Q. After today’s defeat how are you feeling? How do you leave Madrid?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it’s been complicated today. Of course it’s not the day I was expecting. The match started badly. After that, I lost the rhythm of the game.
But it’s true that from 3‑0 to 6‑3 the match was very even. Perhaps in that stretch of the game maybe perhaps the only one I would really say that I think I was a little bit better than him.
I was able to win my serves, and afterwards when I was returning I had a 15‑40 and then there was another break point. I couldn’t go for it. But, you know, he won the first set 6‑3 with the first break.
Then we started the second set and I had the feeling that ‑‑ seeing how the game had gone from 6‑3 to the start of the second set, I think that was the moment to continue doing the same things because I think was on the right path.
But I had a really bad game the first game of the second set with my serve. I committed a couple of errors, a couple of volleys. I also threw a couple of balls into the net. Well, that game really harmed me. I tried until the very end. I think the attitude was there.
During every single moment I was fighting and trying to give the maximum. It’s one of those those days where things just don’t work out.
About the feeling, well, it’s been a positive week. I’m not going to lie. A week before I would’ve signed for these results, of course. I’ve played a couple good matches, especially yesterday’s match. I said that yesterday. It’s one of the best matches I have played in a long time.
So I cannot leave Madrid not happy. I have leave happy and just delete what happened today. I will just stay with the good things that happened this week ‑ and there are a lot of them, more good than bad ‑ and then I will try to recover in Rome the feelings.
I think I’ve made a step forward and I’m playing better. My game is better. I haven’t been able to play two weeks in a row, well, in the whole year. I think it’s time that I play two weeks in a row.
Let’s see what happens next week in Rome. Hopefully I’ll be focused and fight as much as I can to make a good week.
Q. When you were thinking before, what were you thinking about? Just about the positive things, right?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, yes. Because the tournament, as I said, it has gone from less to more. My level was better each day; today my level was bad, of course, but average level of errors.
I just wanted to do things right. Maybe I was a little bit nervous. When the match goes bad from the very beginning as it did today and you I don’t have that continuity because I haven’t played a lot of the matches well and I started a match like this without having played well, well, nothing happens really.
But when you come from an unstable game and the match started badly like it did today, obviously the mental stability or confidence, you just a lot it.
I think I lost it very early. The match started badly. It’s a pity that the start was is bad. But because it’s true that the feelings were good, I have been training well, I had played well, yesterday’s match for example.
My feeling of the way that I strike the ball was good. But today, for example, my backhand was not there. I think that my backhand was the heavy problem that I had, you know. Because I didn’t manage to compete in a good level today with my backhand.
It just let me down, and then everything didn’t work out because of that.
Q. Did you think you were going to come back on the any moment in the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: I had very few moments. In the first set, yes. If we are 4‑3, then who knows what can happen. That’s the way sport is.
But today he was better than me, so congrats for that. Of course this is a game that there are just two people playing. Whenever one plays well, the other plays a little bit worse.
The only thing that hasn’t been positive for me today is that I didn’t take him to the limit, you know. He was playing very easily, very comfortably. The result was very comfortable for him.
Also talking about the game, I think that my forehand was good when I managed to hit it, but when I tried to go for the backhand, I missed it. Well, then my forehand is not going to be effective. Then you just have a lot of doubts. If you want to go for a backhand or look more for your backhand, then you’re more slow and you don’t go for your forehand.
So as I said, the backhand was the worst thing today. It affected me too much. I was doing too badly and it was affecting my game in even single aspect.
Also in the key points, when you might just step in the match again, I was not there. Perhaps I was a little bit unlucky in the game ‑‑ I think 4‑3. Yeah, I had a break point. I played well and with a lot of decision.
My parallel forehand, that I did very well, but then he served very well. 215 kilometers I think. I just didn’t step in in that moment. Then 5‑3 I think I had again a break point against me. He started serving well again, doing winners.
What was really bad was in the second set. Every thing went really much worse. I just let the possibility fade away.
