China Open Final: An interview with Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal of Spain holds up his trophy after his men's singles final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the China Open tennis tournament at the National Tennis Stadium in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015. Djokovic defeated Nadal 6-2, 6-2. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
AP Photo/Andy Wong

Q. I know it’s very soon after the match, but how is your right foot? Do you think you’ll be okay for Shanghai?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have to wait until tomorrow. I felt something, but hopefully it’s fine. I don’t know. I have to wait till tomorrow. My schedule is go to Shanghai tomorrow and practice tomorrow afternoon. For the moment, still the same.

Q. You hurt your foot in the second set. To what extent did it affect your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: It was a very good first set, in my opinion. The result in the first set, 6‑2, I think is too much. I think for the moment I had a lot of chances. Love‑30, 15‑40, 40‑Love, and I lost all those games. That’s the real game. Then 6‑2. Should be much closer, that first set.
In the second set, well, happened little bit what happened with the foot. I lost little bit the concentration. But at the end I finished playing well again.
Very happy the way that I played the week, especially because I was able to improve every single match during the week, and especially in quarterfinals after that first set against Sock, I changed that dynamic. I played closer to the baseline. Yesterday I played a good match. Today I played a good match.
Obviously the dynamic of him is different than my one. Especially in a very positive place for him, place where he won already six times, five times before that final. It’s obvious that is perfect place for him.
I was competing very well in the first set. So seriously I am happy the way I played. I am happy the way that I am improving. As I said, when I arrived here, every match is important for me. All improvements are important, even if are the small ones. I felt during this week I improved a lot of things. I take a lot of positive things from the week. That’s very important for me, no?
What I say before: my main goal is try to be 100% ready for the beginning of next season. A week like this one helps a lot. Q. In the first set you played very aggressive from both sides, always on your baseline. That’s the kind of game you think you absolutely have to do from now till the end?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s the thing that I am working hard to try to recover the level that I want to recover. And for moments in that first set, I was very close to that level, thinking that I am playing against a player who is playing unbelievable and with huge confidence.
In terms of game, I was not very far in that first set. Seriously I had a lot of chances. As I say before, it’s obvious the dynamics are different. The small things, when somebody is coming and winning everything, the other is coming losing more than usually, it’s normal that all these important points goes the other way, no?
So that’s what happened. Congratulate him. Obviously today he is better than me, and that’s it. I hope to fight next year, seriously. I hope to fight again with the top players because I have motivation to do it and I am working very hard and well.
Hopefully I still healthy to keep practicing the way and the time, enough time, that I am practicing today. If that happen, I am really confident. I believe that I can do it again.

Q. Novak is playing at such a high level now. Do you see yourself catching him next season or do you see anyone catching him next season?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Is difficult to think about that. Is obvious that today he is the best, and that’s it. What going in the future, nobody knows.
I going to fight. I going to do my way. When I am working, when I was No. 2 and Roger was No.1, was not my obsession to catch Roger. My obsession was to improve my game and do my way. For me is the same thing today.
My motivation is keep going, do my way, and I have been that already. I know if I am playing well again, then I can fight. If I can fight, I can compete well times in a row against the best players, then normally I was a good competitor. So I think I going to be good competitor again if I recover my level.

Q. Looking at the match today, is there anything specific you learned from the match today to get back to his level, to match him again?
RAFAEL NADAL: I take a lot of positive things from the match of today, that’s it. Is nothing that I have to learn of Novak. Different styles of game. As I said before, he’s the best today without any doubt. I repeat what I said: I do my way. When somebody’s playing like Novak, is very difficult to beat, especially in his favorite surface. Just accept that he’s better today.
But, seriously, the result was easy for him. The feeling was not that easy. That’s positive for me. After the match, I am more happy than before the match. Even if I lost 6‑2, 6‑2, sounds strange, but that’s my real feeling.

Q. In regards to this match, you didn’t seem very confident. Do you think you’re still one of the best players in the world?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am No.8 today, No.6 on the Race. I don’t know, that’s my number today. I don’t know if you consider that one of the best players of the world or not. That’s the number.
In the tennis, is different than in other sports, that you don’t have a ranking. Here you have a ranking. If I am No.8 or No.7, that’s the number that I am in the world today.
If I consider myself one of the best players of the world? I am enough humble to say that this year have not been the ideal year for me. But at the same time I don’t want to lie nobody. Is obvious that I consider myself one of the best players in the world after the career that I having.

Q. This is your 45th encounter with Novak. Competing so many times with the same player, what kind of feeling is that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the real thing is there is only one thing that we can analyze about that. We played I think more than nobody during the history of this sport. So when something like this happened is because we were in finals and very advanced rounds a lot of times in our careers. So that’s a good news for both of us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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