VIDEO: An interview with Rafael Nadal – Queen’s 2015

Rafael Nadal is happy to be back at The Queen’s Club, a venue he describes as breathing tennis.

Q.  After Stuttgart, do you feel like you’re playing better on grass than you have for some time, maybe some years?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I think I always played well on grass, but a few times that I couldn’t play, you know, I had some problems with my knees and everybody knows that grass is a surface that I really like a lot.
Last year I was better with my knees.  I think I played a positive Wimbledon after two tough years for me.  Yeah, my knees are fine.  It’s obvious that if my knees are fine, I have chances to compete well, and grass is a surface, probably the second surface where I had more success in my career, no?
So I feel comfortable but I have to play well.  That’s all.  Today I don’t have physical limitation like I had in 2012 and 2013, so that’s important.

Q.  Most of the top players are only playing one tournament before Wimbledon:  Murray, Federer.  Djokovic might not play any.  You’re playing in two.  What is your thinking behind that?

RAFAEL NADAL:  It’s easy.  I didn’t play enough good before.  You know, first three months and a half of the season have been terrible for me, very bad, playing very bad almost every week.
Since one month and a half, I feel that I am playing better.  Most important thing is that I am enjoying on court again.  Even if I lose some matches or play worse some matches, it’s not that feeling that I had the first probably three months and a half of the season that I was not enjoying on court because I was not playing ‑‑I didn’t have the chance to play the way that I wanted to play, playing with too much nerves.
So, you know, after losing in Roland Garros I came back home, stay two days home, one day spent the whole day on the sea and then the next day playing golf, and I feel that mentally and physically well to play.
So I was in Stuttgart in the draw already, and I thought the right thing for me to do is go and keep playing tennis, because that’s what my body was asking to me.

Q.  I was just wondering, obviously you wouldn’t have been happy losing quarterfinals in the French Open, but given the expectation levels on you when you play on clay, I was just wondering if there was any sense of pressure release now that that part of the season is over.
RAFAEL NADAL:  You know, gonna be easy if I say yes, but the real thing is not.  No, is not a question of pressure.  I am not new on this world.  You know, I am 29.  I spent a lot of years on the tour.
The real pressure is not the outside pressure, no?  What you say or what the people say, no?  The real pressure is what I feel or what I want to do.
The real thing is I didn’t play enough well before Roland Garros, no?  I played better on clay, but not enough good matches to arrive to that match in quarterfinals with the right confidence or with the right rhythm, mental rhythm or physical rhythm, to be playing at very high level for three hours.  That’s what I needed to do to have chances against Novak, do what I did for 40 minutes in the first set and part of the second, but playing like this just for one hour and a half, I cannot win against Novak, no?
Now second part of the season start for me last week, and I have the motivation to play well.  I feel myself ready to play well, and I gonna try.  My first goal is to be in the World Tour Finals, and I gonna fight for it and we gonna see.

Q.  Where did see you or did you see the French Open final?  What is your reaction to Stan Wawrinka winning?
RAFAEL NADAL:  You know, I don’t want to sound arrogant on that, but I did not see the match.  I did not see the match because I lost.  Is not the case.  I didn’t see the match because I was practicing in Stuttgart.  Everybody who was in Stuttgart knows that I was practicing.  I was following the live score because my physio was telling me the live score.
I only had a chance to watch a few games of the second set.  And obviously is a surprise that Novak didn’t win the title the way that he arrived to that tournament, only losing two matches on the season and first one was against Karlovic first week of the year.
But that’s tennis, no?  Stan is a great player, very aggressive player, big serve, big shots.
I didn’t have the right opinion to say something about the final because I didn’t see enough, but if Stan plays well, he’s a player that can beat against everybody.
So congrats to Stan.  Happy for him.  Probably Novak deserve to win French Open.  Will be great if that happens, because in the same era, three players will be winning the all four Grand Slams.  That didn’t happen very often in the history of our sport.  So it will be great news.

Q.  The tax issue on worldwide earnings is still an issue for foreign players coming to Britain.  Tax on their worldwide earnings when they play here is still an issue.  Are you making a potential financial sacrifice to come here this week to prepare better for Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I think changed a little bit the last ‑‑ still not the ideal situation for us, but is better than a few years ago.  I had to stop playing here for a while.
But I like playing here.  You know, I think is the best thing possible to try to play well and for my game.  Is obvious that I have to say thanks to Halle for they give me during that years, but is obvious that in Halle I didn’t play well, no?  Stuttgart, of course, were good.  Here the courts are good.
So both courts are similar to what we gonna find next week in Wimbledon, so I am happy to play in these courts.  Here is the right place to be for me today, and that’s my decision.

