Rafael Nadal comments on possibly playing Roger Federer in Australian Open final

Q. What does it mean to be back in the semifinals of a slam?
RAFAEL NADAL: Great. Is a good news. Especially winning against difficult players: Monfils quarterfinals, Zverev round of 16, and now Raonic. I think all of them are top players. So that’s very important for me because that mean that I am competitive and playing well, no?

So just excited about be back in final rounds of the most important events. You know, I am here to try to make this, no? Is always difficult, but I fighted and I worked hard to try to make that happen.

Very happy that after a lot of work, be in this round again. Is special thing for me, especially here in Australia.

Q. Has it felt like you were far away from this round, the semifinals, or you feel like you’ve been close in the last couple years?
RAFAEL NADAL: Depends, no? I missed a couple of slams for injuries. Last year, obviously, here I was far. In the US Open I was close because was in the round of 16, having 4-3, 30-Love in the fifth. I was close to make that happen, but didn’t.

Here happen. So happy for that. Playing and competing very well during the whole event. That’s very important for me.

Q. Milos said compared to Brisbane you’ve changed things tactically against him, maybe the return position. Can you just share some things about that.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I received inside the court. In Brisbane I was receiving like six, seven meters behind the baseline.

I watched the match before, and I decided to go in, no? Talking with Toni, with Carlos, we know that we needed to change that. Before the match we were talking about trying to combine, you know, returning sometimes very close to the baseline and sometimes back.

But the real thing is I felt well from inside, and I felt that I was putting some pressure on him, so I decided to stay in almost all the time, no? So happy for that.

Happy because in Brisbane, I think I was close. I was very, very close. I have probably one point away, one passing shot away. But I didn’t make that happen. It’s true that after that I lost little bit the court, no? I was playing little bit more defensive.

Today I think I was there. Even for moments he played so good from the baseline, I was there trying to stop his aggressive shots and don’t losing court, don’t losing meters behind the baseline, not too many. That’s important change for me.

Anything can happen, no? You can win, you can lose these kind of matches. Decides in a few points. In the second set, he could win the second set for sure, no? Finally I won. Today was for me.

I feel very happy for my attitude and for the tennis, too. I hitted some great passing shots. That’s good news for me. When I make that happen, it’s because I’m playing well.

Q. Six of the eight semifinalists across men’s and women’s are 30 or over. Do you think there’s a reason for that or is it just a coincidence?
RAFAEL NADAL: Happened this time. I don’t know. I talk about my tour that I know. The other tour I don’t know very well.

The thing is there is a new generation playing so good, no?

Q. Is it getting easier for older guys on tour?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I think is getting tougher now. I think now there is really a new very good generation. Probably few years ago things were a little bit different, but now there’s lot of good young kids, no?

It’s going to be tough to make that happen again.

Q. You’re playing the only player in the semifinals who is not 30. Do you think he’s potentially the pick of the younger breed of players coming through as a major winner potentially?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody thinks that he’s a potential major winner, no? But he was there probably little bit later than what we thought because he’s, I don’t know, 26, 27.

Q. 25.
RAFAEL NADAL: 25, still young. But that’s not the new generation. He’s a player that have been on the tour for a lot of years already. He’s a player that has an unbelievable talent, unbelievable potential. He started the season playing unbelievable, no?

Is going to be a very tough match for me. I hope for him, too. I going to try to play my best because I know he’s playing with high confidence.

Q. Weak and amateur players, when they play somebody with a very strong serve, there is an important moment, they almost pray for the other one to make a double-fault. I would like to know if something like that happens and goes through the mind also of a top player like you? Raonic is serving for the set with his huge serve. Are you hoping when he misses the first serve that he doesn’t put the second serve in or not?
RAFAEL NADAL: I really don’t understand the question.

Q. I’ll try again.
RAFAEL NADAL: Okay.

Q. The weak players, sometimes when they have to face someone with a very huge serve, they pray, Let’s hope that he makes a double-fault. I would like to know if a player like you also has these thoughts in the mind or you don’t even ever think about it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I never thought about double-fault in that moment, because if you think about double-fault, probably you will not be ready to return the serve.

The real thing is, he miss the first serve. But he serve, if I’m not wrong, 223, and I putted a great return. Then in the second serve, I was not expecting a double-fault, for sure, playing a big server like Raonic, no? Just happened and just can say thanks God for that. In a point like this, that was so important.

