Rafael Nadal: “This is not the moment to cry”

Photo: JAMES HENRY (@olerafa)
Photo: JAMES HENRY (@olerafa)

Q. I’m sure you’re very disappointed of this loss today. How do you assess the improvement of your game between last week and this week, however?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played well today. I didn’t play a bad match at all. I think Feli played great.
The match decides in ‑‑ playing against him when he’s playing like this, my feeling is I didn’t make nothing wrong, no?
I was there during the whole match with the right intensity, with the right attitude, doing the things that I have to do, trying to be more aggressive, trying to go to the net more often.
That’s what I did. But today I played against an opponent that he played a fantastic match, I think. He played the best match ever against me, without a doubt.
I congratulate him. That’s it. For me it’s a tough loss because I was playing better and my feeling on court was better than they were before.
For me was an opportunity to win today and to have no pressure match tomorrow to see how the things are going, but was not that case. I lost.
This year, you know, in a lot of key moments of the year I lost a couple of matches that I should not lose. This one is another one. Is a little bit different than others, for sure. Others I lost because of my fault, because I played bad, because I didn’t play with the right intensity.
Was not the case of today. So accept the lose and keep going. Is nothing more that I can say and nothing more that I can do than keep going and keep believing that with the work things are going better.
I think having less bad days than months ago, always an improvement. And for me the first improvement that I have to do is avoid the very bad matches, no, against players that I have ‑‑I should not lose. Then when that happens, then is the chance to go and let’s see how I am with the top guys, no?
But for me that’s the first goal, main goal, and my feeling is I’m doing better that. But today I lost a match that I should ‑‑I could win, not I should not. I could win, and was not that case. That’s it.

Q. Three matches in Montreal last week, two this week in Cincinnati. Doubles, as well. Do you feel like you have enough matches under your belt ahead of the US Open? 

RAFAEL NADAL: Is not a year that I feel that I am preparing for a big tournament, you know? Is not this time, is not this period of the ‑‑is not my feeling, no? My feeling is I go tournament by tournament. Every tournament is important for me and every match is important for me.
Today every match is a test. Every match is an opportunity to improve something.
I did the things that I had to do, I believe I have to do to change a few things that I need to be back to the right level.
I was trying to return more inside than before the first and second serve. I did yesterday; I did today; something that I gonna keep doing, gonna try to keep doing.
I believe I need to practice that and I need to improve on that if I want to have chances to be in the top positions for the next year and to compete against the best players, no?
I am working on these kind of things. Accept that some loses gonna come, maybe, but that’s part of my career, too. Is period of time that I don’t know if it’s enough or not enough for the US Open. I don’t think about winning the US Open today. I think about keep going and keep playing a little bit better.
I gonna try to be ready for the US Open. I gonna try to play a good US Open. Let’s see if I am able to do it. I think the way that I played this week is a good line, so let’s try to be ready for it and we will see if, when the US Open arrives, I am playing well and I have a chance to win matches.
But that’s it. Is not preparation for the US Open at all.

Q. You talked about trying to eliminate bad matches. How do you do that, because you don’t know when they are going to come? Going into the US Open now, how do you make sure you don’t have a bad day?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t make sure. (Smiling.)

Q. How do you prepare as best as possible doing that?
RAFAEL NADAL: As I did in all my career, eliminate bad matches. I mean, don’t play a match like I played against Fognini in Barcelona; don’t play a match like I played against Fognini in Brazil; don’t play a match like I played against Berdych in Australia; like against Brown in Wimbledon.
Try to eliminate as much as possible these kind of matches. That’s something that I did great during all my career, and that’s gives you possibility to compete against the higher level players with a little bit more confidence, no?
I am working hard. I don’t know if I am gonna eliminate that for the US Open or not. That’s it, no? The US Open is not everything. Is a very important tournament, very important tournament that means a lot to me. Is a tournament that I completed the Grand Slam and I won twice. I played many finals. I’m going to try to be there and have the right energy to play a good tournament.
But for me, the real thing today is I know where I am, I know who I am, and I know what’s my real level when I am playing well.
And in what I have to be focused in is recover that level. That level is back, I gonna think about winning tournaments.

