Shanghai SF: An interview with Rafael Nadal

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (R) of France is congratulated by Rafael Nadal of Spain after Tsonga beat Nadal in their men's singles semi-final match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai, China, October 17, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (R) of France is congratulated by Rafael Nadal of Spain after Tsonga beat Nadal in their men’s singles semi-final match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai, China, October 17, 2015. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It seemed from the second set to the middle of the third that you had found a good rhythm against him, maybe were more solid than him. Why do you think you lost this one?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think I played a bad first six games of the match at the beginning. First six games he had too many times the advantage on the point. He was in better positions than me. That’s why was tough for me, that first set.
After the 4‑2, I played well. I stayed there all the time. I played a great second set. I think I played a good third set.
But he serve amazing. His serve in the third set was very difficult to stop. So very high percentage of all the serves. Over 205, 210, 215. So good the way he played the third, especially with the serve. After the serve, serving like this, everything is a little bit easier, no?
I was there. I fighted until the end. As I said before, I am happy the way that I played most of the matches here and in Beijing. Playing against these kind of players that they serve so good, I played against Karlovic, Raonic, now against Tsonga, so was not the ideal draw to play in a quick court like this one.
But I did well and I was there close to be in the final again. So happy for that. At the same time not happy because was an opportunity for me to be in another final. Will be important for me to be in that final, to have lot of points, that going to work well for the whole year of all next year.
But anyway, the most important thing are feelings. The feelings are good, much better. Looking well, looking that I am playing at high level again, looking that I am not having up and downs always I did before. I’m playing more solid. So important for that, no?
I lost the serve only, I believe, three times in the whole tournament. I lost two today, one against Karlovic, so three serves during the whole tournament. That’s not much, no? That says that I was playing well, I was playing with the right decision, and that’s it.
I lost against a player who played very well. Congratulate him. He was a little bit better than me, not much but little bit, and that’s why he is in the final.

Q. What is your next plan of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL: The next tournament?

Q. Of this season, yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: I believe you tell me about the next tournament, no?
I going to play in Basel next in one week.

Q. In the third set it really looked like the match could go either way. You looked really disappointed when you got broken at 6‑5. Were you disappointed at the moment?
RAFAEL NADAL: What do you think?

Q. Yes, yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: Very well for 30 seconds. I started the next game fighting again, having 15‑30, playing few good points. That 15‑30 I had a very good return, very long one. I go for the winner with my forehand. The ball touched the last part of the net. So that’s it.
I was not that much disappointed. I was ready to play the next game and fight till the end, and that’s what I did.

Q. Final in Beijing and a semifinal in Shanghai. Is that much better than what you expected when you came to China?
RAFAEL NADAL: When I arrive to places, always what I expect or don’t expect, I don’t care much about that, no? I came to the tournaments, tried to do my job, tried to work well, to go day by day. After the tournaments, we analyze if both tournaments have been well or not well.
In general, have been a very positive two tournaments, finals and semifinals, obviously in tournaments that are not easy for me. Was able to win a lot of matches, but not only win matches, but playing at a very good level again.
I think have been one of the most positive two tournaments in a row on hard court of the year without a doubt, especially for the feelings. The feelings are that I am getting better and better.
Bad news that we go to indoors now the end of the year. At the same time I know how it works and I going to work hard to try to keep doing well, keep enjoying. I am enjoying on court. I lost, but I am not very disappointed because I was able to enjoy every match and play with the energy that I want to play and do the things that I want to do.
I am really satisfied the way that I finished that two tournaments, and I think was a very good warmup for the beginning of next year.
That’s the way. I was playing much inside the court than during the whole year with more control of everything. Playing like this, keep working like this, the only thing that can happen is be better and better. I going to continue that way.

Q. You talked a lot this week about confidence, the mental aspect. Were there some points in the third set where that started to go away, where you felt the confidence slipping in tight moments, or was that there all the time?
RAFAEL NADAL: I saved Love‑40 playing great, like five great points in a row going to the net, playing aggressive. Then I lost the last breakpoint. The point he break me, I was on the net again.
It’s not that I played defensive, I didn’t go for the shots, that was not the case. I didn’t feel I did not have the confidence. I went for the shots. I just had one mistake in that 15‑30 of the third set that he had the smash and then I missed the backhand.
But when I was winning a lot, I was having mistakes, too. We cannot analyze the confidence on one or another shot. In my opinion, we have to analyze the match in general. As I say before, everybody can their the opinion. But the only negative thing are the seeds, four seeds, the first games of the match. The rest I was playing well.
I won 6‑Love against a player who is playing well. Then in the third he serve huge. Even like this, I had a small opportunity. Was not enough.
I was there until the end. Was not the day to win. Just need to adjust little bit few more things. But in general I have to be happy. I believe there is no doubt that the confidence is higher now than a couple of months ago.