Q. Can I ask about the tape on your fingers. Is that for blisters? How painful is it when you play without the tape?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the real thing is if you watch me play for a while, I have been using that for a lot of years, no? Is nothing new for me.

The problem with my skin is when I change, for example we play here, I come back to Europe, is colder, the humidity is different. The skin suffers, no? There is some spots on the fingers that always was blisters or open.

I was tired of that. A lot of years ago I decided to put the tape every day on the places that happens. So after that, I am not suffering any more.

Q. You don’t have more than usual? It’s just the same?
RAFAEL NADAL: The same like always, yeah.

Q. The tennis world is now looking at the fact that the final might be a vintage final between yourself and Roger. Do you give yourself the luxury to look ahead a little bit and think what might be?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, let me enjoy today, the victory, being in semifinal. For me is a great news again. Is a good start of the season.

Now I have a very tough match against Dimitrov. What happens on the other side of the draw, I think is great for tennis that Roger is there again after an injury, after a lot of people talks about always the same things, that probably he will never be back.

The real thing is that he’s back and he’s probably ready to win again, fighting again to win a major. That’s the real thing, and that’s good for the fans because Roger is a legend of our sport, no?

I am happy to be there, too. I am focused on my semifinals.

Source: Australian Open

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29 thoughts on “Rafael Nadal comments on possibly playing Roger Federer in Australian Open final

  1. Margo

    In this interview, Rafa let it be known just what he thought his chances were in beating Dimitrov.

    Rafa: “Everybody thinks that he’s [Grigor] a potential major winner, no? But he was there probably a little bit later than what we thought, because he’s, I don’t know, 26?, 27?”

    Q. 25

    Rafa: Still young. But that’s not the new generation. He’s a player that [has] been on the tour for a lot of years already.”
    Then Rafa cleans it up by saying how talented, the potential, etc., of Dimitrov.
    This is great stuff. Rafa knew that he could best Grigor in this match.

    RAFA IS THE COOLEST!

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  2. Margo

    A Fedal final is what we will see and I hope it is as exciting as their previous matches.

    I am so very happy for you Rafa. Did you know you were going to outlast your side of the draw….I think you did.

    WITH YOU THROUGH THICK AND THIN!!!!

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  3. Should it be a fairy tale Fedal final, I will be cheering and rooting for Rafa all the way! Just think if he can win the AO he surely will be able to win RG! I feel like Moya is doing a good job… John McEnroe said Rafa was playing the baseline and it was throwing Milos off! VAMOS RAFA…win Gregor and give all your fans and all Roger’s fans( which could be millions & millions) that Fedal final!

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  4. OLA OLA OLA OLA & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Have a great time and a beautiful day! : ) Congratulations on all your classy victories!!!! : ) Each match and each victory so brilliant and special….very exciting and fun !!!!!!! : ) VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) When we see your efforts on the court we feel such deep admiration for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) You are such an incredibly hard worker!!!!!! : ) It is simply magnificent to see it all in action each time you step on the court!!!!!!! : ) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU MAKE VIEWING TENNIS SUCH A DELIGHT!!!!!!!!!! : ) Love your match photos and interviews !!!!!!! : ) !!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) πŸ™‚ : ) : ) You have such natural way about you and respond with dignity and respect. KUDOS!!!! : )
    Have a great day sweetheart & beautiful time with THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Very happy for you !!!!!!!! : ) Enjoy lots & lots & lots of fun playing your magic!!!!!!!! : ) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ : ) It will be a great evening and another great match for you!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) πŸ™‚ ci…….ci…..ci…..ci….and ci……: ) OH YES SENIOR !!!!!! : ) Have a fabulous joy knowing you have THE IT FACTOR ! : ) : ) : ) : ) Your fantastic game is powerful, and commanding, and your points are nice & clean, strong, skillful, feisty, deep and creative !!!!! : ) oh yeh…..ALL SO FULL OF PASSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) It is all so enjoyable to watch because YOUR TENNIS HAS SUBSTANCE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) You show such high respect and fortitude with each move and YOU have the brilliance to make it all look so smooth and graceful ….ci…..ci…..ci…..& ci…… YOU HAVE SUCH A GREAT SERVE DEAR RAFA !!!!!!!!!! : ) Very impressive & effective!!!!!! : ) Your ENDURANCE so bright and your striking VOLLEYS are as BEAUTIFUL as your REACH & SPEED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) In short, you are a very very special TENNIS GENIUS!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) It is adoring to see the crowds and hear the announcers praising your fantastic Tennis !!!!!!!! : ) Very happy for you sweetheart and LOVE how you have fun playing your beautiful classy tennis!!!!!!! : ) Putting your best drive and passion on the court, that’s all!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Enjoy everything and keep smiling and celebrating with THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Always so precious and spontaneous, you are A GIANT in strength , determination, character and sportsmanship!!!!!! : ) !!!!!! : ) KUDOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) Have a great time and VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Have a very nice evening !!!!! : ) Lots of love & happiness to you & THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

