Madrid Open SF: An interview with Rafael Nadal (May 7, 2016)

Transcript of Rafael Nadal’s presser after the Murray match.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had opportunities to come back in the first set when you were 4-1 down, and then it was 5-All. What happened out there? Was it that Murray was playing very well?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the first set was very fair. Apart from that, he was better than me, even though I managed to be 5-All. I think it was a different story in the second set. I had more opportunities than him. I had higher rhythm and tried to play aggressively to win the set.

After that, served very well. In the second set was serving really well. In general, he was a little bit better than me, and we have to congratulate him for his victory and recognize that he has played better than me in the important moments.

Q. How do you leave this week after everything that happened? Here you made it to the semifinals.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think I had another positive week. I made it to the semifinals. I think I’m very consistent every week. This is good news. Well, today mentally I think I was okay. I fought a lot until the end. I tried to look for solutions, and I think I did that; it wasn’t enough.

I had opportunities to make it be enough, but, well, the reality is that I was capable of fighting back and to try to find a solution. After that, I just missed a little bit. Overall my feelings are good. Perhaps some moments I wasn’t playing so good and others I was playing really well. I was just missing a little bit more of intensity with my drive.

I had to be a little bit stronger in my shots. I had to maybe play a little bit harder, which is what makes the difference. Maybe I did a little bit more in the second set than in the first set, but I just needed to hurt him a little bit more with my shots.

Well, I think I’m on a positive path. I hope to continue on this path. I feel happy competing. I’m comfortable. Also when I train, I train with a lot of joy to continue going this way.

Q. Yesterday you were saying that to be able to beat Murray you had to be at your highest level. Do you think today you were at your highest level?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, Murray was not unbeatable today. I think it was an open match, an even match. We fought a lot. At the end there were just a few decisive balls. Whoever plays those better is the one who wins the match. 

I think he did it, especially in the serve. As I said, here in Madrid you can see the difference a little bit more. Perhaps more than other places. That’s why he managed to obtain a lot of free points, especially in important moments.

Well, of course I didn’t play my best level, but I didn’t play badly. I think I played a medium level, which was not enough to beat Murray today. Some moments I played very well and others, as I said before, I didn’t play so well. I just needed a little bit more and just needed to play a little bit better with my drive.

That’s what I have to try to do next week. That’s all.

Q. Do you think that the breakpoints where you didn’t play so well were a turning point and decisive points to be able to compete against top players?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, compete. I competitive. I’m the second in the race because I’m competing. At the end, well, in Monte-Carlo I managed to win; here I’ve lost. But the same way I lost, if you look at what happened out there, I could have won.

You know, you have to criticize yourself to be able to do things better. You have to criticize yourself to get better and better. It’s true that without doing a great match I wasn’t far away from winning the second best player in the world, and this is what we’ve seen today out there.

After that, talking about the breakpoints, I think in the second set I only played two of the 13 breakpoints that I had with second serves, one which was the first game.

Perhaps I needed to play a little bit more bravely. Then the other one were 4-2, 30-40. It was a second serve. Until that moment he was playing flat, and then he just sliced the ball. I couldn’t close it out properly.

But that’s all. Apart from that, it is not that they were breakpoints that I had options to dominate and I didn’t. Wasn’t that today. He was serving very well at very high speed since the beginning. It’s not that I did a disaster in those moments. I was there trying my best.

Q. You were talking about your dominating shots. You have to dominate more. How can you do that again?
RAFAEL NADAL: Just playing a little bit better, striking a little bit better the balls. Normally sport is very simple. I have the confidence, but if you don’t have confidence after winning two matches, well, it’s complicated to find confidence. So I have to say I have confidence. I’m calm. I am doing thing properly. I am training well.

Perhaps today I had to go a little bit more for my shots. That’s all. Just have a little bit more feeling with my drive. It’s true that here in Madrid either you have a very good feeling or it can be a little bit more complicated than other places. The ball goes a little bit longer, and I think that because of that, perhaps there were some points where I played a little bit shorter than I wanted to.

