Indian Wells R4: An interview with Rafael Nadal (March 16, 2016)

Q. Talk about yourself being down a match point and turning it around?
RAFAEL NADAL: Very happy for the victory, obviously. I have been fighting during the whole match. First set I had big chance with not a difficult forehand down the line that I missed. So that first set probably will be the key, if I was able to hit that forehand right place, no?

But after that, I think I played a great second set. But at the beginning, sometimes when win a set that easy is dangerous for the beginning of the next one, no?

The beginning of the third he played aggressive, and I think I stopped a little bit the rhythm, so I was in trouble, no?

Was a great victory. You know, it’s obvious that I played against a great player, a player who was serving unbelievable, at the beginning especially. He served well whole match apart from some double faults.

But you think when somebody is serving with that speed in the second serve, some double faults are the normal thing, no?

Is a great victory, as I said before. I’m very happy about it. I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the spirit of fight during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time even in the tougher situations.

So, yeah. Very happy for the victory.

Q. At the beginning of the match you were struggling to return his serve. Can you tell us about what kind of adjustments you made in order to be able to play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, beginning of the match he was serving over 133 first serves and second serves over 120.I was trying to return inside the court, as I did every day, but with the second serve 120 miles with a lot of spin, 124, 123, 120, was impossible, no?

At the beginning when that happened I was in a little bit of trouble, because I felt like I cannot lose my serve, because if I lose my serve and he was serving that way, is impossible. So I felt a little bit the pressure at the beginning.

But then I think I returned really well during the whole match, no? First serve. Second serve I decided to go back three, four meters behind the baseline, because from inside he was — he’s young, ready to take the risks, and if the opponent wants to take the risk on the second serve and he’s having success, it’s difficult to make something, no?

I decided to go back and tried to put more balls in, and I think worked well. I think I had enough breaks to win the match.

Negative thing is I lost my serve twice in the third, something that cannot happen, especially after having the break back. But that’s it. No, no, no, the match was tough. I think any player can win, and is true he had a big chance with match point and that volley.

Sorry for him. I think at the same time, I deserve victory like this after couple of loses with big chances to win, too.

Q. You have so much experience, and yet when he’s missing that match point were you guessing that the rhythm was going to change?
RAFAEL NADAL: He still have the serve. He missed the point, that match point, but he is deuce with his serve, so he’s able to hit over 130 miles any time.

If he put the first serve in over 130 miles, then you are in big trouble, no? So I think that I’m here, still alive, and is the moment to try to put the ball inside however.

That’s what I did. Both serves I put the ball inside, and then he had two mistakes with his forehand. That was so important for me.

And then especially the 5-4 game, I think I played a great game 5-4 to go 5-All.

That’s it. I think he understood that he lost a big opportunity, and it’s true at the end of the match he had more mistakes.

Q. At one point when I was watching the match, where you are in your career, it reminded me of the first time you played Roger in Miami. Can you see any parallels? Can you talk about how you were able to bounce back from that loss to Roger in Miami as a young player and what you learned from that experience?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I was a little bit younger, I think, than him. But the same time, there is some similar things; some different things, no?

I didn’t have a huge serve. I was not able to serve 140 miles. (Smiling.) I have probably better movements than what he has today, but I was not able to hit the ball that strong.

Was different style of game. But at the same time, both the similarities are that both go on court with high decision to play the way that we wanted to play, no?

He did it. He went for all the shots, returns. He was returning so aggressive and serving huge. I was trying to put away high intensity in that match against Roger in Miami. I play with all the passion, and I think that’s what both of us did. That’s what makes similar things.

Q. In the final set there was a fabulous point. The crowd yelled. He got a time violation warning. In the past, you said that with our best points in tennis, the crowd is yelling, there should not be time violation warnings. Do you think chair umpire should have a rule where they can put extra time in after long points and when the crowd is yelling?
RAFAEL NADAL: You like this sport?

Q. I love it.
RAFAEL NADAL: Me too. So the real thing is I don’t remember — the best matches I watched, in my opinion, was not the matches that was matches that every point was two, three shots. No. That’s the real thing. That’s don’t involved the crowd to the match.

You know, that’s don’t — this is not emotional game, you know, when you hit one, two, three shots and that’s it. And the people loves the sport when the sport become emotional.

To become emotional needs drama, needs physical issue, needs long points. And if you let one long points, it’s obvious that the rule is not the right one.

But I will not say. Again, everybody knows what I think about it, and that’s it. No, no, no, nothing to do. Somebody wanted that rule, and when somebody with a lot of power want the rule, the people who run the sport follow that. So that’s it.

Q. How much of a difference do you think your experience made today? Obviously you see how fast this kid can serve, how hard he can hit. But the experience, between the ears, in your head, how much of an edge do you think that was for you today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, was important match mentally. Physically in terms of tennis, too. Because I was able to find some solutions in a tough moments. I was able to play some good points in tough moments.

Is obvious that I need more matches to play with more solid, more confidence during the whole time. But I am getting there. You know, winning these kind of matches helps, and I hope to be ready for the next match and keep playing with the same positive attitude.

We’ll see. I will keep playing with that passion, and I hope to recover my game and hope to recover my full confidence playing with that passion, with that positive factor follows time here.

Q. The next round, Nishikori or Isner.
RAFAEL NADAL: They are still playing. Both are tough. You know, I lost Nishikori last year in Montreal. He’s a player that puts a lot of pressure on the opponent.

Isner is the same, no? With big serve you cannot have mistakes. Different style of match, but both opponents so difficult, no?

I need to play better than what I did, but it’s obvious that I in quarterfinals, and that’s great news for me in a very tough tournament like this one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. What the heck has happened to you Rafa? Zverev wasn’t playing unbelievable. you opened the court for him by playing too short returns and let him to attack your FH and BH. Federer, Novak , nishikori and many players would beat Zverev in straight sets. Rafa’s mentality is worrisome. seems he already checked out.

  2. OLA & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) 🙂 : ) : ) : ) GREAT post match INTERVIEW …. you look GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Congratulations again for all your amazing matches & making the IW Quarter FINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) 🙂 : ) : ) : ) : ) YOUR HARD COURT GAME IS FANTASTIC DEAR RAFA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Have lots & lots & lots of fun playing tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) 🙂 : ) : ) : ) It will be a FANTASTIC MATCH FOR YOU SWEETHEART !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) 🙂 : ) : ) : ) : ) ENJOY each point & glide with your beautiful SOLID Tennis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Have a great time enjoying your creative NET coverage with your beautiful touch & amazing reach !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) ci….ci…..! : ) I am thinking RIGHT FROM THE FIRST POINT, with your speed & returns you can give him a good ride sending him side to side : ) He does not have a big serve as you know, and his tendency is to try to speed up his serve game, and to right away step into the court…..SO take that strategy away from him right from the beginning of the match with your FEISTY creative returns !!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) I think running back & forth, he will slow down in no time : ) & may end up staying further behind the base line. I am sure 100% you know every player’s style and game much much better than I do but I thought I’ll just mention it : ) Have lots of fun!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE PLAYING BEAUTIFULLY SWEETHEART & it will be another fun exciting day for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Lots of love & happiness sweetheart & good night & sweet dreams!!!!!!! : ) By the way I loved seeing your precious team standing up in huge ecstasy cheering you right after your win yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) That was very special !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : )

  3. I’m so happy for you .Rafa you can do it.good luck in the next .Vamossssssssss all the way to the finals.ove your fans for ever.🎾🇺🇸❤️🎾🇺🇸❤️👍👍.

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