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  5. mjus

    well federer is in the final and not stan. Now its up to nadal to win his semifinal against grigor. Dimitrov is unbeaten this year and is playing very fast and hitting the ball very flat. So this will certainly not easy for rafa. He needs to stay close to the baseline and serve very well and play very agressive. His groundstrokes need to be very deep through the baseline. Moreover try to come to the net and try to keep the points short.

    First set will determine the match. I hope rafa wins the first set in order so to put the pressure on grigor. If rafa get through this match I think he should be happy to face roger instead of stan because stan is unbeatable in grandslam finals and normally plays his best match in the final

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  6. Maria (England)

    Rafa and Roger are both in a good head space , they seem so relaxed and their interviews on the court have been so much fun with witty comments from both. It has to be a Rafa and Roger final anything less will be disappointing.

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  7. Maria (England)

    Rafa , I hope you enjoyed watching the Roger/Stan match , your old pal won through in the end . Half of the dream team through now it’s up to you to make the rest happen . I know you can do it , show them Rafa and Roger are here to stay for a long time yet πŸ’—

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  8. I’m so excited Rafa – congrats, congrats, congrats Rafa my son. You’re right Rafa “one day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of you” ….. ENJOY each Win n play your hardest in the next big encounter n hope to win! So near n yet so far – I live in Perth which is only 3.1/2 hrs flight to Melbourne n I wish I could see you play in person n meet you – maybe next year with a little bit of luck. I’m so happy you thanked God at one stage. I always pray to God to help you right through the whole match Rafa! Maria looks so pretty. She has a beautiful smile, like you. I’m so glad she was a “Wild Card”!!!! VAMOS Rafa. God bless you n your team. Enjoy my country. Love from your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. β³πŸ‘‘ πŸŽˆπŸŽˆπŸ˜€πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‡

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  9. I am so happy for you Rafa, sailing through to semifinals. Keep on serving good and hold your nerves as you having being doing since the begining of this Open. Actually, I was affraid to watch the quarter final against Raonic because of his big service.
    I thank God you are proving your critics wrong.
    GO ON RAFA.

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    1. Margo

      YES! The critics had no idea what Rafa had up his sleeve. I knew he would be back to shame them all.

      I felt that something big was up when he left the tour. I was hoping that he would eventually announce that a decision was made about adding a new team member. So happy he is on his way to fulfilling his dream of “playing the best to be the best.” [His words.]

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

  10. CanaDiana

    Hey, enjoy the moment, just as Rafael always says. Amazingly, some do not
    relish a Roger-Rafael final, wanting new faces. Writers are so entrenched in
    believing that these two are ready to retire, when, truth be told, there are many
    players in their late twenties or early thirties who simply never achieved the
    Federer/Nadal success. So…..roll on-celebrate this incredible era
    πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†

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  11. Maria (Siberia)

    A Rafa-Roger final, a Fedal?
    I dont yet see this happening as Dimitrov and Stanimal are poised to spoil the fun!
    Indeed in my recent publicized prediction, I listed 8 possible winners of the AO and guess what?….Dimitrov was ahead of the pack!!!

    Even now, my prediction remains unchanged. A Fedtrov is more likely to happen on Sunday to produce a new champion altogether,

    But as always, we’ll see………….Hmmmnn

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    1. Margo

      it is you who has been working assiduously to “spoil the fun.”

      RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS RAFA ROCKS

      Like

  12. HO yes !!! ce serai vraiment cool de vous revoir ensemble sur le court et surtout de nous rΓ©galer de votre super tennis …. le rΓ©sultat on sans fou rien de vous revoir ensemble nous aurons notre victoire …..VAMOOOOOOOOOSSSSSS ……

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    1. Margo

      Rafa, Roger said that neither of you would have believed you would potentially be meeting in a grand slam final when you got together to open your academy just a few months ago.
      “I was on one leg, he [Rafa] had the wrist injury, and we were playing some mini-tennis with some juniors and we said, ‘That’s the best we can do right now.'”
      “A few months later, we’re potentially going to be in the final. I think it’s been a very special tournament for both of us already.”