Then he had a couple more options to dominate the point. I think I’m better than other players when I play at high intensity. I think normally I have a high intensity and I have superior level. But when I play at lower intensity, perhaps they do things a little bit easier than me.

So I have to play with intensity and I have to try to give my highest intensity in every single shot. I was just missing a little bit of that.

As I said, in the second set I did it a little bit better. I think in the second set I just missed a little bit to step in and be ahead. That’s the only thing I needed. That’s my feeling, and I think that’s what happened out there.

Just if I had a little bit more in the second set I would’ve been ahead in the second set and I would have options. Wasn’t like that. Finally he made the break. After that you’re behind. That’s all.

Q. For years you have been winning Barcelona, Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Rome, are you calm when you step into Rome? You have a very good curriculum. I mean, if you don’t have pressure.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, when you feel happy you have less pressure. When you feel good you don’t have so much pressure on you. We still have two tournaments on clay court this season, and I achieved more points than last year in all of the clay court season. So this is something that we’ve seen.

Also, the feeling that I have when I play in the court and the consistency that I’m showing and general level, it’s superior compared to last year’s.

Well, on these three tournaments I have been able to win two, and one making it to the semifinals, so the clay season is great. Let’s try to continue this way or maybe try to put up the rhythm a little bit more.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. What did you think the difference was between you and Andy Murray in that match?
RAFAEL NADAL: A few points.

Q. Give us a few thoughts as to maybe where it went wrong for you today.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the first set he played better than me. I think in the second was a different story. I played more aggressive. I increased the intensity and rhythm of the game. I had more opportunity than him in the second, no? Even if he had the two breaks and he had the set, I had many more chances than him on the return.

I was playing well, no? So first set I think nothing to say. He was better than me. Second set I believe that I was a little bit unlucky.

Q. Were nerves much of a factor today?

Q. Nerves, anxiety a factor on the court today?

THE MODERATOR: (Through translation.)


Q. You said earlier that you lacked maybe a bit the intensity today in the second set. Are you surprised it happened like this, or what do you think about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: What happened?

Q. You missed some intensity.
RAFAEL NADAL: I increased intensity, no? I think I fighted a lot during the whole match. I tried my best. I fighted every single point as much as I could.

It’s true that to play these kind of matches for me it’s better if we play with a little bit warmer conditions, higher bounces. That helps to my spin. It’s true that the last two days I was not lucky with that, that I was practicing great during the whole week with the sunshine there and the bounces have been high and so difficult for the opponent.

But it’s true last couple of days the conditions are colder, cloudy, and it’s not the ideal conditions for me. Even like this, for sure it’s not an excuse, no? You have to adapt to all the conditions if you want to have success.

I think Andy adapted better than me to that conditions. Even I increased a little bit the rhythm in the second, that, in my opinion, was a good level for me in the second set. Just needed a little bit more in some moments. I needed Andy didn’t serve that well in those breakpoints.

Q. Can you spot any improvements that he has made on clay from your match last year to this year? In the sort of form he’s in at the moment, do you think he can go far at Roland Garros?
RAFAEL NADAL: We cannot talk about improvements every single day, no? People not improve dramatically that quick, no? Andy is a great player, so he really doesn’t need to improve a lot to win titles and to have success on clay, no? He’s playing well.

In Roland Garros? What you mean, because he played Roland Garros last year and lost in five sets? He can win the title. If you were in the semifinal two times and you lost in five sets in semifinals, it’s obvious that you can win the title, no?

But like everybody, you need to arrive fresh physically and mentally and playing your best tennis. Roland Garros is a tough tournament, two weeks, best-of-five sets, and anything can happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. Rrafa brillant my sister and anne marie love him no body plays like rafa bless him love anne marie kay xx

  2. Win or loss, forever RAFA. The whole family are behind you. My Mom which is 83 yrs old and Aunt which is 72 yrs old too. Still, you’re the King of Clay. Goodluck, goodluck.