Q. You mentioned you lost very many close matches this season. Do you think today is one of them?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. Is different story. I lost this year a lot of matches that I should win because I was on advantage during the match.
Today was not the case. I lost the first set, I won the second, then was very close, the score. The match could go to any player. Went for him. That’s it. Congratulate him.
But is not the same case like Fognini in Rio. Is not the same case like Berrer in Doha. Is not the same case as Wawrinka in Rome. Fognini in Barcelona, I had hundreds of opportunities in the second set. I don’t know. Fognini in the US Open.
A lot of matches that I should win because I was under control, and I lost. I don’t mean winning that much I will be No. 2 of the world, because I will be lying. But winning the matches that I should win, probably the year will look a little bit different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. OLA & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) I respect your Great Semi interview….. !!!!! It is already in the past & you are blessed & strongly looking forward ….but just wish to mention sweetheart that YES……100% ACCURATE true answers dear Rafa !!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) I watched the match closely & your game was awesome…& strong & aggressive ……point by point it could have gone either way……..It was A FANTASTIC MATCH & you BAGELED the 2nd SET with your amazing Serve game & aggressive play!!!!!!!!!! VAMOS……he was trying & you were aggressive answering everything!!!!!! and by the way, his serve was NOT that amazing…. because you had great answers to everything he did……. but he did manage to come up w few timely aces – that’s all…& only reason he won. You had powerful returns to his 1st or 2nd serve….. I LOVED how came back from 0:40…..that was fantastic….& we jumped up & down cheering knowing your were right up there aggressive & ready for everything!!!!!!!!! I loved even more that you kept going full focus… full speed… full force… till the last point… it is obvious & wonderful that you knew he had nothing over you….& that your game was top !!!!! You were ready……and knew all along that your beautiful Tennis is in its groove & is effective!!!!! : ) : ) : ) VAMOS……VAMOS…….VAMOS……. Take great pride at your AMAZING UNBELIEVABLE RETURNS!!!!!!!! You answered novak serves, you answered all the top giants speedy serve & you are the gutsiest feistiest player in the tour!!!!!!! : ) You were VERY VERY & VERY CLOSE to the final….despite the very tough ATP Draw of all giants top servers…..There is always of course the question of the ATP DRAWS…..I am wondering why we do not see ATP ever never ever offer such tough Draw to other older “top” players who are supposed to still look as if they can compete against anybody……
    The great news is in a good way sweetheart, these 2 China RUN tough draws were a gift to your relevant top Tennis. It clearly demonstrated your ability to stay highly competitive w all of them, AND on hard, fast court! Such great play by you , being so close w all top players was indeed a solid good base to move forward full stride. Your energy is precious & positive & you are doing everything RIGHT!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Please practice sleeping long extra hours when you are at home…..and then you will have extra sleep during your tours…..solid sleep is a golden KEY …. VAMOS sweetheart & lots of love & happiness!!!!!! : )

  2. Estás trabajando muy duro para volver a ser el Campeón de siempre y los que te seguimos lo reconocemos. Que ese juego no te haga desfallecer en tu intento! Estoy de acuerdo en que no era el día para que ganaras, si te sirve de satisfacción te digo: disfrutamos grandemente ese 6-0. Eres y seguirás siendo en nuestros corazones el No. 1. Aaaanimoooo!!!! Vamoooossss RAFA!!!!

  3. Rafa forgive me, but I’m sure you know as I do that Tsonga has not played fair play. He made you believe that he was tired in the second set to make you work alone to exhaust you, and beat you in the third set. You’re ten times better than him

    • I agree with you Gatina, but i think there’s no reason to be sorry. Me too felt so bad, so sad when Rafa was beaten by Wilfred. Of course i felt that way bcoz i wanted my idol to win bcoz i thought if he won the match it will boost him a lot & give him more confidence. As a fan we always wanted him to win in every tournament bcoz we also get excited and delighted everytime we watch tennis. However, for a “true fan”, no matter what happend, win or loss it doesn’t matter. We’ve seen a lot of exxtra extra amazing games that Rafa did & it will marked in every Rafanians mind & heart. His humbleness in court, his desires to win in every games, we cherished all those… THAT IS WHY WE LOVE RAFA!!!!! But when Rafa lost in a game, that is normal bcoz we know Rafa is still human and not an alien 🙂 I believe every season, the players evolve
      that is why most matches are tough, but to note that there are also not exciting or boring games bcoz some players got injured or retired. In the case of Rafa, correct me if i’m wrong i thought he is physically injured, but i think i heard he is mentally incapacitated for the meantime? & it’s understandable bcos he is no bionic… but during those years playing the toughest game in clay… I THOUGHT HE IS THAT BIONIC! HE ROARRRR IN COURT & WE FELT THE INTENSITY! For me, what matters most is…
      he is striving so much to come back & i have no doubt he will! He can do it! He will win again…As Rafanians will be there to cheer him up win or loss. We will always be Rafa’s fan! In Filipino language “WALANG IWANAN!” which means, “NO TURNING BACK & NO LEAVING”! So keep on going RAFA! VAMOS!

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