Rafael Nadal: I don’t think about finals when I am in the third round, no?

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy during his second round Men's Singles match on Day Three of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Aug. 30, 2016 - Source: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images North America)
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy during his second round Men’s Singles match on Day Three of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was it like playing out there before and after the roof closed? Did you notice any change?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is good. Is great to be the first player to play with the roof closed, on the competition, because I was the first player to hit in the center court with the roof closed.

Just happy. The difference is not many. No big difference. With the roof open there is no wind at all, so is not a big change. And the roof is so high you don’t feel that you are closed, no? That’s my feeling. Today I didn’t feel the change.

Is great. Is an unbelievable, unbelievable court. So nice.

Q. Garbine and some other players were talking about the noise. Did you notice the general noise?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, that surprised me. Was a little bit more noise than usual. No, I didn’t feel the difference when the roof was closed and when the roof was open, but is true that for the first… You get used later.

But in the beginning, in tennis, normally you are used to play with silence.

I don’t know, with the new court, even if the roof is open, there is more noise out there. Normally probably is not the fault of the people, because I have been playing here for so many years and I don’t remember that noise when you are playing, no?

Was little bit strange. For moments was little bit too much during the points. I always love the energy and the noise of the New York crowd. Is just fantastic. You know, I feel very close to them because I play with a lot of passion, and they give me that electricity, that passion, no?

But is true that was a little bit more noisy than usual.

Q. Was it frustrating at times with the noise? Do you feel like it can be a distraction moving forward for you and for other players at this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. The only thing they have to control a little bit better when the gates are open and when the gates are closed. They have to close the gates not when finish the minute, you know, when the change. They don’t have to close the gate when that minute is finish, they have to close few seconds before.

Every time you waiting. I know is so difficult because the court is very big. Is so difficult.

Yeah, but from the people who are inside, should be a little bit of rules that, you know, they cannot leave his seat during the game. They have to leave the seat when is a changeover, no? That’s all. That’s not a big deal. Is not a big distraction. That’s the rules of tennis that normally happen. That’s all.

Q. Would you say there is much more difference in Australia and Wimbledon when the roof is closed than here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel it’s little bit different because here the roof is higher. How much higher is the roof, less feeling of indoor court you have.

Q. Talk about how you felt out there tonight, your second match, how the wrist felt, the forehand, how it feels to be back in the third round of a major.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I was in the third round on Roland Garros, but I didn’t play.

The real thing is not big thing be in the third round again. But for sure every match is important. That’s my philosophy. That’s my way to play every tournament, no?

Every round is important. Every point is important. Today was a good win. I think first set was unfair because 6-0 was not the right result. Had been lot of chances for both of us in lots of games, so should be much closer.

I feel that I played little bit more aggressive than the first round. I feel myself better than in the first round. That’s always a positive thing, feel you are improving a little bit during the event. That’s the way I need to keep improving.

Next round is very tough opponent. I know him well. I played him this year I think at the beginning of the season in Doha. He’s aggressive player. He has lots of big shots from the baseline and he’s very dangerous. I need to improve, playing longer, playing higher, changing speeds, changing the rhythm of the ball with the slice, and then every time I need to hit more forehands winner.

The last forehand of the match was great. I hit some good forehands down the line again. That’s important shot for me, no? It’s important for me to hit that cross high forehand, but then change the forehand down the line. When I am able to change the forehand down the line, then the cross high with lot of spin, cross-court forehand, have a bigger impact.

Q. Who do you expect to play in the finals?
RAFAEL NADAL: In the finals?

Q. Yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t expect. I don’t think about finals when I am in the third round, no? That’s the real thing. I didn’t have been in the finals for a while. I’m coming back from an injury. For me is impossible now to think about these kind of things.

I’m going day by day. I’m happy to be back on the tour. I’m happy that the wrist is improving. Now I am focused on trying to practice well tomorrow morning.

Q. Milos Raonic lost. How does that change your outlook in the draw?
RAFAEL NADAL: My draw is Kuznetsov. That’s the real thing. Probably is a negative thing for the tournament that Milos lost, because he is the number third on the race. He is one of the stars of the world. Is true that is one competitor of me during the season, especially because I have been out for two months. He is higher than me on the race.

If I am able to play a good tournament here is going to be a positive thing, but the real thing is I am going day by day, no? Sorry for Milos. Happens. I think he felt bad on the court. I saw him little bit. Probably was cramping little bit. From the end of the second set I feel he could not move much.

The day was very heavy, very humid. Was not very hot, but very humid. That’s always dangerous.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, via US Open


  1. I am SO SORRY to have missed Rafa’s win yesterday. I was unavoidably kept from watching it. BUT KNOW THIS: I was definitely ROOTING for our RAFA!!! VAMOS RAFA!!! ADELANTE COMO SIEMPRE!!!!

  2. Rafa making history again….how can this guy not be the GOAT! Love the new Arthur Ashe stadium …so fitting for such an extraordinary man! How great it will be with no disappointing weather delays…Rafa really played great on it, both with roof open and closed! With Milos out…Novak not up to par, you just never know!! VAMOS RAFA!

  3. Rafa start thinking about the final because if you keep playing like you did today you will be in it ( with Andy I hope).

  4. CORRECTION re firsts: Rafa was first to practice on the new court with the rooftop closed, and first to be playing when the rooftop had to be closed.

    In Rafa’s post second-set on-court interview, I saw a very confident Rafa. Love his form fitting shirt and shorts, all in black. Reminds me of another Spaniard heartthrob, Antonio Banderas.

    The fact that Rafa’s English has vastly improved, he speaks more fluidly than before, may make him feel a lot more comfortable when responding to questions. He was just so comfortable at this interview and the fans responded with delight. I remember him saying in Australia I think, that when he was younger interviews were a lot more fun because he knew only a few words. Well now he just had a fun interview during which he spoke extensively and seemed very happy doing it. Practically no fidgeting, tucking or pulling. WOW!!!!


  5. Rafa. i didn’t see the game but from all I read it sounded very strong on your behalf,
    and stands you in good stead for your next game.

    All; the best Rafa,with your practice and next games.

    Love and Prayers,


  6. Rafa makes it first, again: he is the first to score a point in the new stadium, and the first to be playing with its new roof closed. Again he makes history!!!

    During Rafa’s post second-set interview, I was happy to see him so animated, really relaxed, laughing and all smiles. He seems like a rejuvenated Rafa. I am thrilled that he loves the renovated stadium. He made special mention that even with the roof closed, it is so high that you keep that free feeling of openness. It cuts down on the wind but seems to raise the noise level. He was adamant about spectators staying in their seat until a break, and not leaving during play which can be distracting.

    And Rafa is game! He accepted the challenge to try to hit a ball through the rooftop. Almost made it.

    RAFA, with the energy you displayed today, with winning your second match, with your sense of humor on full display, with your eagerness to accept the ball through the roof challenge, with what seems like a younger Rafa with that positive energy flowing through your magnificent “bod” … YOU ARE JUST TOOOO ROCKIN COOL!!!

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