Rafael Nadal: ‘With more rest the wrist will not go better. The wrist needs to adapt again to the game’

Photo via The Western & Southern Open
Photo via The Western & Southern Open

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

Q. What specifically was the issue with you at the end of the first set that you called for the trainer?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I feeled the arm too tired. Elbow, shoulder. You know, two months and a half without competing, and especially without practicing, and then do what I did in the Olympics, come here, different balls, too much.

It’s not the ideal situation to come back to the competition. After two months and a half and with an injury in the wrist, the normal thing is try to come back a little bit slower.

But having the Olympics there I didn’t had that chance. Now I pay. I pay that, no? Was a little bit too much and my body was to the limit since after the finish of Rio.

I came here; I tried. I tried to do the right things to be ready, but obvious that I was not ready today.

Q. Given all the tennis you played after not playing, are you able to take any positives out of coming here to Cincinnati?
RAFAEL NADAL: The positive thing is I was keep playing. That’s the only thing, no? Is a big event; I am a tennis player. I want to play tennis, no? After two months and a half without competing, was not easy to take the decision after the Olympics to not coming here.

I didn’t want to be back home. I spent enough time at home last three months. I needed to keep practicing, keep playing, and that’s why I am here and that’s why I’m don’t going to come back to Spain before the US Open.

Q. Obviously you want to play these tournaments, but with hindsight looking back, do you think it was a good decision to come here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Why not?

Q. You were just saying about the soreness in the shoulder and upper arm. Was it also going down through the wrist?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. The wrist is still the same. I said too many times already, spoke too many times about the wrist. The wrist is still bothering me but is a process that I need to pass and a process that I need to go through.

I need to play to go through that process. With more rest the wrist will not go better. The wrist needs to adapt again to the game. Needs to adapt again to hit the ball.

The only negative thing is in one week I pass from not practicing almost anything and playing 23 hours in seven days. So that’s the thing. The wrist is not worse of that so that’s great news, but is not better.

Still bothers me, but I need to keep playing. Day by day I hope that things going to go better.

Q. Over the years you have inspired a lot of young people. With the time at home you’ve had more opportunity to work with your academy and foundation. How are those experiences inspiring for you? Is there a moment that stands out?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, helping with the kids in the academy. Was great to spend time in the academy and watch all the things how the academy started. Enjoying to share a little bit of time with the kids. Was almost 600 kids in two months there, in two months and a half, so was a great experience.

I always had a special feeling with kids. I like to spend time with them, and I believe and I hope that the kids that came to the academy went back home very, very happy, no? So that’s something that make me happy.

Then with the foundation, we are working well. Every year we are doing something better. Every year we are trying to help more and more kids. That’s something that I feel happy to have the chance to help the kids with some risks.

Q. Because you’re behind a little bit as far as practice time, even though you’re fatigued, what is your practice schedule like? Will you take a couple days off?
RAFAEL NADAL: Probably, yes. I think I need to recover emotionally, physically, and especially I need to give some rest to the wrist, the arm, to everything, no?

So I am not sure about my schedule yet. I finished just half an hour ago. I need to check with my team what’s the best thing we can do to prepare well the US Open.

I don’t know if I am going to be practicing here again or not. For sure tomorrow I don’t going to practice. Then I have to check if we fly to New York or we stay here.

Q. You haven’t played in a while, but all the matches you’ve played have been best-of-three; the major is best-of-five. How much will that factor in to your ability to prepare physically?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am well-prepared physically. I worked a lot at home and I practiced — in the Olympics I played like best-of-five. Played two matches every day and spend for and a half, five hours on court some days.

The preparation for that was good. It’s not a question of physical. It’s a question of being ready physically and be healthy. That’s the most important thing.

Q. You have a history of playing through pain in matches and not quitting. I think in 2011 in Australia with David Ferrer you wouldn’t quit even though you were injured. I wonder if today during the match you were thinking maybe that you should just stop?

Q. You seemed to be in a lot of pain on the court.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not a lot of pain, no? I was uncomfortable, not comfortable at all. A little bit tough in all aspects. The body, as I said before, was a little bit to the limit and I played against a player that played well.

Coric didn’t give me many chances. He was playing his serve huge, and from the baseline he didn’t miss a lot.

So I need to be in better shape to compete against this kind of match. Was not the day to do that. Even like this I tried to the end. I had a break point to come back to 5-4.

You know, it’s obvious that I didn’t think about retirement because I was not at that limit, no? I have a little bit of pain everywhere, but the real thing is nothing like I had in the Australian in 2011 against David that I had hamstring. I don’t know how to say in English. So that’s it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. Deborah, Rafa was Knocked out of this tournament I’m afraid but he hasn’t returned to Spain , and is still in the Us awaiting the start of the US Open

  2. It is great to see so much support for Rafa regardless of whether he wins or loses. That is what I see as being a true fan – not that you expect him to win everything but that you still admire him for all the effort he puts into his game and for the fine person that he is both on and off the court.
    Unfortunately there are some who expect him to win year after year in spite of age and wear and tear on his body and kick him when he is down.
    Is this because they feed off his reflected glory when he is victorious and it is a blow to their own egos when he does not win?

