US Open R2: An Interview With Rafael Nadal (September 2, 2015)


Q. How much kidding have your fellow players given you about the Tommy Hilfiger brand you’re endorsing?

RAFAEL NADAL: I haven’t talk much. Somebody told me few things, but that’s it.

Q. It’s gotten some attention.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. You like it? (Smiling.)

Q. How would you describe your level of play and whether you’re satisfied so far?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think I serve well today. My serve was working well. I think I had the match under control at the beginning playing well. Then I played a bad game with the 5-3. Then the match became a little bit more crazy, no, some ups and downs. Today I felt that I was practicing great before the match, and yesterday, too. I felt that during the match I didn’t arrive to that high level that I was practicing before.

But it’s true that he played really well. Even if he had break up in the second and in the third, I think, too, I had a lot of Love-30s, 15-30s, a lot of opportunities during the whole match to have I think a more comfortable victory.

So remain a little bit more to convert more opportunities.

Q. With these ups and downs during the match, do you find a specific reason why you can go through some ups and downs like this during a match?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn’t have an up and down today. The other day, yes. Today I didn’t have an up and down. I just played a bad game with the 5-3 in the first set and then I didn’t play great, but I didn’t play bad. I played a normal match.

But was not an up and down like the other day. I was a single level the whole time. For moments better, for moments little bit worse, but that’s not up and downs crazy like I had sometimes this year, no? Not a bad place to be.

Q. He felt like you were trying to be a little more aggressive today than he’s seen before. Is that something you’re consciously trying to do now?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, no, he was trying to play very aggressive. When you play against a player that they are able to take all the risks with not much pressure, so then is a little bit more difficult to have the control of the point. Because if the opponent decides to hit every ball then is tougher, no?

But tennis is tougher if they playing well. Today he played well, I think, so that’s it. Accept that. I fighted well. I fighted until the end.

I came back, even if I had lot of opportunities is the real thing is I was break down in both sets and I came back well to win both sets. That is an important improve for me, and I’m happy for that.

Q. You said you came back in the tiebreaker, too, the next two sets. How much does that boost your confidence?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, this season I lost lot of matches having amazing opportunities. I don’t want to say every one now, but if you follow the sport – I believe you do – you know that I lost lot of matches this year that I shouldn’t because I had lot of opportunities, no?

I was not that close to lose the match today, no? I was break down in some sets, but is important to come back and feel that mentally I am enough strong to play well when I had to play well.

Q. Now you have Fognini. The history of matches between you and him says that many times you have problems with him. You lost. Even on cement in Beijing you had problems. What don’t you like in his game? What does he do very well that creates problems for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, he beat me twice this year. Before he didn’t beat me. He played great in Beijing. Finally I won the match. He’s a big, talented player. He’s a tough opponent for everybody when he’s playing well.

So for everybody is a tough opponent, not only for me.

Q. You’ve been very honest about some of your struggles on the court this year. Obviously people have asked, Why don’t you bring in a new coach, extra coaching help? Lots of other top players have part-time coaches. Can you explain again why you don’t want to bring in any kind of extra help to your team? What is the thinking?

RAFAEL NADAL: I talked enough about that, no? I always believed that when I am playing bad, when I am not winning, you don’t have to find excuses outside or reasons outside. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, That’s my fault. That’s the real thing. It’s not the fault of other people.

I had an amazing career with this team. I believe in my team. We are working a lot to find the right way. I think we are in the good way.

I don’t know what’s going on in the future, but the real thing is if I have to change something is myself, not the people around me. If I am able to change myself, to play again with confidence, to play again with less nerves that I played for a lot of moments this year, I am able to touch the ball the way that I am touching the ball this week of practice before the US Open, I will be again where I want to be.

So is not a question of coach. Is not a question of physiotherapist or physical trainer. Is a question of myself. I am really decided to work hard to find my way.