Q. When did you first get the sense this year that this was going to be a difficult year for you? When did you first start to get the feeling that this year, 2015, might be a difficult year for you? Was it before the year even started? You had a lot of injuries and appendix end of last year.
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s obvious that when you have 2012, seven months, eight months out, 2014 seven months out, six months out, that can happen, no?
Look, I am No. 7 in the race, so is not that disaster. I am enough humble to not consider myself that good, consider to be No. 7 in the race a bad number.
I had to keep going and keep fighting for every match to try to finish the year in the top 8. That will be a good news for me if that happen.
And if a bad year that I lost a lot of matches that I should not lose I am able to finish the year in the top 8 will mean that I am good enough. Because playing bad I am in the top 8, or we will say that if I am able to improve a little bit I will have the chance to be higher, no?
So is not the question of ranking or the question of winning or losing. Is a question of recovering the level that I have to recover, I want to recover.
I gonna work hard for it, and this week have been not a negative week. The same last week. Different story a little bit, because last week in the match I lost I didn’t competed the way that I wanted.
Today, yes, I competed, but was not the day to win because I did the right things to be through, I think.

Q. Have you learned anything new about yourself or the sport as you had these difficulties this year? Hard times, you know, you learn about yourself and things don’t come easy. Just wondering if you had anything like that at all or you already understood that this could happen before?
RAFAEL NADAL: I always understood that that could happen. For me is, let’s say, I always know that, you know, I never consider myself a big, big star. So I know when I appreciate so much when all the good things are happening to me. I enjoy all that things.
I am having a tough year, yes. Not terrible year, bad year. But 14 Grand Slams, 27 Masters 1000, so many tournaments in my bedroom. I cannot make a drama about these kind of things, no, losing matches. That’s part of my career, too.
For sure, I am ready to accept all the things. In the other hand, I am the second player on the tour with more victories in my bedroom, no? So nothing to say. This is not the moment to cry and is not the moment to say how lucky I am that I am not winning matches today.
Okay, I am losing and is the thing that I have to accept now and I accept, and I gonna work to change that. But in the other hand I had an amazing career. I am having an amazing career. And I won much more than I ever dreamed.
So still a good chance for me to compete well in the next couple of years and seriously I think I gonna keep doing and I gonna be back again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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33 thoughts on “Rafael Nadal: “This is not the moment to cry”

  1. Marylynn

    FROM Marylynn; I think that Rafa knows what he’s doing wrong and I think he’s trying his best to overcome and make changes to his court positioning etc. I do hope that he can improve his serve to be more fluid in motion – sort of like Feli Lopez’s serving motion – Lopez serves great & I think if Rafa can serve in a similar way well he wil have it made. It’s sort of the way he served during the 2010 US Open when he won the championship. Yes his serve was very much like the Lopez serve. Anyway I see that Rafa keeps improving and I know he will do well at the US Open. My “money” is on him to Win it and I think that he will. Love you Rafa. Marylynn. Y

