An Interview with Rafael Nadal – Queen’s R1

Rafael Nadal of Spain leaves centre court after his defeat in his men's singles first round match against Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine during day two of the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club on June 16, 2015 in London, England. (June 15, 2015 - Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe

Q.  How much is that a blow for you in the general picture?
RAFAEL NADAL:  It’s a loss.  I think I didn’t play bad at all.  I fighted until the end.  Had a great comeback.
Games here on grass is like this.  Yeah.  I had break up in the third, and then he played some good points.  I missed a few balls.  Then especially with the 30‑40, 4‑All, one forehand, and that’s it.
Nothing to say, you know, against me.  I played against uncomfortable player in the first round here and I had my chance.  I didn’t play a bad match, but matches sometimes here decide in just a few things, and I was not lucky enough today.  I probably didn’t play enough aggressive when I had the break up in the 4‑3.

Q.  How different was the grass here to the grass you were playing on in Stuttgart?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Both courts have been great, no?  No, no, no.  Here is a little bit more slippery than there probably because it’s the first days and there is no‑‑ you know, there is a lot of grass there. 
I feel that for running was a little bit tougher than there for the movements.  But, no, in general, is a great court.  I felt comfortable on it, no?  Just big mistake in the first game with my serve of the match, and then played a little bit of pressure during the rest of the match.  I resisted well the pressure.  I played a great second set and I was playing a good third.
But at the end, no, he played well and he was a little bit better than me.  That’s all that I can say today.
Some days I can say I didn’t did that, but I cannot say I am very sad the way that I played.

Q.  Physically and mentally do you feel okay?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Mentally, yes.

Q.  And physically?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Physically I’m fine, yes.

Q.  Would you have preferred more matches before Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I prefer to win all the matches (laughter).  Not just before Wimbledon.  I prefer to win all the matches of the year.

Q.  Is your grass court preparation okay going into Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I know I played more than that before Wimbledon‑‑ no, no, the year I played more  with five matches, that was the year that I won here in 2008, and this year I already had five matches.
No, no, no.  That’s all.  Yeah.  Nothing very negative, winning a tournament last week.
This week I lost an opportunity, but, you know, my feeling, my thoughts are no different today than yesterday.  I am better, I am playing better than before, and enjoying more on court than before.
Today I lost.  I accept.  I keep going.  I gonna keep practicing hard.  I hope to be ready to play well in Wimbledon.

Q.  What’s it like when you’re under pressure in a match and you know the former king of Spain is sitting there watching you and Jose Mourinho and other people in crowd watching you?  Is that inspiration or what?
RAFAEL NADAL:  That doesn’t matter.  You know, I feel thanks for the ‑‑ well, the king of Spain has been here.  I have a great relationship with the king, Juan Carlos, and it’s just that he’s here.
And I have a very good relationship with Jose, too, when he was coach of Real Madrid.  So for me the same.
No, is good to have supporters on the crowd, but that’s not an inspiration, not an extra pressure.  I play my game.  I try to do my best in every single match of the year and not try to be better if there is somebody or not on the crowd.

Q.  You’re still in the doubles.  Who’s to say you won’t be here playing the doubles final on Sunday.  Is your intention to, as soon as you possibly can, to go back to Mallorca or stay in London and practice on the grass?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I’m going to come back to Mallorca.  I have been traveling a lot this year.  Since the beginning of the season I have been playing some more tournaments than usual, normal when you don’t win that match.
But at the same time I need my timings and I need my periods of rest.  After Roland Garros, I only came back home for two days and I was flying to Stuttgart to prepare the tournament.
So I gonna play the doubles now.  I hope to win.  It will be great if I can be here for a few more days and can practice a little bit more and then have period of three days at home and then come back.
That’s my idea.  I gonna try my best in the doubles.

Q.  When you slipped over and you got up, you were feeling your left knee.  Were you worried at that stage?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, that’s fine.  No, no, just a bad movement.  I’m fine.  Thank you.

Q.  Would Jose Mourinho be someone who would ever give you advice?  If so, what would he say?
RAFAEL NADAL:  He’s a football manager.  He’s one of the best of the world.  And I have my team.  I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.

Q.  Obviously it can transfer though.
RAFAEL NADAL:  We are talking about tennis now (smiling).

Q.  Playing on grass is unpredictable, always different, but when you’re playing somebody like Alex on grass and he’s such an awkward player, can you just comment on that, on how much more difficult it might be to play somebody like him on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL:  He’s difficult in every surface, and here his serve today was great, huge, a lot of good serves.  And especially the second serve was so difficult to read, too, because sometimes he played very, very, with bigger slice on second serve, and sometimes he played with topspin.  So it was not easy to return the second serve, no?
Because first serve always is tough to return, but second serve was tough for me.  I was not able to read much the return.
But, you know, I was fighting in every point.  I was with the right concentration, with the right motivation, don’t giving up when I had tough moments.
I not happy I lost a match that I had a chance to win, but that’s it.  That’s tennis on grass, you know.  Probably the best player of the history on our sport and best player on history on grass yesterday was close to losing in Halle, 5‑3 in the third of the tiebreak.  That is sport, especially on this surface and anything can happen.
Today was my turn.  You know, accept that, and the good thing is I am positive mentally.  I feel myself playing well.  I hope to have some more good days of practice here and some good rest at home, and I gonna come back strong with a good week of practice before Wimbledon and I hope to be 100% ready to play Wimbledon.  It’s good motivation for me today and I gonna try my best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. there are so many excellent players out there and so many matches are close Rafa lost to an excellent unorthodox player who on any given day can beat anyone

  2. Por supuesto Rafa!!! tan lógico todo lo que dices!!! Mucha suerte en Wimbledon!! tengo el presentimiento que vas a andar muy bien!!

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