Indian Wells SF: An interview with Rafael Nadal (March 19, 2016)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I guess you obviously are disappointed about the loss, but the way you played for a set and a half, is it the best you have done for a while now?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I think I played well for a set and a half; then I think he played well the last. I played bad again with my serve on 3-2, and then he finished playing well the last two games. Played at high level.

I had my chances in the first set. I felt for a moment that I was competing at the highest level possible. At the beginning of the tiebreak and at the end of the first set with some Love-15 that I had, I made a few mistakes with my forehand. That’s the only thing.

I believe that with a little bit more of confidence with my forehand at the end of that first set will be a better chance.

Q. How much do you feel that all the matches you had won this week coming into this match helped your confidence, especially at the start of the match when you started very well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, my confidence was good. When somebody’s playing well like I was playing, you go on court and you think that you can play well again, no?

So that’s important for me, be confident with myself on court. I did I think for a lot of moments. I think the game, you know, was very close. But the way that I was playing I think was a little bit more tactical, was a little bit more the way that I need to play against Novak than what happened the last couple of times that we played so quick and hitting so hard the ball. Probably he’s better than nobody in terms of rhythm.

Q. From the start of the year till now, how happy are you with your progress?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I think I played well during the week. I won very interesting matches, good ones, fighting. Today was closer than the last couple of times against the best player of world, so was a very positive week for me.

That’s the way. I gonna try to follow this way to keep going with this level. If I am able to play weeks in a row at this level, then you start to think about the chances to compete for everything.

Q. Is it hard not to get frustrated when you’re on a bit of a losing streak against somebody like Djokovic who is dominating? How do you stay positive every time you go into a match?
RAFAEL NADAL: So everybody frustrated?

Q. Yeah.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Laughter.) The life is not totally about one opponent. The life is not only about losing matches against one player. Was frustrating 2011. Is true that I was playing a lot of finals against him and I lost like six during the whole year because I was able to win against the rest of the players and not against him.

But for the last year and a half the story is different. So I was not competing all the time against him. I was competing against much more players and I was not ready, I think, to believe that I can compete at highest level against Novak.

In the last, I don’t know, six events that I played, maybe six, seven events, I was able to against him in Beijing, play against him in London, play against him in Doha, and now here. So if I play against him it’s because I am in semifinals and finals, so that’s very positive news.

Before that I was not able to play against him during almost the whole season. So the real thing is if I play against him, even if I lose, is great news.

Q. Would you mind giving us your thoughts about the finals and what Milos will have to do to see to beat him?
RAFAEL NADAL: With Milos is a different story. Milos have the serve. Novak is a great returner, has a great return, but when somebody serves like this and have two opportunities every time, first and second serve, if he serve well, Novak will not have the break.

So we gonna go to a tiebreak and we’ll see what’s going on. That’s the real thing. If Milos serve well, he can win against everybody.

Q. When you came up it was Roger who was kind of dominating. There was a moment when you dominated; now Novak is the dominant player. Can you compare like those kind of three eras when Roger is on top and you’re on top and now Novak is on top? Is there anything you can compare and contrast those eras?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Is different moments. Different moments on the career of everyone. I think Roger was very, very dominant for a couple of years. Then when I arrived I think he was still dominant, but he had somebody there. Then arrive Novak, too.

When I was dominant I have more than one, you know. Novak, I have Roger, I have Andy. And then during the moments that I was dominant I had some tough periods of time that I had chances to continue being dominant and I couldn’t. Like 2012 when I was playing great and I get injury. Like 2009 when I was playing great and I get the injury of my knees.

And in 2014 that I was playing well and I was No. 1 in the race, I break my wrist in the summer.

So after that, Novak already have been dominant before that. But after that always, he was more dominant. Novak was there all the time. Never had any injuries. So always he was waiting for his moment.

When finally arrived, his moment, he doesn’t let go. You know, without getting injury and having the level that he has it’s so difficult to stop him.

Q. You were talking about Novak working on his game. How do you think over the past period, past two years, his game has improved?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know, no? I think he’s an amazing player, and an amazing player with high level of confidence that makes so difficult to stop him, no?

When Roger was at his highest level and with highest level of confidence, too, was so difficult to stop him. I think for me was a little bit similar, no? When I was playing my best and I was at the highest level of confidence, I think I was dominant, too.

So for him now is what’s going on is he feel that is probably better than the rest. And at the same time, nothing bothers him, no? Not happened to me. The real thing is he’s very complete player because he’s able to play great on all of the surfaces, so just congrats to him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Video: BNP Paribas Open


  1. Vamos Rafa!

    I have been following you since you first arrived as a player and I predicted you would be a great champion even then.

    In tennis you gave me more entertainment and pleasure than anything else during my entire life. I am 78 years old now.

    But from the beginning I have also felt you were too humble and saying about other opponents that they were better than you. About Djokovic what you have in your mind that he is a greater player is just a ghost, it is not at all true.

    It is common sense during a war, on the battleground, never to say to your own people that you are inferior or will lose. So how can you say about Djokovic, in the open, that he is a better player than you, that you are afraid of him, that only when he is tired will you win? On the battleground you have to come to fight, you have to be ruthless to your opponents. And you most definitely are much better than him,. Better than Federer, better than Djokovic, better than Murray or anyone else.

    All good luck, wishing you all the very best. You are always, in all ways, superior. As a human being, as a player, in your manners. I love you and want for you all the best.

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