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    1. Agree w you Marylynn, Y …… Rafa will have a solid winning run in the Open & will definitely move forward……!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ci…ci….. your enthusiasm & kind words are so nice to read…….!!!!!!! Rafa’s serve is great & is improving all the time…..ci….ci….&…. big CI………… Especially when he takes the extra second to aim it , & look at the net before he releases the ball….. his serve has good variety & when he aims, his 1st & 2nd his serves are top top as he knows how to place it just right…..& he knows how to relax himself between serves……….
      Rafa, I also think that you have great success w Tie Breaks……and taking a second to take few extra deep breaths between serves, your tie breaks are awesome!!!!!!!!! : ) & win you many sets/matches!!! Moving forward, it will be great….and next time it will come handy…… VAMOS VAMOS….VAMOS….DEAR RAFA !!!!! : ) : ) : ) ……… you are respectful of ALL players & treat each match w equal integrity….. and have the ability to not be concerned w who is on the other side of the net…..and always have & deliver your own game …..regardless weather it is a friend, a comrade of many years, or an arrogant, ungracious player ….. makes no difference to your amazing focus ……..you keep doing your stead fast game….. We can tell that some players are much more fun to play against because they are more like you….gracious, professional & well mannered….but we know that nothing in life is 100% right ALL the time….. not all players are as fortunate as to have your balanced court mannerism………and hopefully recent player mis behaving & rude comments will be helpful in that everyone will learn a lesson from such mistakes…..
      BY the way, I noticed during the end of the match w F, he was rather vocally loud as soon as he released a ball….and it happened three or four times….I thought that was intrusive & potentially too loud especially once or twice DURING YOUR return in the tie break…..I was rather surprised the umpire let it go without saying something…. anyways that’s done with…..
      Looking forward , you do have such great ability to notice everything, react for a split second…AND MOVE ON to your next return……. that is your gift….. : ) knowing how to ignore all the nonessential court stuff …..miscalls, etc….. but when it is loud during your play that is a different story & a little bit hard to completely ignore…for sure it was distracting…. but congratulations , you did great overlooking it and going back to your next point!!!!!!! : ) : )
      Like your loyal fan Marylynn, Y here, and all fans …..we trust in your ACTIONS……..we trust in your many years of improvements……. your on going learning & doing things in such an adaptive great way…..and so with your crystal clear focus Rafa , each match is a new clear fresh path…. & a new inspired opportunity playing your own magical game !!!!!! VAMOS….. VAMOS…… VAMOS…..!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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  2. It is such joy to watch you Rafa practicing & playing your amazing game…… Incredible …. & totally captivating from the very first shot……..We are so looking froward to seeing you play again !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Tennis is such a bore without you on the schedule…..!!!!! There are few good players on the tour right now but no one is as enjoyable & fun to watch….. Take great care and have a good time…….very happy for you & your great team ……. VAMOS dear Rafa & have a nice few days off!!!!!!!!!!! Best wishes & God bless you!!!!!!!

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  3. Azhagiri

    First of all when you see nadal match history whenever he wins first set most probably he wins the matches but nowadays he is losing the matches after winning first set next thing when you see the rallies he is not able to play long rallies and he is losing those long rallies
    His Serve placement and first serve is
    very poor now he really needs new coach to motivate him and it is painful to see rafa losing matches and continously accepting those loses because you are one of the greatest tennis player and won 14 grand slams

    Like

  4. Rafa eres increible, para mi eres el mejor jugador que nos has dado muchas alegrias y satisfacciones, nos has hecho vivir hermosos momentos y Rafa hay para largo, come back y seguiras siendo el primero del mundo, los numeros no dicen nada es tu juego espectaculta, I love you Rafa, Vamos Rafa

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  5. I LOVE YOUR “HUMBLENESS” IN THAT YOU DO NOT FEEL YOU ARE A BIG STAR, BUT YOU ARE THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN MY TENNIS HEAVEN. KEEP SHINING RAFA W IN OR LOSE YOU ALWAYS TRY YOUR BEST.

    MYRA LADUE

    Like

    1. brightlight

      There is nothing wrong with criticising Rafa’s strokes, returns, forehands, backhands and basically anything to do with his game because you are a spectator and are entitled to the privilege of judging whichever tennis player you like behind your TV screen. Some points raised may even be valid. However, I do think there is something wrong when you are attacking said player as a person and being condescending, being mean to Rafa when he didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this barrage of criticism about his “stubbornness” or his “unwillingness to change”, much less deserve to have “fans” like you who don’t understand how hard it is to win a single match, much less an entire championship. Just let him be. If he really wants to win, he will find a way to win. Anyway, 14 defeats isn’t too bad, considering that this wasn’t as good a season as we expected from him, and I am sure he’ll work very hard to prepare for the US Open 🙂 Vamos Rafa!

