THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.
Q. I would like to know how you feel, especially mentally? Are you confident?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry.
Q. Are you confident? How do you feel?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, confidence comes back when you win matches. If you don’t win the matches, you don’t have confidence. I train happily and try to do things right in order to win matches.
Once I win matches I will have my confidence back. I am training as much as I can with joy. I really want to do well. I want to play well. I want to train well. I want to give my best to try to have good rhythm in my game.
After that, I will try to do my best in the competition. I will try to give my best.
Q. You’re going to play here with your old racquet?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes.
Q. Can you explain why you’re not going to play with the prototype? Why are you changing that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I’m changing that because I believe that I’ve been playing a lot of years with this racquet. I’ve had very little time to play with the new one. I know that the other racquet is the right one, and I’ll play well with it in the future.
But I had just few days to prepare with that racquet just before Monte‑Carlo. Even though in Monte‑Carlo I played pretty well, I know that here we play in altitude and I have a little less control with the new one.
So I’m going to play with the old one, with this one, until the end of the season when I have enough time to train with the new prototype and time to adapt to it.
Q. From Wednesday to here, how do you feel? Are you on the right path in training well? Anything you want to mention?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Good days and bad day. But, well, each day I’m training quite a lot. I’ve also trained pretty hard these first days. I think that from today and tomorrow I will train perhaps a little bit less hours.
I hope that all the work that I’ve done these days‑‑ perhaps today I’m feeling a little bit more tired, but after all I’ve been training these days I hope that helps me for the days that are coming.
I’m going to put my rhythm down a little bit, but I’m feeling well and hitting strong and I just want to enjoy this work. That’s what I’m looking forward to.
Q. We saw some images yesterday from your treatment. You stopped because it seemed you have an injury on your leg.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, everything is fine. My ankle was hurting a little bit, but hopefully everything is fine.
Q. Next week you’re defending 1600 points. Do you have pressure because you know if you don’t do well you’ll fall out of the top five and you may not have a favorable position going into Roland Garros?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. At the end of the day, the homework is not done until today. In rankings, when you don’t do your homework previously‑ some because I’ve been injured and others because I haven’t been regular ‑ you cannot expect to be up there in the rankings.
You can expect to have more pressure when you defend your points. I should have defended those points a lot of weeks ago. That’s not the issue right now. I should have defended them before rather than now.
Obviously I’m going to leave the top 5. After that, let’s see where I fall. Let’s see where I fall for Roland Garros. I’m not worried about that. It’s part of the sport. Sometimes perhaps with longer injuries I managed to stay up in the rankings because I came back and I managed to win a lot of times. This time I haven’t been able to do that.
After injuries of six months, well, you know, it’s pretty hard because you are six months without having a single point. In the ranking of one year, it’s pretty complicated to stay up there.
Q. Here the people support you a lot. Is that going to be helpful?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I hope. Yeah, every single year the audience gives the maximum. I have to help myself, too. The audience is going to be there supporting me. They have always done and they always will.
I just want to say thank you to all of them. Of course for the audience to support you you also have to give your best, give it back. That’s my homework, and I have to do it because they’re always there and always supporting me when I need them.
They’ve never let me down, and this time is going to be the same as always.
Q. You are always talking about the final that you played in 2005 when we were playing indoors. That was a great final. You played to five sets. Would you like to play again to five sets to see great finals like that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that tennis is fine that way, but they want to see speed, so it’s complicated. When they ask for that time from one point to another, it’s very difficult to play to five sets.
They want to see shorter matches and they don’t want to think. They just want to see quick rallies. I don’t think that the people out there that take decisions, I don’t think they’re look forward to finals in five sets in tournaments like this.
They were nice a couple years ago, but I think that those times we’re always going to remember. The finals were pretty epic. They were better than these because these only go to three sets.
We have seen that we are on another path, so people here are just thinking something else, and we have to accept it and know things have changed now. We’re not going to play like before.
Q. How do you feel here that everyone is supporting you? Is it difficult to just keep your mind right?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, it’s nothing different. I’ve been a lot of years playing around the world. Nothing different. This year is the same as any other year. No problem at all.
I always like to feel loved. People really like me here. People support me. That’s why I look forward to coming here. That’s what I feel whenever I play nearly in every single place, but especially here of course.
Q. Do you think that Novak not being here is going to make it easier, and easier tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course when a player comes from playing everything and has won everything and doesn’t play the tournament, it’s obvious there is a gap. Right? There is a gap.
In previous years we didn’t have that gap, and now we have it. Especially if you see during this year what Djokovic has been doing, and he has been doing that for a lot of years. But, yeah, I don’t know. Let’s see what happens. In that case, not for me, but I think that for other players they’re going to have an opportunity.
I think the players that are playing well, the players that have faced Djokovic, they played a couple times in the quarters and semifinals, and now they have an opportunity to win a big tournament now that he’s not playing here.
That doesn’t mean that you cannot win big tournaments when he is playing, but it’s difficult to win all the tournaments of the year, of course.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
I agree with everything Taiwo Samuel has to say. Play your cards close to your chest Rafa my boy. Keep them guessing. Another point is your Spanish friends whom you practice with know your game too well. Have to find a way to overcome this? I pray you master the art of hitting more aces! Always remember you are King of Clay, have been No.1 n acquired a Masters Degree!! … Apart from a whole lot of other accomplishments! Vamoooos Rafa. Love your Aussie Nana. xx
Toni Nadal and the rest of Team Rafa, if they really like Rafa, should either stop him from giving pressers or advise him not to talk too much during pressers.
Rafa talks too much, and in the process, lets out a lot of his playing secrets / strategies. This is not good at all, and is working against him especially now that he is so vulnerable. Everybody will want to play the game of their life against him!
If I were a tennis player, all I have to do to win against Rafa, is to listen to his press interviews to know his strengths and weaknesses. Rafa should know that information is power and nobody wants to empower an enemy.
As a champion, even when you’re weak, there is nothing bad in saying ”Oh, I’m so strong and ready to go.” That way, other players will inwardly be afraid and will not even fancy their chances against you. Rafa needs to know that, as a champion, a lot of the magic actually comes from what is called ”the champion’s aura.”
It is the champion’s aura that makes opponents pee in their pants when they are lined up to play against a champion. Opponents believe the match has been lost already, even before playing – This is the effect of the Champion’s aura.
But when a champion’s secrets (in the form of weaknesses and strengths) are revealed, the aura gradually fades away and the champion becomes vulnerable, ordinary.
Dear Rafa i hope you can be back soon! Tennis needs you!💚💛💙
Yes Rafa you are still the best and you will find your way to the top again vamos
Keep positive thoughts Rafa,,,You’l come good ,and your confidence will be there with a big win again ,we ,,,,your fans ,,,have great faith in you ,,,,