  3. I am a Die-hard, one eyed Rafa Fan n have never ever cheered for eitherDjokovic or Murray. Rafa “peaked” at a very young age – these guys are peaking in their mid n late twenties! After all both of them are only a year younger than Rafa! I am not a Tennis Pundit, but it appears to me that dynamic, powerful serves are winning games? Correct me if I’m wrong. In the Semis, each time Rafa had an “Adv” over him, Andy came back with an unbeatable serve! In any sport, Lady Luck plays an important part n luck has not been on Our dear Rafa’s side for the last few years. You are the King of Clay Rafa my boy n you can win n will come back fighting. Keep practising those dynamic serves. I will be praying for you n barracking for you all the way to the CUP! I am 80 years old n look forward to seeing you playing for many more years. Vamos Rafa. Ole! God bless you. Your Aussie Abuela. xxx 🏆👑😇😇🎈🎈

  4. Uncle Toni, in an interview last year, stated he would wait until RG[2016] to decide whether or not a new team member would be brought in to help with Rafa’s coaching.
    I look forward to Rome but I think RG will be that deciding factor for Nadal, even if he wins Rome.


  5. Vamos Raf Novack no tiene el juego exitante que tiene stu, el lo que tiene es una defenza increible, pero juego exitante NOOOOO, Vanos Rafa eres el mejor

  6. LOL Now we even have nutcase fruitcake86 calling upon zodiacs and constellations.
    Our champion relies on his own talent and places results, good or not so good, squarely on his own shoulders. He doesn’t rely on celestial bodies to do his work.
    What is this fan club coming to? LOL


    • you obviously have no idea what sarcasm is fruitcake! Time for your chill-pill …..

    • This fan club was doing just well until a retarded 6-year old Margo came along …. O_O

  7. Nole is first than five place empty than Rafa and Roger than two place empty than Murray and rest players.

  8. Novak may have won today and may take Rome and the French Open but the one title he has never had and never will and that is the heart and love of the people and that will. Be Rafa’s forever

  9. “But it’s true last couple of days the conditions are colder, cloudy, and it’s not the ideal conditions for me. Even like this, for sure it’s not an excuse, no? You have to adapt to all the conditions if you want to have success. I think Andy adapted better than me to that conditions.”

    THIS is why RAFA is a champion, instead of making excuses, he understands the problem lies with HIM, not uncontrollable events!


  10. Yes Andy has just taken the 2nd set off Novak and the Spanish crowd are right behind him

    • Novak finally does what he knows how to do best – he wins Madrid 2016 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 just as I predicted.
      Now to Rome to win again and then his first ever RG title!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Nothing and nobody can stop him.

      So, it has been written; so it shall be.

      • you’re a nutcase fruitcake, …. he BARELY managed to win today. Stupid dumb Loony Prophet aka The Shallow Brainless Thinker O_O

        Why don’t you take your comment’s to a website for your beloved Novak????


  11. As usual, Rafa is right on in his analysis of the match. Fans should try listening to what he says! We’re down after a “silly” loss like this because we know he had more chances. He is still on the path he wants to be. Unfortunate how things like weather and coin toss affect results, but they do. Had a bad feeling about Andy serving to start both sets. On to Rome with a tough draw.

    • “coin toss affect results” – don’t forget the effect of zodiac signs and astrological forecasts, which supersede strategy, skills and talent ……… O_O

  12. Rafa could have won Andy In the semifinals in Madrid…he used the GD drop shot instead going for his Massive backhand… I was screaming each time he did it why why why would you do that when you’re not successful at it…I believe that’s why he lost… His serves were great he missed some shots that he usually doesn’t but I know he could have won… He was playing great, Methodical tennis!! Best of luck in Rome Rafael I will be rooting for you,,, love love love you win or lose!!!

  13. I so agree with Maria. Cant stand Djokers attirude. Vamos Andy, pls take all you chances and WIN

  14. I hope Rafa can get back on track in Rome and not let this little blip unsettle him and effect his confidence , he had been playing so well getting back to his old self .Good luck Rafa in Rome and Good luck to Andy today please take that smug look of Novak’s face I don’t think I can bear to see him beating his chest anymore

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