Q.  Because you’ve always played well at Wimbledon after playing here, haven’t you?  The five years you’ve played, you’ve done well?
RAFAEL NADAL:  That’s past.  What’s happen today, I don’t know what’s gonna happen today.  But the real thing is I am here and I have the motivation to be here.  We talk about Wimbledon when we arrive to Wimbledon.
Now we are in Queen’s.  That’s an important tournament and the tournament deserve to speak about this tournament.

Q.  I think you’re scheduled to play doubles here this week.  You pulled out of the doubles in Stuttgart with fatigue.  How hard is it to get the right balance between playing enough to get ready for Wimbledon but not overplaying?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  In Stuttgart was, you know, few situations in a row it happened that finally had to take the decision to not keep going with the doubles.  First situation was Feliciano lost in the first round that is, on grass, something not usual on him.
Second thing, I spent two hours 40 on court the first day, and two hours almost 30 the second day.  That’s something that is not usual, too, on grass.
So then I was tired.  For him the best thing was come here and prepare the tournament Queen’s, so we decided to stop.  At the same time the day that we had to play that was Friday, if I am not wrong.  Friday, I think.  Yeah, it was Friday.  Was raining after my match against Tomic, no?
All the facts make us to take this decision, and it’s obvious I was a little bit tired after both matches.

Q.  How long did it take you to get over what happened in Roland Garros?  You’ve only lost there twice now.  Is it tougher when you lose there compared to anywhere else or is it just a loss?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Every year is different.  2009 was painful because I felt myself ‑‑ you know, I had my problem on the knees.  I had to stop then after that for a while and was tough.
But this year‑‑ always is not easy.  I was not happy to lose in quarterfinals, but at the same time, I feel myself that when ‑‑you know, 2009 I did the right things before Roland Garros and I lost.  This year I didn’t make the right things before Roland Garros so was not surprised that I lost.
Accept that.  Accept that there is another player who was playing better than me in that moment.  And for me, life continues and career continues.
Mentally I feel strong.  I have the motivation to be back to my best.  After what happened in Roland Garros, have the chance to win the title the week after.  Is very good news for me, no?
And for my mentality is good and for my confidence, too, no?  Now I have a week here in Queen’s, and that winning last week, you know, I did a very good work on grass.  So I’m going to try my best here, but we’ll see the result.  I gonna try, but then I have one more week to keep practicing.

Q.  You said you’re happier now than the start of the year.  How close do you feel you are being able to contend for Grand Slam titles again this year?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t know, and I don’t care much now, no?  Seriously, as I said before, my goal is qualify for the World Tour Finals at the end of the season now.
My main goal is finish the season healthy.  Finish the season healthy.  Try to have the chance to play the full season.  I am confident that I can play, I gonna have a much better second half of the season than what I did in the first six months.
I have the motivation to do it, and I feel my mentality and my body ready for it.  And then if I’m able to play the full season, I hope to finish in good position of the ranking and then have the chance to start 2016 stronger, no?
Is much easy start another year stronger when you didn’t have to stop than when you come back after six months not playing tennis, more or less.  That’s what happened this year.
That’s my main goal.  Winning Grand Slams or not, I won enough into my career.  14 are enough.  I am sure that I gonna keep trying my best.  And if I am healthy and I can play months in a row‑‑ you know, today having only six months, in my computer I am the No. 10 in the world, and I only played six months, and half of that six months, more than half of that six months were very bad, no?
Even if that’s bad news, that was very bad, you know, if I am able to beat No. 10 in the world playing that bad, you know, if I am able to play a little bit better I will be higher, for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP SportsVideo: ATP World Tour


  1. Ola dear Rafa & vamos!!!! Enjoy England & each match!!! Have a great time & I love watching your evolving, spectacular serve & awesome court movement!!! : ) I think Grass is great for your beautiful game & VAMOS dear Rafa!!!!! Enjoy everything & have lots of fun playing tomorrow. God bless you !!!!

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