    • Hi Beverley, very well put. I think you hit the nail on the head that some people can only support winners (whether Rafa or any other sportsperson). Because they identify with the celebrity/sportsperson as representing themselves they don’t cope with losses. They are not admiring a person from an ‘outsider’ perspective but as a reflection of themselves and their egos. We see some people become quite bitter when their favoured person loses as though they themselves have failed or have been violated. I’m not sure it’s a healthy way to be a fan! But, of course, some people are just thinly disguised trolls:)

  3. Rafa sacrificed worsening the injury to his wrist so he would have the opportunity to play the Olympics and it paid off huge for him. A Gold medal in Doubles to add to his Gold medal in Singles from 2008 is just a dream come true for him. I am hoping that he will complete his collection and get a 3rd Gold medal at the next Olympics with Garbine in Mixed so that he will have all 3 concentrations in Tennis. Us fans are so proud of what Rafa has accomplished, even if it was at the expense of doing poorly at Cincinnati, but I think what Rafa did was well worth the effort he put forth at the Rio games. Vamos to such a great champion!!!!!!!!!

  4. Rafa i think you know exactly what you need to do,and that is rest before the US Open.

    As hard as you tried it is not possible to do it all.

    I know your feelings as I too have that same expectation of myself….go, go ,go go, then wonder why I need to stop, stop stop, and it is the best feeling when after stopping you feel all your energy slowly coming back and giving you oomph to go again.

    We all love you Rafa for who you are and I can’t wait for the Australian Open to see you there God willing.

    Take it EASY ,

    love and prayers,


  5. Hi rafe I am glad you back I am looking forward to seeing you play in the o2 again in November good luck for the rest of the season

  6. It seems that most players that beat Rafa get the Rafa curse, that is they lose in the next round! Coric is no exception. So glad to hear from Rafa that the wrist was not an issue in his match against Coric. However, this conflicts with what I saw on TV because the physio was massaging his wrist! Even though it was clear to see that physical fatigue and soreness got the better of Rafa, he is a creature of habit and doesn’t like to deviate much from what he’s used to. Reading his interview, I have come to the firm conclusion that, regardless of what anyone says Rafa’s fighting mentality means that he will battle on regardless. After all, he’s been used to fighting through pain all his career!


  7. His first match against Cuevas was good, 6 1 7 6, they should congratulate him for that in the report. Fiona in Paris


  9. As he said he needs rest physically, mentally and emotionally, easy to understand, he put everything into the Olympics. After months of not playing and then playing such a demanding schedule in Rio it was bound to take a toll. Winning Gold too is draining . Recover and rest Rafael, looking forward to seeing you in Flushing Meadows.

  10. I am also confused is the wrist not the problem then I am such a diehard Rafa fan and worry about him and want him to continue playing for as long as he can but if wrist now not the problem was he just tired after his many matches at the Olympics if this is the case then with a rest surely he will be ok for US open I really hope so as I am so looking forward to him playing fit and healthy Vamos Rafa always our champ

    • Margo, I have been following the conversations with you, Teresa and Fedallica, these are my thoughts. RAFA needed the recovery from his wrist injury, however since it was the year of the olympics and he missed 2012, and he was not sure if he would make the 2020 olympics so he
      decided to go.

      1) He would be flag bearer and represent his country and we know how patriotic he is and loves the team atmosphere.

      2) Once he got there, he said he’ll try all the categories giving himself MORE chances to win any medal.

      3) He started the games and surprised himself …………….his confidence, enjoyment and COMPETITIVENESS grew. Once these things with RAFA are in motion he’s like a FULL BUS, NO STOPS.

      4) The rains came and messed up the schedule, packing in many matches in a shorter period of time stressing his body and wrist with a shorter recovery time.

      5) He manages to get through singles and then of course the doubles final with his best friend Marc. They WIN and the emotion is so high, he pushes hard to go for singles because now RAFA thinks he is invincible, PUTTING his wrist injury and fatigue on the backseat. The other players have NOT played as much as him which he may have forgotten.

      6) When he loses to Kei for the bronze medal, he still wants to play with Garbine, but his doctor has to step in and say NO RAFA, NO MORE. he has done so much but he doesn’t see the singles medal so he thinks that he has not done well. He is crushed.

      7) He wants to ride the momentum and follow the other guys to Cincinnati and play more, his CONFIDENCE AND COMPETITIVENESS is still pushing him. He has to remember Kei, Juan and Andy have NOT played as much as him in the short time and they were tired too.

      8) He pushes through his first match and wins but BORNA has other ideas. RAFA was always tired and the wrist needed rest.

      9) His last point about the the wrist needing competition just means that IF HE DOES NOT SHOCK IT INTO COMPETITION IT WOULD MAKE HIS RECOVERY LONGER. In essence after injury you have to rest but you also have to get back the rhythm of competition it’s a delicate balance.

      10) RAFA went straight from rest and no matches into serious competition. He never eased into it by just ENJOYING BEING IN RIO AND TAKING SELFIES. That’s NOT who he is.