      Like

  6. All the comments above, most I agree with, but one thing I do read and take in is Rafa’s own comments. I wish the media would get off his case each time he has a loss. he knows what he is doing, slowly improving and climbing back up with each win/loss. He will be back up amongst the top 4 before long and will keep his coaching team as it is.

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  7. luckystar

    I’d think Rafa is adjusting his game to play more aggressively on the quicker HCs (Cincy is quick; Beijing, Shanghai and Basel are quick HCs too). He’s standing closer to the baseline to return serves, and I hope he does that too when hitting his ground strokes, as he’s not hitting with depth and power these days so standing on or close to the baseline at least helps him to hit deeper.

    I do feel he has to up his level on his serves and returns, he’s not returning with varieties these days, and just hit as hard as possible when returning, not the best way to handle big serves like Lopez’s. He should block back or chip back some of those serves to let himself get into position for the next shot.

    He’s not thinking strategically out there, when hitting more to Lopez’s BH which was on fire the whole night. I think he’s still not calm out there, I feel he’s still a long way from getting back to his usual high level, I really don’t think Rafa has made much progress from Hamburg to Montreal and Cincy; he’s still making wrong shot selection out there and not executing his shots well (like the volleys which sat up nicely for Lopez to chase down and return with interest for example). It’s like he’s not timing his shots well and his footwork and movement look heavy and laborious.

    I don’t know what has happened to Rafa these past six or seven months, that he has deteriorated so much as a tennis player, from great to ordinary. My suspicion is that he’s not trusting his back even after the stem cell treatment, and isn’t pushing hard using his core strength when hitting his shots hence the soft short balls. It’s like he’s busy adjusting to the new way of playing and so is more hesitant or indecisive and so his footwork is also affected. It seems that he doesn’t know what is the next shot that he should hit, even when he could anticipate his opponent’s next move, and many times he isn’t choosing to hit the right or the best shots.

    I think he needs more time to get back to his usual high level so I’m not expecting much from him this HC season though I hope he does surprise us.

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    1. Each day is a new day….none of us is the same as we were yesterday….time to stop w all the irrelevant comments pointing out and wishing all this talk about “going back to his usual level” or “he is not back to the way he was” etc….. all that is absurd …we all move forward each day and we are where we are…. instead it is Rafa’s steadfast actions, hard work & forward stride to improve that needs to be pointed out…. that will be much more genuinely helpful !!!!

      Like

      1. Luckystar

        Hmm… I’m sure Rafa is not thinking like the way you think! He’s trying to get back to his best level and his winning ways, if not he may call it quit, that’s what he said before, that he’ll stop when he find that he couldn’t improve and win anymore!

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  8. Deep Thinker

    There is a time for every thing in life.
    Time to be born.
    Time to go to school
    Time to work/earn a living
    Time to wed,etc,etc

    As you can see, the common denominator in all of these is CHANGE.
    Nature abhors a vacuum hence the only permanent thing in life is CHANGE.
    Although we say that ”It’s better late than never, but when we measure performance relative to our competitors, then we will appreciate the impact of time on CHANGE.

    The time for Rafa to change his playing techiques and style is fast going….
    The time for Rafa to CHANGE his Coach is fast going……

    As it is, the time to make these changes may soon dissappear

    The END is always NEAR.

    Like

  9. Joan Dean

    Everything that Rafa says is so true and intelligent, I do wish that the Press would not be at him all the time He did play a good match as the scores indicate, he will be back again ,maybe not no1. but he will be BACK Vamos Rafa

    Like

  10. Dora Galeano

    es realmente hermoso ver la reflexiòn de RAFAEL NADAL y el anàlisis que hace de su situaciòn actual .totalmente de acuerdo,un balance muy bueno de su carrera y sin dudas que todavìa tiene mucho màs para mostrar ,paso a paso sin pausa pero sin prisa .vamossssss

    Like

  11. R. Miller

    I think #Rafel Nadal is right on target for returning. He played great. It just happened to be Lopez was playing incredible the last few games. I love his attitude of taking it one match at a time. Too much for anyone to think it should be tournament by tournament. When Roger was in a slump, I didn’t see the press/media harping on him. And for the commentators….shut up already. Why is it instead of focusing on how great he is improving and his stellar footwork, you continue to keep chatting about his “confidence’. Admire and commend him on working through such adversity and continuing to give to the game of tennis. Keep up the good work Rafa. You are getting there and your fans will continue to be your fans.

