Rome Masters QF: An interview with Rafael Nadal (May 13, 2016)

Tennis - Italy Open Men's Singles Quarterfinal match - Novak Djokovic of Serbia v Rafael Nadal of Spain - Rome, Italy - 13/5/16. Nadal waves at the end of the match. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Tennis – Italy Open Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match – Novak Djokovic of Serbia v Rafael Nadal of Spain – Rome, Italy – 13/5/16. Nadal waves at the end of the match. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you think it’s best performance against Djokovic since the last final at Roland Garros? Is the first question. The second is if you think it’s better for you to play against Djokovic on the best-of-five sets than on the best-of-three sets.
RAFAEL NADAL: I am playing well. No, no. I have been, I think, a beautiful match, a little bit unlucky for me today, so many chances in the first set. Obviously with that 4-2, Love-30, and then 15-30, good point for me, good forehand that was a winner and was out for just a little bit. We don’t need to talk about I think in the second, no?

So happy in a very close match, and I have to congratulate him. He played, I think, great. And that’s it. He’s winning a lot, so probably that makes a difference.

No, when somebody is winning as much as he is doing last year and months, two years, we know the dynamics are so important. He was hitting great shots in important moments, no? That’s it.

But I am playing well. I think I am playing well during the whole clay court season. It’s true that in Madrid I didn’t play well the last two matches against Joao and especially the last two sets against Joao Sousa in quarterfinals, and semifinals against Andy I didn’t play very well.

But in general I’m playing well in the most of the matches most of the time. And today I was there mentally fighting for every point, hitting good shots. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s better for me best-of-five or best-of-three. Is something that I don’t think about it now. The only thing that I think is I have been very, very, very close this afternoon, and that’s positive.

Q. After a match like this, what is the lasting feeling? Comfort of knowing how high a level you’ve played today or disappointment of the loss?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. I came late here not because I was disappointed. I came late because I was in doping and just for like this (indicating small space between index finger and thumb) I didn’t came before, maybe a little bit.

No, I was not disappointed. Well, it’s obvious that when you feel that you are so close to take both sets, you know, it’s obvious that you go out of the court and you feel that you cannot be 100% happy.

But overall I am playing well. As I said before, I have been competing at the highest level against the best player. Play a match like this, best player of the world, that’s the only thing that give me the confidence that I am ready for the things.

Q. Obviously your head to head with Novak is much more even than the head to head you have with Roger, but can you see a similarity between this rivalry and the rivalry you had with Roger, which went through phases when you won a lot even if matches were really, really close?
RAFAEL NADAL: I answered that question so many times. You know, let’s talk about all of this — I’m tired about asking these kind of questions. The only answer for me now is I feel happy to be part of both rivalries.

You know, have been both special ones and that’s it. And we’re gonna talk about that when we finish our careers. Hopefully not very soon (laughter).

And that’s it. No, no, I feel lucky and unlucky at the same time to be at the same moment than those great players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. The draw will be tomorrow, but anyway Rafa always getting the worst draw! That’s the expression of French people “love” to him! But if Rafa plays like it’s no tomorrow. ..he can beat everyone! Mental strength, focus, service and converting and closing. will be crucial! Rafa,please disable your panic button on important points, stay healthy and remember who you are! You can do it! 10th RG! VAMOS!

    • The draw will be Friday so we will know soon. There is a lot of attention on what Roger will do, but that is out of our control. As a Rafa fan, I am so much happier than last year at this time. Rafa had lost all the previous European clay tournaments and had just lost to Novak in Rome. This year Rafa is being talked about as one of the favorites at RG even though Novak remains the top favorite. I never predict wins but I hope Rafa will stay healthy and play his best.

  2. That’s correct Chantelle, and Rafa should do great with best out of 5. I think he thrives on 5-set matches.

    Hopefully the draw will be known on Friday as per David Law’s podcast. Roger hasn’t pulled out yet but I keep checking.

