China Open R1: An interview with Rafael Nadal

Photo: China Open
Photo: China Open

Q. Were you happy with how your forehand started to come good at the end of the second set and with how you closed out the match after being down 4‑2?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, you know, looks like the match was under control with 6‑4, 1‑0, but then situation changed. Yeah, I think I played little bit too much far away from the baseline.
But is true the last three games of the match I was playing better. I hit some good forehands down the line and that’s why I finished well the match and with the victory.

Q. Do you think it’s an issue of confidence or rhythm, just getting into the rhythm of playing again?
RAFAEL NADAL: We don’t need to talk more about confidence, rhythm. That’s my level today, and I going to work hard to try to improve my level of today.
But tomorrow is another opportunity. I played a match today that I can play better, and I think I can play better tomorrow because I’m practicing well. Q. How much did you know about your Chinese opponent in the match? He played way better than his ranking suggested. He told us before he used to serve as your ball boy and sparring partner. What do you think about his game?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know him. I know him because I practiced with him a couple of times in Shanghai, I don’t know, last year, two years ago.
I know him. He can play very easy. He’s a good player. He plays better than what his ranking says. But at the end of the day he’s an opponent that has a good potential, makes the things easy.
But is true that I give him the possibility to come inside. I have the control of the point sometimes, more than what I should. Just was a tough match and happy to be in the second round.

Q. Would you say that nowadays you have better sensations in practice than competing or is it the same?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am practicing better than what I am competing. The last couple months I am doing the things much better on the practices, so remain a little bit more to compete better.
But is something that is like this today. With the confidence of the practice, then probably going to arrive one day that I going to make a change.
But things are simple and easy. Practicing well, the level of tennis going to be there sooner or later. I am working a lot to make that happen. I think I’m closer to that.
I know is obvious that I need results to confirm that. But we are almost at the end of this season and have time to keep playing the last tournaments of the year with the chance to practice the things that I need to do for next year.
My goal is recover the level especially for play my best on clay next year.

Q. You are the best player in tennis history. Also your country has a lot of great tennis players, won plenty of Davis Cups, Grand Slam titles, the gold medal. Do you have any advice for Chinese men’s tennis development?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it’s obvious that you need good coaches, you need good centers, good academies. I think today China has an amazing potential to send players outside of China to the best academies of the world that will be a good experience for the young players, and at the same time has the right potential to create the right academies here in China to have all the facilities possible, all the needs possible for young kids.
At the same time is a question of tradition, a question of years. As I say before, no, this country has an amazing potential. I am sure in a short period of time the next generations will be there fighting for important things in our tour.

Q. Can I ask you about the pollution, what it’s like to play in it?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Coughing.) Wasn’t because of that (laughter).
No, nothing new for us. I played here a lot of times. Was very humid today. I see the pollution this year better than other years. That’s my feeling, seriously. Two days ago was a very beautiful day, blue sky. Is true that during the afternoon, seems like the pollution goes down a little bit more. But in the morning was not bad at all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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