      11) RAFA does NOT want to FALL IN THE RANKING EITHER, he wants to fight for titles. Remember that based on the ranking this determines which side of the draw he falls on and facing more dangerous players in early rounds, especially in grand slams. In 2017, Roger will be facing this scenario.
      That is why he wanted the 2 year ranking system. It is hard on him no doubt, he can’t just focus like a healthy athlete. Even though we are seeing older players on tour they are not exactly competitive anyway. Plus, RAFA started so young winning titles and being at the top that he maybe tailing off. It’s peaks and valleys with athletes.

      12) He has the choice to play for a LONG time, take it easy and see a low ranking OR push his body through injury to remain at the top. He is NOT WILLING to retire below where he thinks he deserves to be. A HEALTHY RAFA is the number 1 player in the world where I am concerned.

      RAFA s’ career has been and will always be a slippery slope, with his injuries and the hectic schedule of the tour. His initial foot issue ( the bone structure) did contribute to his knee injuries and the style of his play. HE IS NOT A NATURAL LEFTY, so the serve is unnatural. This helps many players to get cheap points NOT always his case. The whipping forehand and spin which mesmerizes everyone adds more strain and pressure to this delicate joint. His knees, back and wrist are ALWAYS under pressure more so than other players. He has to overcompensate with his WILL. He is great at it until………………

      Then when he got injured he missed the tour and watched his competitors pass him. That is hard for a super competitive guy who made tennis so great. Then the press did him no favors and Roger seemed perfect. Why so darn unlucky for him, he just wants to play. Then Andy is there all the time and Nole starts to rise in 2011 adding MORE pressure to RAFA. He always has to remember that for someone like him through all of his injuries to still be in the top echelons of tennis and win so much is REMARKABLE.

      He then sounds so zen when he says that it’s okay when he loses, NOT TRUE he is trying to convince himself of this. When he does NOT smash a racket it’s taking EVERYTHING out if him not to, that’s why his OCD has become what it is. Nole and Andy let it all fly, yeah it looks bad but THEY get their frustrations out on court and they don’t have to deal with so many injuries. RAFA feels unlucky with injuries BUT lucky for the life he has. ALL HE WANTS IS TO COMPETE INJURY FREE. if only it were so simple, in 2015 …..MIND OVER MATTER, no longer stepped in to compensate for his injured body. His mind for once said NO, YOU MUST STOP AND LISTEN. It haunted him and he was a mere mortal like he should be. He lost many matches, but in hindsight it gave him the time off he needed, YES at the cost of losses and a barrage of negativity from the press. His MIND has been carrying his body for so long it needed rest for a change.

      So this is where we are at again with RAFA, TRYING TO GET THE BALANCE RIGHT BETWEEN INJURY, RECOVERY TIME, TOUR SCHEDULE and WINNING. Life and tour waits for no one, either you are there or not. It’s a good thing that when HE is not on tour we NEVER forget him because to me and many others who love him. RAFA IS TENNIS.

      He is NOT contradicting himself, there is NO ‘lost in translation’, with his interviews, there is NO selfishness from uncle Toni.


      Rafa, ” am I playing to win, or just enjoy”. He needs to answer this honestly.

      This is our tortured champion, the great RAFA. I have no idea what it feels like to be in his shoes and I don’t want to judge him, but just try to understand him better. We don’t have to make sense of why he does things, but it sure helps to keep us sane.

      RAFA fan forever. (No joke).

      • Gen, a pleasure to read your reasoned and balanced assesssment of Rafa. You have made many good points, sounds like a fair anaysis.

      • Gen, thanks for contributing your opinion on Rafa.

        I can’t speak for others but for me there are two Rafas: (1) the tennis champion, the Olympian, the individual who prompted me to become a first-time fan of anyone, and (2) the phobia and OCD sufferer who makes me wish I could wave a magic wand to help him. If I didn’t accept Rafa as Rafa, iI would not be a fan. As is human, when things appear illogical questions arise and with that inquiring minds search for answers or explanations. For me, this does not diminish his many accomplishments.

        In his response to the first question he responded, “….and especially without practicing.” Then in answer to the seventh question his response is, “I am well-prepared physically. I worked a lot at home and I practiced.”

        There are other inconsistencies in his interview but I’m not going to belabor that subject.

        Suffice it to say that I, as a fan, strive to understand him and answers would help even more. To enter a tournament when he knew he was at his limit and had little chance of competing, as the champion he is, is perplexing. The end result would be the same: not being able to compete and being eliminated early on.

        As to your point number six, he could not have played mixed doubles after his loss to Kei (8/14) because he pulled out
        mixed doubles on 8/11.

        For better or worse, Rafa is STUPENDOUS!!!

        RAFA ROCKS

  11. Rafa is so candid. I love it even if it might sometimes be better if he were not. It was ironic that Coric withdrew today 6-2, 0-0 with sore knees. I was wondering if Rafa was thinking of withdrawing. It was interesting to see his response. I just hope that he gets some rest and an easy draw in NYC.

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