Rafael Nadal says he doesn’t need a mental coach

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

Q. How do you feel after this victory in five sets?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, happy. Is obviously that is an important result for me. I lost the last couple of ones, matches in the fifth. So is important for me to win a match like this, losing two sets to one… Very happy.

Q. How confident were you as the game went on? Did you think your experience would come into play against the younger player?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I know, I say the other day, no? Is a tough match. Is a player that has an amazing potential. He is able to produce great shots. He’s already one of the best players of the world.

He can be even better. He can be fighting for the most important things. So I think he will do it.

Q. When was the last time you felt you had this kind of fight in you, this kind of excitement as you did in this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I did. I did in the US Open, but I lost. I did. I played against Pouille, a good match, a good fight.

I came back after two sets to one, break up in the fifth, 30-Love, 4-3, 30-Love. Then I lost the match.

I had that feeling there. But change when you lose the match or when you win.

For the confidence, for lot of things, are very important to win these kind of matches, no? I worked a lot during all December to have the chances to compete well this these kind of moments. Even if I start the match with some nerves, I think I was able to came back well, no?

Is true that I lost the third in the tiebreaker. But in my opinion, I was playing better than him in the third. The serve is a part of the tennis, you know. His serve was huge in the third set. A lot of big percentage, a lot of good serves, no?

I tried to be in front, be close to the baseline, then little bit farther. But he was serving huge, no?

Was a tough set for me. But mentally I have been very positive during the whole match. In terms of physical performance, I felt great, ready for run for every ball, so…

In terms of level of tennis, I think I finished the match playing much better than what I started the match, no? That’s a very important thing.

Q. The last time that you played a big, big fight and you won it, in your memory, which one is this, the one that you consider more or less the same level?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t remember now. Sorry.

Q. You could play again Monfils in the next round. Can I have your thoughts about this match.
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s the No. 6 in the world, no? He’s playing great. He had an amazing year last year. He started the season again playing very well.

Going to be a big, big match. Very tough one. I need to play my best.

Q. Do you think playing a four-hour match like that in a way is a positive or a negative going forward? Do you think it’s good preparation for the second week?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am in the second week, so that’s always a good preparation, no? The bad news if you are not in the second week.

Doesn’t matter how you arrive to the second week. If you are not injured, the most important thing is be there. I did. I won three great matches. Especially this last one is a very important one for me, no?

I hope to be ready. As I say before, no, my body was good during the whole match. Let’s see how I wake up tomorrow. But I believe that I’m going to be fine.

Q. What does Carlos add to the whole process of your tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: Let’s wait little bit, no? Things are not like this (snapping fingers). I have been working with Carlos and Toni together, and Francis only for one month, no? Need some time.

I was practicing great before Carlos came to the team. With Carlos on the team now, is something different and special for me. Helps in some ways, no? Is important for me to have the chance to do exercises with him. He knows, as I said the other day, he knows very well my game, he knows what I need to do.

Here, with Toni, are doing a great couple. So very happy for that. Both of them are talking a lot between each other. They are talking a lot with me. So I am very happy about how the things are going in these terms.

I believe when Francis going to come for Acapulco and Indian Wells, going to be a great thing for me, no? Have three coaches is important for me because every one give me a different thing, and every one knows me since I was a kid, no? That’s great for me.

For me is important to have people that I know well me around me. I have confidence with them. They have confidence with me. Most important thing is to have good human persons around you, and I have.

Q. You told the crowd it was a special night for you. Did you mean it from just you had such an incredible fight, it was so exciting to be in that match? What was your meaning in that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is always special play in this court, no? I had a lot of important matters for me in this court. I have sad moments, but at the same time I have unforgettable moments.

Is always a special play in this Rod Laver Arena. Is a great crowd. Is a great atmosphere always. The court is amazing, so beautiful.

I feel the support of the crowd. For me that means a lot, no? Just that fact give me a lot of positive energy and a lot of motivation to keep going and keep fighting every day.

It’s so nice when you are worked a lot and receive the support of the crowd. Is something difficult to describe.

Q. When you realized Alexander was cramping up in the fifth game of the final set, did you do anything different then?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, I am just focus on my game in that moment. I believed that he had some issues during one game and a half, but then he recover well. My feeling is he had some issue in the last few points of that break in the 2-All and then in the next game that I served.

But then he started to serve huge again, hitting great, great balls. To have the second break, I had to play some amazing points. Was not a game that he give me the ball. He had a lot of unforced errors, no? I had to play a forehand down the line. I had to play a dropshot, a great dropshot, and then a return winner, no? Was a big game for me.

These kind of cramps are because of nerves, too. I had these things in the past. Happens, but then goes. I know how these things works, so I was trying to be very focused on what I have to do to win the match, no? I just try to think that I have to do my normal game without thinking about what’s going on on the next part of the court.

Q. You mentioned before you have three coaches. Some players have also mental coaches. I would like to know your opinion about a mental coach. Apparently there are lots of players who have mental coaches, but they don’t say it. What is your opinion about it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody’s free to do whatever. Most important thing is don’t bother the other persons, no? If you are happy with what you are doing, I don’t have an opinion, no?

My only opinion is if you need a mental coach, and works better for you than without a mental coach, great for you and do it. If you don’t need a mental coach, don’t take it. That’s it, no?

Everybody’s free to do what works better. Nobody is the same. There is no two players with the same mentality.

Q. You don’t think you need it?

Source: Australian Open


  1. Rafa what a game against Sasha.

    The more experienced of the two showed despite the huge serves of your opponent.

    Congratulations for playing a game with everything given,

    love and prayers,


  2. The psyche of a champion. Those moments when you feel the crowd, know your
    opponent, and sense confidence and control are moments of beauty and perfection. When you are there in the stadium, these moments are stunningly
    palpable and literally breathtaking. They separate Rafael and Roger from the rest
    of the pack.☯️

  3. EXCELLENT RAFA !!! ho lalalalala quel match bravo pour ta combativité et pour ta belle victoire ….
    VAMOOOOOOOSSSSSSS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. LOL. I guess the interviewer missed Moyà’s interview.
    Carlos said that Rafa will gain more confidence the more matches he wins. He clearly stated that Rafa was not ready to play the Olympics. Had he been with the team at that time, I feel from his interview that he would have done everything in his power to dissuade Rafa from playing.
    Moyà’s concern is keeping Rafa healthy, i.e., not playing while injured. He more than likely made that clear to Rafa. Moyà expressed his deep satisfaction about how he is working with the team. How he is another voice, a trusted voice that Rafa will be comfortable with.
    He will be reinforcing the need for Rafa to close out points better than he has been doing, among other tweaks. He is seeking the evolution of Rafa, not a change of a fourteen-time Grand Slam winner.


    • Margo, I bet Rafa realized that it was too soon for the Olympics, but he was not sure that he would be playing for the next one.

      • Yes, I agree. I think Rafa said something to the effect that nothing was going to stop him from playing.

        I believe Carlos’ mention of the Olympics was to indicate he will not allow Rafa to play if there is any question of a possible injury. Heal first and miss a tournament instead of play injured and miss many tournaments is my understanding. Carlos did not say exactly what he and Rafa discussed but he asked Rafa what his goals were. I think Rafa’s response is what sealed the deal.

        RAFA ROCKS

    • He wanted to play Olympics so badly,he would not listen to anyone. Nobody could change his mind about playing Olympics.That is the ultimate satisfaction and proud for every sportsmen.

      • And he surely didn’t listen to me if he read my comments. LOL
        I am not an athlete and can only imagine the swell of pride one must feel in winning an Olympic medal.

        RAFA ROCKS

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