    Like

  12. Darice Palmier

    Every time Rafa loses someone, media mostly I guess makes such a big deal of it because he has been one of the greats already. But I did notice that his win-loss record for 2015 is something like 41-13 which is very similar to Berdych who lost to a lower ranked player in the WS Open as well. But he doesn’t get the scrutiny that Rafa does because he has never achieved what Rafa has. Sure, Rafa needs to win more to get farther into draw and have opportunity to play top ten players but let’s give him a chance to work back up to it. I love his attitude, that is most important. He knows it is a game after all and there is more to life than that.

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    1. Darice, I do agree with you that Rafa is always heavily scrutinized by the media whenever
      he loses because of how much he has achieved unlike Berdych or the others. The media
      always likes to stir the pot to sell papers.

      They do that with Tiger Woods and all the great champions no matter what the sport.

      It would be nice if the media let Rafa be under the radar for a change like a Berdych.
      but they have to sell papers. I’m never influenced by their articles or observations.
      I make my own observations. The media should embrace Rafa instead for all that he
      has done and will continue to do for the sport of tennis and all his grateful fans!

      Like

  13. elaine

    So glad to hear you say you will keep going! You are a winner Rafa and cannot imagine the tennis world without you. 2016 will be your year for sure. I used to want you to get a new coach however as Mark Petchey or Barry Cowan said (can’t remember which one!) that they feel that a new coqch would finish Rafa as his team have been so tight for so long and Rafa does not do change! With that in mind Rafa, you know what you are doing so Vamos Rafa!

    Like

  14. Arline Ostolaza

    We love you Rafa! Thank you for explaining your feelings as you go from one tournament to another! We will always root for our favorite tennis player–RAFAEL NADAL, No. 1 in the WORLD!

    Like

  15. Kathryn branch

    You win and you are not able to win. As you are fond of saying it is a game.
    That is what happens in sports. You have us all spoiled Rafa. Our fault not yours.
    You have trained us to expect the impossible so like children we wine. Sampras
    Said you will be back on top. Hang in and keep doing your best.

    Best always to you!!!

    Like

  16. canaDiana

    Your attitude is why you are a champion. If Federer can find a way to win again, you can do so as well. At your elite level, the trust is within yourself. You are absolutely right! There is nothing to cry about; how good was it to recapture that moment in Hamburg? So many athletes would give everything to have one of your victories! You may not consider yourself a big star, but who plays with more passion?

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  17. Gen

    It was so sad to see you lose, but after hearing your presser you have convinced me that everything would be okay. You’re working hard and I believe in you.
    You are so grounded with all your success, you are a true inspiration to me.
    I will always be a forever fan – RAFA.

    Like

  18. Amy F.

    As usual, Rafa comforts me as a fan with his thoughts and comments. It all makes so much sense. Better to read and understand the words directly from him than the drama and fictional plots that the media, sports pundits, and others put out there; the doomsday scenarios. Rafa wants to win for different reasons, to go higher and longer in the matches, to play the top-level guys, not necessarily for another trophy. He believes he can be top #4 again consistently so we need to believe it to. Even if it seems soooo slow or is baby steps when we’d like the drama wrapped up in 2 hours like a movie thriller.

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  19. niketa lobo (India)

    No problem sweetheart, it is Ok. Next time better luck,
    All the best for US open.

    Vamos Rafa.💖. You are the best.🌷. .

    Like

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