Q. We still have Rome ahead, but I wanted to ask you if you have pressure because of the expectations at Roland Garros? Do you still think there is a lot of time left?
RAFAEL NADAL: Two weeks. That’s the time that we have, two weeks. It’s been a positive week. I said before, we still have Rome.
I’m already thinking in Rome from this moment. I’ll try to go there tomorrow and train well, try to adapt to there, because it’s an important change. You change from playing with altitude to no altitude there.
I’ll try to have a good week in Rome. And by a good week, that does not mean only to win. That means to do things good through the different days. Doing things well every single day, that’s a good week.
It’s a very complicated tournament. We have the top players there. But I also know if I manage to play the level I did yesterday I can be competitive against every single player.
So this is the path I have to follow and that’s what I’m going to try. I’m going to die to try and continue in yesterday’s path.
Q. At the beginning of the tournament you said that you were going to leave the top 5. You’re leaving top 5. You step down to the 7th position. How does that affect you for Roland Garros?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, nothing changes from being No. 5 or No. 7. I don’t know. Next week I’m defending 600 points. If I don’t manage to win points, I don’t know where I can end up falling to. I don’t know.
I’m talking about not leaving the top 8. I don’t know what is the result I need to do in Rome to stay in the top 8, which in this case would really affect Roland Garros. Perhaps being in a really early round with really good players if you’re not in the top 8 on the Roland Garros.
So I don’t know. Whatever will happen will be. It’s also something that we have to realize, all of us, that what’s happening during these last years, it’s very complicated to be ten or eleven years without leaving the top 4.
It’s something very, very complicated, especially with a ranking that lasts only one year. And especially being injured as I have been. Whenever I have been playing I have been winning, and that’s the truth.
Today I have six months without adding a single point, without scoring one single point. So let’s not look at only the negative and be a little bit more positive.
I don’t know if this week I’m going to be No. 6, No. 7. This is what I look at. Not at the ATP ranking and following the year on the ATP. I’m following the year, and I know that today the general ranking is going to be very complicated during the next few weeks.
After that I’m going to try to add points and make it as far as possible. This week was very positive because I got 600 points. That’s a step further because that gives you stability.
That means that you’re not going to go below 15th, end hope the year in the top 15, which is not that bad. Of course we’ve always had more ambition, but we always go step by step doing things as good as we can, and at the end of the year we will see where I am.
Other players when they leave with injuries or problems, I don’t see even single player goes out there fighting for everything. Murray had a very regular year last year and this year he’s playing great. He left with an injury, and then took him a year to be back on the same track and feel what he’s feeling today. Things are not that simple, and for me, they have never been.
But that doesn’t take my joy or my attitude. The feelings that I have this week have been great. The attitude has been very good. That’s what I think about. My game has been also very good over a lot of days, except for today, which was not my day.
Let’s hope these days don’t repeat themselves very often.
Q. You said that you’re happy with this tournament. Years before when you lost the final you didn’t say that. Is it difficult for you to lower your expectations? Is it difficult to assume that you have other expectations now?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I’m just humble to know that when you’re not at you’re highest level, and I’ve always had it‑‑ whenever you lose a final, do you leave with dissatisfaction? No, no, I’m not satisfied. Today I have to see the whole picture. Not only a specific moment of today.
In general, it’s been a better week than what we thought was going to happen when we were training on Sunday or Monday. I didn’t have such good feelings then and now I do. I have to go with that and see if it happens the same in Rome.
Just have to confirm it that I have never considered myself so good to consider a final a loss ‑‑ a loss in a final a bad result or making it to the final a bad result, even though the goals are always maximum. All my life I have valid being in a final, and especially in a Masters 1000.
So no, no, I’m not so arrogant not to value making it to the final. In these kind of draws, we had all the top players. I value if I manage to end the year being No. 6, 8, 9, because I know there are a lot of players being up there fighting for the Top 4. I think I’m going to fight to be to the Top 4 at the end of year.
