Madrid Open 2016: An interview with Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is returning to top form having claimed back-to-back clay court titles in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and is seeking a record 50th title on the surface this week.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. (In Spanish.) I would like to know what do you expect here in Madrid? How you do you feel to play in front of your people?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, good. It’s always a good feeling. Of course it’s clear that in this city, in this event, I think is the place where I get most of the support.

So it’s also very great and I like to feel that. I’m very happy about it. As I said, I’m really happy to be here one more year.

Q. (In Spanish.) You come from winning two titles with important wins against top 10 players. In this process to your comeback, how important is a victory against Djokovic?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you asked me a lot of times about Djokovic, and I think that you think wrong because you don’t see — Djokovic is the best player in the world and he has shown that week after week. I repeat it. I said it before. In 2011 my problem was Djokovic. In 2015 my problem was not Djokovic. That’s the reality.

I’m the fifth of the world and I haven’t been competing in important matches in 2015. These last weeks I’ve been doing it, fighting for important matches, winning, and let’s see what happens in the next week. 

Today I just follow my path and I think that Djokovic follows his. I do the best to be at my top level, and I think I’m getting closer to it. I’m trying to manage it. For the moment I’m happy with my level, especially during the last three weeks that I have been competing. Indian Wells, Monte-Carlo, and Barcelona, of course, because as you know, in Miami I didn’t compete. I’ve been doing very well in the last three tournaments.

If I have to play against Djokovic, that will be a great thing because that means it will be in the final. But my problems are many others. I have many other problems until then.

Q. (In Spanish.) Last year when we did this press conference before the tournament you weren’t considered to be the favorite. This year after these last weeks, after winning a couple of matches and after positive results, do you see yourself as one of the favorites to win the title?
RAFAEL NADAL: These things are important for you. For me they are not so important. I believe in my day after day. I put importance in my training, my daily training, and that’s what I think about.

After that, I will be worried about Tuesday’s match. Whoever is favored or not favored, for me it’s not important. I don’t have to write any article. It’s not important for me.

I just do my best to do well every single day. If it works out like this, maybe afterwards I will be able to be in the last round. If it’s not that way, I won’t be. The player who plays better this week is the one who has the options.

Q. (In English.) In the case with Roselyne Bachelot, what do you think would be a good result for you? What would be justice in your mind?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have full confidence in the French justice. I talked enough about that in Indian Wells, what happened. I said in Indian Wells what’s going to happen. Happened this week. That’s it. I say that I don’t going to talk anymore about that.

Q. (In English.) You don’t have an outcome in mind, an amount of money that would satisfy you as a resolution to this case that you would be happy with?
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel happy that I don’t need money. So it’s something that is about image, is something about the people is not free to say any stupid thing any time, what they think in any moment without no knowledge about the things.

If at the end of the day, as I said in my communication, I take some money from a that, going to be to one French foundation. That’s it. It’s not about this kind of stuff.

Q. (In Spanish.) Are we in front of the best Rafa of the last weeks, months, perhaps of the last two years?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you’re pretty dramatic at the end. You tend it dramatize all the time. During the last two years I won Roland Garros and I was No. 1 in the race when I was playing Roland Garros. Then, yeah, I injured my wrist.

But in 2014 I played the final of Australia and I was injured in the final and I won Roland Garros. So we don’t have to say things that were not. Last year I had a bad year. I had a couple of bad tournaments, couple of bad matches. I was a little bit anxious maybe.

From Montréal I haven’t had those problems. I’m happy, I’m good, and I’m competing every single week with what I have. Sometimes what I have is a lot and other times I don’t have so much.

During the last weeks I think I have a lot. I’ve been competing against the players and won matches against some of the best players of the world and competed pretty well against all of them.

That has given me the opportunity to play the last three tournaments at a really high level, which are two Masters 1000s and on Masters 500. Winning and playing matches against these people, it’s really something good for me.

I don’t know which Rafa you’re going to find here. I know that I’m doing things well. You know, I really want to do well. I’m really looking forward to it. Here I am. I’ve been preparing well. I hope to be prepared and do things as good as I can.

Q. (In Spanish.) We have asked you a lot of times about the new generations and about the new people coming up. I would like it to analyze the evolution of tennis. Do you like where it’s going? Perhaps now the people play a little bit faster.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the new generation, it’s true that the game is moving in one direction. Each time you think less and hit the ball harder. This is clear. But at the end, the tennis doesn’t have to please me, it has to please the spectators, which are the ones that carry it along.

They take the game from one place of another. They have to be worried to see what the audience likes to see, which at the end you have to create an adequate show so that tennis is a game that’s still up there in the world. This is the most important thing.

Q. (In English.) Do you miss the kind of battles you had with Djokovic or Roger? Can it be an extra motivation to get back to that level to get to those kind of battles?
RAFAEL NADAL: As I say before, no, I go day by day. Today I’m second in the race. That’s a great news for me. I going to try to keep playing well here, no?

More than battles or this kind of thing, what I like to play is like to compete well, no? I like to feel happy and free on court to play the way that I want to play.

So that’s it.

Q. (In Spanish.) How have you felt after the first training here in Madrid and how different is it to playing in Barcelona at sea level and here with altitude?
RAFAEL NADAL: I’m fine. I’ve been training pretty well these days. For me it’s a tournament that I’ve been playing well at historically talking. Another thing is the altitude, it’s another factor. There is altitude here, but for me personally – the altitude affects the game, of course – but I’m not a player that plays really bad with altitude.

Perhaps I feel it’s safer at sea level, it’s true, but sincerely, normally I do well with altitude.

Q. (In English.) You asked the ITF to publish your anti-doping records and make them public. Any response from the ITF in regard to that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, my philosophy is easy to understand, no? I believe in my sport. That’s the most important thing. I believe that my rivals are clean. I believe the sport is clean and I believe in our anti-doping program, no, and it’s an independent one.

The sport should be clean and must look clean, no? Should be, in my opinion – always in my opinion – much better for the transparency of the sport in general to say, you know, Rafa Nadal is passing an anti-doping control today and the result going to be in two weeks. In the result, you publish the results. The anti-doping control is negative. That’s it.

This will be much easier for everybody. Should be much easier for the world of sport, and for sure will be easier for you guys, that you don’t have to think. Just have to read. For the people, at the same time, too, they don’t have to create opinion. They have the proof.

Q. (In English.) Have they responded to you and given you an answer as to whether they’ll do it or not?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, but I am in the process, so I cannot talk much about that now.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Video: ATP World Tour


  1. Good Luck to you tomorrow in your match against Kutznetsov Rafa!! Stay healthy in every way. God bless you. Love Marylynn.

  2. I tell you ,a SAINT he is. If I were in his shoes I thing I would skip the pressers and pay the fine.

    I know, its their job to write something but because the the season is soon long the questions are repetitive. Our guy just gives them the BROKEN RECORD. ha ha

    RAFA fan forever

  3. Rafa is not just a really great tennis player but a great person as well always honest and never puts anyone down just a genuine guy who is looking vex by all his fans the world over
    So good luck Rafa in Madrid

  4. I know…they ask him the same questions over and over… Either in Spanish and English…about Novak and how he feels.. OMG … He has the patience of a saint.. Anybody else would lose it. I would’ve left the room.
    Rafa… You’re the best for being so calm and just being such a nice person with
    all your success. You are truly a gift to tennis and sports in general.
    Good luck always. We will always support you..

  5. God he must have the patience of a saint ..same old questions over and over again and yet again he answers them only to be asked yet again the next time!!! I would lose it!!!

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