Q. The nerves, the uncertainty, do you now understand what the problem was? Are you still in the process of trying to understand?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I understand. I understand all the time what happened, no? When you are hitting a forehand and you don’t have the tempo to hit the forehand. If you want to hit the forehand here and you hit the forehand here, or you want to hit the forehand here and you hit here, it’s because you don’t have the mentally relax. You are not enough relax in your mind to do what you used to do.

So if I have nerves, is not the problem of my coach. If I have nerves, is the problem of myself. If I am playing bad, is the same.

During the season I feel that that nerves goes down, so I think I am at the end of all these processes that I had. With the work, with the talks with my team, with the determination to improve something, I think I am at the end of that process.

If is not 100% result, is close to be forget that nerves. Still there, but much less than few months ago. And now remain to keep competing, play well, and be passionate. I believe things are going to arrive well.

Q. When you were in your prime winning championships, they loved that Rafa, that strength that you gave. Do you understand why they’re confused or worried about you?


Q. Do you understand why your fans are worried about you and pushing for you to come back?

RAFAEL NADAL: I am No. 8 in the world. I am not No. 100.

Q. I’m saying, they remember.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Seems like I am No. 200 in every press conference. I am not so bad. After I arrive here with the victory, I come back to the locker room saying how bad I am. Every day.

No, no, the fans, is normal that they are worried because I am worried, too. If I am not playing well, I am the first one who am worried.

You know, seems like I come here, and seems like if I am saying the true, if I am being honest, is bad. So then if I am being honest with you guys and I explain what happened to me, I explain if I playing with nerves or with anxious like I did in Miami and I say after in the press conference, then I don’t know what you want of me.

And not telling about you. But in general, the people say, Why you say that? Why you are that honest? You give confidence to the opponent.

I believe what happens outside the court, what we are talking about here don’t gonna affect zero percent in the next result.

The thing is you play well you have chances to won; you play bad, you gonna lose the sport is simple.

Q. I apologize. What I meant to say was I was out in the crowd. The crowd was pulling for you. I could feel that they want you to come back.

RAFAEL NADAL: I feel that love. I feel that energy. I always felt that energy when I’m playing in New York and a lot of places around the world, no?

I think I was always nice with the crowd around the world trying to do as much autographs, as much photos with them. I think on the tennis court normally I have been doing the right things during my career, not breaking the racquet no one time in my career, not saying stupid thing on court, celebrating the point, saying bad things when I am not playing well.

So the fans are happy with me. For me is the biggest satisfaction possible to feel the support of the crowd and the people, because that means a lot to me.

Q. What is it like, do you think, for you and for Roger, that with all you’ve accomplished – and you’re still playing at such a high level – that the questions seem to be about what you’re not doing as in, You haven’t won a major in whatever length of time it is?

RAFAEL NADAL: That’s part of the career. But, you know, don’t forget that for everybody is a start and for everybody is an end. We still here, but tomorrow we not going to be here.

Sampras was here. He’s not here anymore. Connors, McEnroe, everybody pass. The sport continues. We need to promote well our sport, promote well the new generations, too, to keep coming our sport in a very high position of the world of sports.

Q. When you’re playing on Armstrong, especially in the first set today in the sun, is it more draining with the heat and sun on that court?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. Was okay, no? Is obvious that I prefer to play in the Arthur Ashe that I am little bit more used. The real thing is that the crowd in Armstrong was great this afternoon.

Was great feeling to feel the crowd that close to me. I enjoy that fact. Was a victory, so is a good memory.

Q. Stan said he was asked in Cincinnati if he were to give a mid-match interview on court. I wonder if someone asked you to and if you would accept to do it.

RAFAEL NADAL: Is not my feeling. I don’t know, but my feeling is not the thing of one player is doing another thing another playing is not doing. I never heard about that before two days ago.

So the normal thing when one improvement or one new thing like this can happen, the good thing, in my opinion, is if we have a meeting together, the players, we accept, we don’t accept. That’s how normally we work in our organization, no?

Is about the most of the player, if they are open to do it or they are not open to do it. For me, I going to do it what the most of the players want.

Source: US Open


  1. I really did not like the sport reporter on second round of Nadal game at 2015 U.S. Open. It was obvious that he was mean to Nadal. Keep saying he in not playing good or he is tired. You can tell he was the opponent’s side.

    • yes….agree w you totally…….and btw, last night, after few minutes, I changed the channel I was watching so that I would be spared the subjective poor MISINFORMED coverage by this guy Jim A. ….he was lacking in Tennis background and knowledge of Nadal’s play yet kept coming up w empty useless statements…. thankfully, Rich the guy w him was more to the point….still, for the brief time I was viewing that coverage, it was no fun, misinformed & terribly bias. ATP may see fit to be a bit more careful in choosing their match reporters…..

  2. Every match seems like RAFA has to prove himself to the media including some silly commentators. This man is a proven champion. Many players and commies CANNOT even boast the same accomplishments.
    I admit his matches make me nervous, because I so want him to win everything which is unrealistic.
    Once again, after RAFA puts everything in perspective I’m going to watch every match calmly, just to enjoy him because he would not be here forever.
    This guy really sets me straight and when he does retire all the commie and haters and rude presser interviewers would MISS a lot.

    Forever fan.

  3. Rafa you bring energy, athleticism, charisma, and variation to the tennis court. Novak and Roger Federer are soooo boring. I can’t imagine the tennis tournaments without our Rafa. You are
    improving match by match. Ignore the press they constantly look for news and and enjoy
    criticising very special players like you but so far they have failed to draw any bad reaction from you.
    As always a gentleman, a credit to tennis, a perfect role model. God Bless
    you and try your best no matter the result against Foginini, you will always be my favourite love Heather Baker. VAMOS!!!

    • Good luck Rafa against the Fog, I too think the media give you a hard time with their relentless questions and probing about your game/coach etc. you gibe the correct answers all the time though., they don’t consider all the injuries and appendix operation of last year. But when Murray is interviewed, they mention his back operation all of the time especially when he loses a match. Keep on doing what you are doing and also keep Toni!!!!

  4. VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) God bless you …….YOU are THE GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are gifted w powerful talent & skill as well as with bright common sense & intelligence that sets YOUR TENNIS & CHARACTER apart from ALL other players!!!!!! With much respect & civility, you stride forward over the years with SUBSTANCE & CORE TENNIS SUCCESS!!!!!! VAMOS CHAMPION!!!!!!!!!!!!! As a fan, along w millions other Tennis fans across the globe, I deeply cherish the exceptional player you are…..and highly admire your sportsmanship & the wise way you conduct ALL interviews ….. KUDOS!!!!!! It is incredibly refreshing to have an open, down to earth polite & magnificent sportsman as you in such high level world wide sport…… Tennis Fans are SO VERY PROUD OF YOU On & Off the court…. and the most precious honorable aspect of your character is that YOUR ACTIONS & FOCUS on improvement is finding space and priority in your hard work & motivation moving forward!!!!!! You keep to the essentials!!!!! I LOVE watching your matches, and watching you play your beautiful, solid, powerful Tennis…..and it is always a treat to read or watch your Pre & Post match interviews!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Congratulations and vamos dear Rafa on all your wonderful wins , and you have everyone’s respect, blessings & warmest best wishes moving forward!!!!! Your serve has improves SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! Your agile movement , reach, & net coverage is unbelievable & so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your natural, God given endurance is TOP TOP TOP w your passion & determination to win…….ENJOY EVERYTHING !!!!!!!!!

  5. Me parece que falta assunto, a imprensa fica repetindo as mesmas perguntas, Rafa já respondeu varias vezes, fica cansativo ver uma coletiva de imprensa com os mesmos questionamentos. Rafa trabalha duro e aos poucos vai ver os frutos do seu trabalho.

  6. Rafa u r the best
    Good luck with
    Fogniia Repeat how u played your first
    Round u WERE AWSOME

  7. Periodistas y comentaristas, deben respetar y respetarse cuando hacen sus comentarios.
    Deben salir del cajón de las mismas preguntas y saber agradecer la presencia del deportista.
    Un buen periodista no juzga, se limita a preguntas concretas y no subjetivas.
    Creo sin duda alguna que Rafa ha sido siempre un caballero y debe ser tratado como tal.
    El regresar cada rato al pasado y las comparaciones es perder el tiempo.
    Rafa lucha, es un guerrero honesto.
    Lo chocante es que al verlo ” viento en popa” , camboan inmediatamente. Eufóricos lo registran como lo mejor de la vida.
    No hagan de su trabajo algo desagradable, al contrario: apoyar y animar a esos jugadores es cosa de grandes.
    De seguir empujando y reciclando temas de antaño, lograrán que tanto Rafa como otros se aburran de brindar la oportunidad de esas entrevistas.
    A Rafa mi respeto y admiración desde cancún.
    Bendiciones . Intuyo esa copa en tus manos.

    • Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con Astrid. La paciencia y la educación que tiene Rafa con los periodistas es increíble! Cada vez el nivel de los periodistas es mas bajo y las preguntas mas ridículas. Eso de querer hacer una entrevista en el medio del partido es un disparate. Son momentos de concentración que no tienen que estar distrayendose. La contestación de Rafa fue impecable, como siempre. Suerte Rafa mañana con Fognini!

  8. It wasnt a bad game for rafa though the opponent i think caused him problems and took the game to him, he still has to improve in the crucial moments of the game otherwise we miss u mob, we need another slam final from u boss!

  9. No one remembers what was written yesterday when a match is being played.
    The reporters need to fill a blank page; some of these questions are bloody
    condescending. Rafael Nadal is too much of a gentleman to get up and leave-show some respect to a player of his stature!

    The only person he needs to answer to is himself. That is the beauty and the torture of tennis.

  10. “So if I have nerves, is not the problem of my coach. If I have nerves, is the problem of myself. If I am playing bad, is the same.” ~ Rafa

    Okay Rafa. Keep waiting for that magical day when you have no nerves. It’s never gonna come. Never. Never. Never. And if by some miracle that day does come, it will be one-and-done, then back to the drawing board. You can take that to the bank.

    It’s not about nerves Rafa. EVERY player gets nervous during matches. It’s how they DEAL with their nerves that makes the difference.

    You can use your nervous energy to your advantage – as you did pre-2014 – by playing MORE aggressively in those moments. Or you can use it to your disadvantage – as you have since then – by playing timidly in those moments.

    It’s your choice Rafa. And that of your coach. You can say that your coach has nothing to do with it all you want. If you really believe that, then why bother having a coach at all?!?


    • Completely agree with you. Rafa is stubborn for no reason. He needs a fresh person with him, someone who supports him and brings an outside vision. It’s sad that Rafa doesn’t see that. Or maybe he does, but he refuses to change…to his disadvantage. It’s hard to see him struggle so much against the no. 100s of the tennis world. I love Rafa and want him to succeed, like you!

    • right on point. He doesn’t realize that by keep losing he would never will be calm. The problem with Rafa is he doesn’t see where his problems are. They are mental and tactical. just working hard is not the solution. he needs to renovate hs game plan. I’ve been Rafa’s fan for the last 11 years and will be his fan but for now vamos Andy Murray. Let’s hope you win the US open. So Djoker and Roger don”t add another GS to their trophies.

  11. Give Rafa a break. He is a really great tennis player. He is coming back strong after his wrist injury. Rafa is a fighter and I have no doubt he will prevail. I think the media is way too hard on him. He won the French Open 9 times. Djokovich has NEVER won it and hasn’t won the US Open since 2011. I LOVE RAFA and I think he is Awesome!! Nadal Forever!!!!

    • Great stuff Carol. Rafa should indeed take your advice and watch some video clips of his best matches in years gone by. Larry Stefanki – one of the top coaches on the ATP tour – recently offered similar advice to our favorite player. So you’re in good company in that regard. But unfortunately, I haven’t seen or heard any indication that he’s listening to any of these suggestions. Uncle Toni has all the answers. NOT.

Leave a Reply