I have the joy to do that. If it’s not that way, I will face it. I will face that this year I wasn’t so good. Nothing happens. The world will continue. I will continue.
Here it finishes. This is sport. Sometimes things work out better and others they don’t, and it doesn’t matter. That’s all. That’s all the story. This is just a game. Let’s see what happens in the future. I will fight for better results.
Let’s see whatever happens in a couple of years when I finish my career.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. What do you think about being out of the top 5 for the first time in a decade and so close to the seeding before the French Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing special. For me, the most important thing are not the numbers today of the ranking. The most important thing is the feelings that I am having. This week I had much better positive feelings than few weeks ago, so that’s very important for me.
Since the season start I didn’t play two weeks in a row at this level. I have the chance now to do it again. The last three tournament I played semifinal in Monte‑Carlo, bad tournament in Barcelona, and now a final year. So there is a chance for me now the next week to try to have another good week in Rome like I had here.
Let’s try. That’s going to be important thing, if I am able to make that happen.
Q. How much was today’s result about Andy playing great and how much about you not playing your best?
RAFAEL NADAL: Always is a balance, but Andy is playing well. You cannot pretend win against a player like Andy playing the way I played today. That’s it. Simple.
Accept that today was not the right day for me, and congratulate Andy because he’s playing great, winning last week in Munich Nick and here now Masters 1000 I think the first time in his career on clay.
He’s having a great season playing well in the most important tournaments of the year. He’s ready to compete for everything after the tough year for him I think last year, after coming back from an injury. Happy for him. He’s a good guy.
I am going to try my best to be ready for Rome. I am thinking about it already. It’s important for tournament for me next week in Rome. Let’s try my best.
Q. Is it tough for you to understand how you can go from playing so well against Berdych yesterday to this difficult start of the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s easy to understand. You know, first of all, you need days in a row playing that level. Today you play against a rival that he’s able to push you. If you are doing something not good, he’s enough good to push you in that place, no?
I was playing very bad with my backhand so he was pushing me there to change the direction against my forehand. So I was not doing nothing with my backhand, no? I gave him all the time, the opportunity to change the direction when he was waiting me all the time.
If I am not able to push him back with my backhand, then I cannot hit the forehand because he’s always in advantage positions.
That’s it. The match started bad for me from the beginning. After that, I played well next six games after the 3‑0 for him in the first set. That period of time between 3‑0 and 6‑3 I think I played at the right level to compete against him.
I was not able to continue with that level in the second set. That’s why I didn’t have my chances in the second. But I am sure that I am closer than few days ago about the way that I want to play. I had positive feelings. Even if playing very bad today, my feelings on court were not that bad, you know. That’s the most important thing for me.
The backhand, I will fix. I will play better with my backhand. I don’t have doubt of that. I was able to play more relaxed this week again. Today starting that bad, I was playing a little bit more nervous again. But I fought and played with the right attitude today, and I accept it was not my day.
Forget that because is not the time to think about the negative things. Having another match in two days, I have to be ready for it, and I going to try to do it.
Q. You say you want to forget this match and focus on the positives. Is that easy to do in reality?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know if it’s easy to do, but I going to try to do it. It’s not the moment to be very sad or very frustrated for the match of today or to be negative.
It’s the moment to be positive, because one week ago the feeling was much worse than was the feeling of today. So that’s the real thing.
No time to be negative now. Is the time to be strong, positive, and to fight for what’s going on, what’s going on is Rome next week.
Q. Do you remember last year Roland Garros, the semi against Murray? He’s becoming a better playing on clay, but that was another story?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, yes, every year is a different story; Rome was a different story. I was losing 4‑2 in the third. Finally I won the match.
In Roland Garros I played a great match and I was able to beat him in straight sets. That was not the case today. He played much better than me. I was not able to play that level today. When I am not playing that level, it’s very difficult to compete against a player like Andy.
So that’s it. Accept it was not my day. I said before congratulations to him. He played better than me. I am going to try to be in better form for next time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports