INTERVIEW: Rafael Nadal’s pre-tournament presser – 2016 Shanghai Masters

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We just see your practice on court, and how about today’s performance? We see you have a long period of time to talk with your coach. You look not satisfied with your performance.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I was. Today I was satisfied. No, I practiced three hours. It’s normal that I speak with my coach about the things that we need to look for the future, not only for the immediate practice, and that’s what we were doing, no? Trying to realize what we need to work more for the next couple of months to try to be again ready for the beginning of the season. That’s it.

Q. Novak has spoken about not finding joy and happiness in tennis, searching for that in tennis. You spoke about confidence issues over the last few weeks and months. Are the two related, happiness on the court and being confident on the court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Confidence is when you win. That’s simple and easy, no? Losing, you don’t have confidence. Winning, you have confidence.

Being happy is away of the tennis court. The life is much more than tennis, for me, personally. My life always have been a lot of very important things away of tennis, and it’s true that the tennis have been for the last, I’d say, 20 years an important part of my life, for sure, but in life there is a lot of more important things than just the game. 

So happiness is the other things: the health of your family, the people who you love, and the health of them and be close to them. That’s, in my opinion, is happiness.

Q. Welcome to Shanghai. I’d like to ask you what’s your recent goal for this period and are you under a lot of pressure and how do you deal with it?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not a lot of pressure, no? My only pressure is try to feel myself well on court, enjoy doing what I am doing, and that’s what I’m doing, no?

That’s it. The goal is just try to finish the season the better way possible. Having very painful injury in the worst moment of the year, it’s tough to be back and especially when you are back and still with pain. You need to be back because of events that you cannot miss, but that’s it.

No, no, no. I happy the way that I was playing before the injury, and when I came back I played good matches and other ones not that good. But as always, just to keep working hard as I did today, as I did yesterday, as I do every day to recover the level of my tennis before the injury.

Q. This season is coming to end. So are you satisfied with your performance up to now? What is your next goal in your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I’m not satisfied with my performance because I get injury for two months and a half. Injured two months and a half, and you miss very important events. When you come back without practice and you have to compete to another important event without having practice and matches on your shoulders, so it’s difficult to be satisfied, no?

I think if you ask me if I was satisfied during the period Indian Wells, between Indian Wells and Roland Garros, yes. I had been competing for every tournament that I played and competing against all the players with good chances to have success. And that’s the most important thing, no?

So the level of tennis had been high during that period of time, but, you know, take a lot of effort for me. I worked so hard to be what I was in that moment, so when you break the rhythm with an injury is a little bit unlucky, and you need to accept and give more. And that’s what I’m doing. Has been a difficult moment of the year, and I am trying to finish well and try to be ready again for the next season. That’s my real goal.

Q. There is a lot of talk about the next generation of guys coming through. How do you feel of their position? Do any of those players particularly impress you looking to the future?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yeah. We have been playing on the tour a lot of years without new generation that we have today. Is true that there is a new generation of very young players that they are so good. So that’s something that happened during the history of our sport.

This is the normal thing that should happen, must happen, and finally happened. So is good for tennis and is good for the tour and for the fans too, I think.

Q. You have had a lot of injury problems. It’s been a tough year for you. But how close or how far away are you from being able to play at your best level?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe few days ago, maybe few months ago, or maybe further. I don’t know. You cannot predict what’s going on in the future.

Q. You have been doing this obviously for a long time. What’s the best thing about being a tennis player at your level? The satisfaction of competing and winning? Money? Seeing the world? What would you say?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, seeing the world, not. Of course we don’t have a lot of time. We travel a lot and we cannot visit the places.

No, the most beautiful thing, I think, is that you go around the world and you feel the love of the people. That’s the real thing, no? You go on the court and you feel the support of the people. You go around, and, you know, when you do the things the right way, you feel the support of the people.

For me, personally, when you go on court and you see the people supporting you, that’s the most satisfying thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. What is so wonderful about Rafa is that he is a superb athlete, but an even greater person. We are so lucky to be his fans! Good luck tomorrow.

  2. “For me, personally, when you go on court and you see the people supporting you, that’s the most satisfying thing.”

    Oh Rafa and you have the most fan support of any player on the courts right now. Over 25 million in support! We all love you and your humility and humble demeanor. You are so genuinely sweet and that’s why so many all over the world love you! Vamos and play with your heart and soul Rafa!

  3. RNF why have you stopped giving us match times for Beijing and Shanghai? I can’t seem to find them anywhere!

  4. I liked two answers of Rafa:
    1. Happiness is being healthy of self and the people around one loves – not money or fame!
    2. Happiness is not traveling around the world but feeling the love of spectators support when one does the right things on court!
    Rafa never blamed his racquet or the balls for his failings on court – unlike most, he never broke his racquet despite disappoints of his performance. I think, that speaks a lot about him!

  5. True to yourself. True to your fans. True to the world! That’s why I love you Rafa. You are honest, realistic and fully aware that the ‘next generation’ are biting at the heels of the top players. Furthermore, you respect the game and all players. You are very happy off court with your family and friends which is so important as tennis, like most other sports, is such a short period of an athlete’s life. Good luck Rafa as you move forward. As long as you still have the passsion and motivation for the game good things will happen. 👍👍👍👄👄👄❤️❤️❤️

  6. Having witnessed your appreciation for your fans who waited to greet you after a
    practice, I know you are true to your word. No other player at the tournament
    stayed to sign every autograph and take every selfie before leaving. It was a hot day in Indian Wells, and it was at least a two hour practice. A lady kept up a running commentary while you practiced, and, at the end, you gave your hat to her child. It was a memorable moment. Stay healthy-you have taught us about
    tennis, about the joy and suffering of competition, and how to stay true to your own values. 👏💪👍♥️

  7. Rafa y Pablo, enhorabuena para el trofeo de los dobles en China. Espana sigue jugando. Buena suerte para Shanghai, esperamos verla pronto en Paris. En esta entrevista dice que no tiene el tiempo para visitar los lugares pero si, en Paris la hemos visto dando un paseo y en el Cafe de la Paix e la Opera para sus cumpleanos, sabemos que Paris le gusta tambien que a nos. La fachada de la Opera es impresionante, verdad? El teatro Opera en Madrid es menos. Espero venir pronto a Mallorca y visitar la Academia, lastima que falta la medalla de argento que ver. Hasta luego, espero. Fiona en Paris

  8. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍rafa est le meilleur et il le restera ❤❤❤❤❤il est ds les anales du tennis et celà à jamais 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

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