  3. This whole week is qualifications for the French Open… I believe Rafa will be seeded 5 and will get a bye the first round… Being seeded 5th means that he could possible get Dejokavic in the QF and get knocked out like last year (When he was very vulnerable) Andy will be seeded 2 … Roger 3 and Stan 4 … Things could change if Roger pulls out with a back injury.. We can’t forget that Rafa owns RG And I can’t imagine him being bumped out if he is in vintage form. I Have already started praying to the tennis Gods !! I can tell you I will be celebrating and be satisfied forever if he can lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the 10th time… VAMOS RAFA… love love love you win lose !

  4. I really respect and admire Roger, but I am worried about his impact at RG. With Roger’s injury and rust, it is unlikely that he will go deep at the FO. Since he is ranked number 3, his quarter of the draw will benefit if he loses early. Some are suggesting that Roger skip FO, which would greatly benefit Rafa. I don’t see Roger doing this, however, since he has a streak of GS participation at risk. As much as I enjoy watching Roger play, it would really help Rafa if he withdraws. It is also true that there may be some early upsets and it would not matter. Just as long as it is not Rafa!

    • That’s just it. Roger sounded very pessimistic about his chances at RG. So why his reluctance to skip RG? I don’t think it fair of him to wait until the draws are out to decide if he is going to play RG. Then again, he does not have the experience of being out due to serious injuries, months at a time. So maybe he is just hoping to be able to play. Being a great athlete takes hard work and sacrifice but with that comes heartbreak when an athlete cannot do what he loves.


  5. Hi Margo , yes it is confusing , I love watching the tennis but I’m no expert that’s for sure .

    • What expertise you do have is insight re Harding the machinations of the game and pointers which lead to good discussion among us here.



      What expertise you do have is insight into the machinations of the game, (rest of first post above)
      mea culpa


  6. Hi maria – i think its after seeded and unseeded players are sorted by rank and are definately qualified to play – those left over have to play against each other and those that win qualify to play. We get lucky losers as if someone drops out they look at those who lost and get one of those to play. Unsure how they pick thd LL’s though. Apologies if any of this is wrong but its my understanding

    • Sounds right Chantelle.
      Those who play in the qualies play a round robin. (This is what I found on the LL questions I had.) The LLs are chosen, by rank, from the group that did not make the qualies. The highest ranked LL will fill in for an injured player as we saw in Rome last week. LL Pouille played against Andy.
      I too was looking for info on seeding, etc., for RG. Zilch. Hopefully by Friday.

      I was hoping Roger would have announced by now his intentions about playing RG. I don’t think he is ready for RG; he should just rest and prepare for Wimbledon. He himself said chances for him at RG was not looking good.


  7. If I have this right Rafa is in the same half of the draw as Andy and Novak can anyone confirm this went onto sporting life website

  8. Sorry no but I don’t know if you have Eurosp 2 on your TV but at 5pm UK time it has day one of qualifications for the 2016 FO whatever that is

    • Hi Maria. Thought you were gone until RG. Just read your post re “qualifications” and thought I’d give it a shot. Anyone who could add to this is most welcome .
      As I understand it, the “qualifying” (a/k/a qualifications) is a pre-tournament usually played the week before a major. Twelve winners from this pre-tournament will be qualified to play in the tournament.
      For a slam or Masters there is usually a 128 players draw which is made up from:
      The first 110 are based on rankings at time of tourney entry deadline
      5-6 Wildcards
      1- protected rankings
      12 from the qualifications
      1-2 lucky losers.
      Who ever said tennis was simple? LOL

      I don’t know if the above applies also to the ITF. Different organizations, different rules, perhaps.

    • I am guessing that it will be this Friday. That is usually the pattern before tournaments.

  9. I thought that Rafael played very well v Djokovic, small margins made the difference as they always do at that level. I feel confident about Roland Garros and know that he is is a good place both with his tennis and confidence. Rafael Nadal is the essence of grace. Watched the final and while I acknowledge the tennis skills of Djokovic I am more convinced than ever of his horrible behaviour. This guy has no class and frankly he looked as if he had lost control. Well done Andy, nice birthday gift to yourself.

  10. I will say though Novak does have a lovely thick mop of hair ( you you think that’s hiding his horns)

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