      Roger has been carrying an upper leg injury but he’s not worried about it. Nothing will stop him [sound familiar?] from taking to the court and fighting it out for a fifth Australian Open crown on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
      “I’ll leave it all out here in Australia and if I can’t walk again for another five months, that’s okay. I’ll give it my best shot.
      It feels amazing. I never ever in my wildest dreams thought I would come this far in Australia. I have a couple of days off. It’s beautiful. I’m so happy.”
      [Reuters, timesofindia.com, 1/26/2017, 08.18 PM IST]

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

  13. Maria (England)

    Good luck to Roger tomorrow ,I’m wanting a Rafa /Roger final and looking forward to a great match. Game,set and Mats on Eurosport 1 is worth a watch, they catch up on the day’s events , and John McEnroe’s slot each night is so funny . Good luck on Friday RafaπŸ€

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  14. Mac

    Enjoy the good vibes Rafa. It’s good that he’s going through the analysis of how he’s lost before etc etc.

    Rafa needs to clean up on those unforced errors where he dumps the ball into the net from a great position. Instead of a winner, he ends up giving away free points.

    Anyway, great going so far for Rafa. Please continue!

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  15. Jason

    Good interview, and a good insight and analysis by Rafa! Now, as fans, I know, on this website, the critical questions better not be asked (otherwise: a ban hangs above your head – see my colleague, who asked questions like this, even now, no replies from the moderator on the why….where is the Deep Thinker, where is DMTNA, banned, disappeared, like a dog in downton Shanghai). But I do it anyways, taking a risk: where was this analysis in the last three years? Rafa acknowledging that he lost in Brisbane because he was 6-7 meters behind the baseline (6-7 meters!! if my colleague would write that, she’d be crucified, because that we be considered slander! the Margo’s of this website would have killed her!). Shame on all of you!

    It is totally Rafa style, protecting his team, to say that the analysis was with Toni and Carlos. My guess is, this is Carlos his contribution. It really seems as if finally someone is on board who puts the finger on the painful spot and is able to put Rafa back inside that baseline. Thank God for that, and let’s stay very positive: this major is there for the taking. And it will be the most impressive of all the 15!!!!!

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    1. Serve out

      Totally agree about the wasted 2 years. In any case better late than never. Really happy for Rafa. The sad part about the 2 years was all the heart and hard work could have been coupled with sound advise (that clearly was missing). If it was Carlos who has brought about this change, all power to him. Even if #15 does not happen here, I am happier and excited thinking about what lays ahead with this +ve and aggressive approach. Vamos.

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    2. Hi, Seems many fans and reporters have brought the standing far on baseline returns notion , and have been most vocal for the past 2 years…..so nothing new here…. the reality is Rafa is improving his serve, his fitness, his reach and net etc….so the baseline returns are apart of his over all improvement and no big deal need be made of that. He knew all along what he needs to do without a doubt. He is a bright, well seasoned intelligent player. He is such a practical and realistic player and he does what feels right to him on the court . Over his entire blessed Tennis career, I always notice his intuitive adjustments, mixing winners, changing his returns and mixing his serve whenever he can…….So I like that you are looking at his progress in positive eyes and encouraging words here. Let us all celebrate that he is improving in all areas and say a massive grand VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

      Like

    3. Hi, Seems many fans and reporters have brought the standing far on baseline returns notion , and have been most vocal for the past 2 years…..so nothing new here…. the reality is Rafa is improving his serve, his fitness, his reach and net etc….so the baseline returns are apart of his over all improvement and no big deal need be made of that. He knew all along what he needs to do without a doubt. He is a bright, well seasoned intelligent player. He is such a practical and realistic player and he does what feels right to him on the court . Over his entire blessed Tennis career, I always notice his intuitive adjustments, mixing winners, changing his returns and mixing his serve whenever he can…….So I like that you are looking at his progress in positive eyes and encouraging words here. Let us all celebrate that he is improving in all areas and say a massive grand VAMOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

      Like

      1. Margo

        You are right Fan Love, about Rafa knowing what he should have been doing regarding the baseline. However, he was uncomfortable doing it. Carlos convinced him to use that plan and to not deviate from it.

        Something of note, to me anyway, is the fact that Carlos asked Mark Philippoussis to work with Rafa. The practice these two did was directed at a specific opponent: Raonic. This targeted, opponent-specific practice may also have helped Rafa win.

        RAFA ROCKS

        Like

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