature of human is that it happens to many many many folks….and feeling anxious is basic & human…..so nothing new …and nothing to be too concern about…. it is no big deal but it is very scary when it happens at first…. because it happens out of the blue….and we are not prepared … At first, it feels like a shock, and out of control feeling. The good news is that gradually, if that fearful sensation comes back, we just learn to recognize it for what it is, just nerves playing tricks on the body, and we then learn to ease into it, not be afraid of it, and the intensity of the situation subsides…. With each anxious experience, we grow in knowing our mind can handle that . The biggest thing is to NOT FEAR the nerves, or anxious panic… it is natural, and no big deal…it can come and it can go…. therefore, just as soon as we know to look at that alarming sensation with gentle understanding and with out fear, everything gets easier, and immediately lessen. Good to take it as it comes, and look at it for what it is… Having doubt is very human and knowing that your body is not scared of the nerves will ease the doubt a lot, and you will merge from this experience that much stronger!!! Thank God, with ease, with calmness and with out resistance, the anxiousness can melt away, and breathing and relaxing into our body helps a lot and the energy slowly shifts…, and then we are assured and have the inner knowing it will pass….AND it does pass, the nerves subside, and we feel like ourselves again full of good strength and ready to move forward. Simple ….recognizing / knowing that it is not a huge big deal, really helps the mind over come the anxiousness, and then we feel refreshed! We can feel the nice relief and a sense of positive energy again. Was great to read in the interview how you are positive and trusting in your ability to overcome the nerves & doubt. YES….100% You can, and you will!!! With your beautiful positive approach in everything, and your efforts in improving many aspects of your game , this is just another step , another phase and experience…that’s all it is. Rafa, like many many folks, you too will have a good outcome, God bless you!!! You will learn well how to overcome this phase. Learning from relief from nerves makes us better human being, more compassionate & understanding. The nice part is that after that, Nothing will phase you that you will not be able to handle….because after we learn how to over come nerves, everything else can be overcome. I found all this helpful information from a very helpful small, soft cover book written by Dr. Claire Weeks…..she wrote simple and effective method to overcoming nerves and her words are comforting and kind. Sorry this is lengthy but I am hoping some folks will find it helpful. Good luck dear Rafa & Best wishes always!!! : )

    • He’ll be back, he is heathy (more important than anything else) but his confidence is not so strong than usually has been. When he put his mind in order his game will be in order too

  17. Rafa needs just to get a little more confidence. To come back from injurie/surgery is not easy at all, he needs a little more time to be on track and I’m sure he will be soon

  18. Take your time Rafael getting yourself back. You really have already proven you are the best in the history of the game. Don’t be nervous… I know it must be hard when you’ve been so used to dominating every player you have faced… at least 90% of the time. Coming back from all the setbacks, injuries, etc.. is something even the greatest player on the planet would have to take time to accomplish.– and you are that player!! We love you..

  19. Sadly, I think Rafa is feeling the difference in playing as an almost 29 yo as compared to a 20 yo….things get more complicated and complex as we age…..I don’t know how he will work it all out….he may and then again, he may not…….aging in the world of sport is a very complicated thing. I love him, no matter what! I am filled with zillions of great memories from his tennis. I just wish him all the best!

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