Rafael Nadal: Uncle Toni isn’t leaving to China (Wimbledon 2017: 4th round presser)

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Rafael Nadal talks to the media after the 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 13-15 defeat against Gilles Muller.

Q. How would you describe the match that you just played?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he played well. I think I didn’t play my best the first two sets. I make a couple mistakes that make me then play all the time against the score. And that’s so difficult against a player like him.

So well done for him. He played well. Especially in the fifth, he played great game. I was there, fighted until the last ball, with the right attitude. Probably was not my best match, but at the same time I played against a very uncomfortable opponent.

Q. When you look back, do you perhaps feel this is a tournament where you had a very good result on grass that you haven’t had in a few years?
RAFAEL NADAL: I lost in the fourth round. That’s not the result that I was expecting. It’s true that I played some good matches, but the same time is true that I didn’t want to lose that match. So is tough to analyze that in a positive way right now.

Difficult to say. Yeah, I won matches. I play better than other years, true. At the same time I was ready for important things, so I lost an opportunity.

Q. Those two sets that you struggled to find your best, you had issues getting into it, or was it a day like this when your sensations weren’t there?
RAFAEL NADAL: It is more difficult, no, when you play against a player like him that you don’t have a lot of rhythm. I had my chance in the beginning. Is stupid to say now, but maybe if I had that break at the first set, third or fourth game, maybe we are in a completely different situation. But I didn’t. 

You know, when you play against these kind of players, you cannot have mistakes with yourself. That’s what I did. I did twice, in the first and in the second. That cost me two sets against in the score.

So difficult to come back after being two sets against a player like him. I think I did well. I had good chances in the fifth. He had chances, too. I am not saying anything could happen. In the fifth, he had more chances than me. So maybe he deserve it a little more than me.

But I was there, too. I had some important breakpoints, these kind of breakpoints are almost match points. I had a couple of ones. I make few mistakes, yeah, especially one that I went to the net. Easy to say now, but I am better than him from the baseline, so I probably should not go to the net that early with that shot.

Then another one that I wanted to play aggressive with my forehand, and I miss it long. That’s it. Another one, second serve, I had a good return. The line said out, and was good. That was another one that then was an ace.

Q. You seemed to really bang your head quite badly on the roof of the tunnel.

Q. You hit your head.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, nothing. It’s okay. Just small accident.

Q. You had to leave the court after the first set. Did you have to change or adjust anything after the first set?

Q. What was your mentality after that set? Was it something in your mindset? What changed after the first two sets for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: The mentality after the first two sets?

Q. Did you change anything after the first two sets?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course I changed. I play better. I tried to find solutions on the return that I did it. Was good. I was a little bit late. Then in the fifth, you play against a player like him, that’s serving well. You know you are on the deadline. When you are in the fifth against a player like him, just depends on a few balls. He was a little better than me in that few balls.

Q. You talked coming into Wimbledon about your knees, how they would cope. 4 hours 48 on court. No reservations in coming back here next season?
RAFAEL NADAL: I never said I not going to come back. Yeah, I want to come back because I want to play more times in the Centre Court.

Q. What was it like to be in that long of a fifth set with the crowd behind you?

Q. What was it like to be in that fifth set, that lasted so long, with the crowd behind you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was great. Great feeling. Great atmosphere. I put everything on the court. I played with all my passion. The crowd normally appreciate that.

Just thanks for the support. Was a great feeling. That’s it. I tried. Sorry for the crowd that were supporting me, but was a great feelings feel the support of all of them.

Q. Were you surprised by his level of play, especially at the end?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Not much, no.

Q. This is your last year at Wimbledon with Toni. How will you look back on your years together traveling the world?
RAFAEL NADAL: I answered couple of times this question. I understand your question, but we cannot be talking about that after every Grand Slam, no? We talk about that in Roland Garros. Here the same. We had the great story together. Still year to play.

But that’s it. It’s not the end of the world. He’s not leaving to China, as I said a lot of times now. He’s there in the academy. I will be practicing there. We live just two minutes walking from his house to my house, so not a big deal.

Q. You played him before. There were so many tense moments. He just never cracked. Did you think, especially when he didn’t convert the match points, maybe he would crack in the fifth set?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, I had my chances, and he had some mistakes, but not enough. I had a couple of chances I explain before. But is true most of the time in the fifth he played more aggressive and he played better than me.

I played well for moments, but I was a lot of times fighting against the score, Love-15, Love-30 too many times in the fifth. Finally normal thing when you are in the situation too many times, the normal thing is finally you lose. That’s what happen.

Even like this, I think I played with the right determination, right passion, right attitude to win the match. But, yeah, his serve is huge. I tried different things. But is true that in the fifth he hit a lot of good spots with the serve, and very consistent. Not many second serves.

That’s it. Congratulate him.

Source: Wimbledon


    • He never learnt to play agressive on the opponent’s second serve. I mean face it, Rafa is the only guy who stands 100 km behind the baseline to return the serve. That worked well on clay but not on hard court and definately not on grass. See the way Djokovic, Murray and Federer return. Those servebots are never threats to them.
      It’s shameful that Moya did persuade Rafa to return more aggressively and try to “read” the opponent’s serve when facing Raonic at AO 2017. He actually did a good job and won in straight. I don’t know why the hell that he threw that style away and kept losing to Federer 3 times back to back. Geeze!

  1. I looked back at the stats of Rafa’s match with Muller. As the commentators said, Rafa struggled to read Muller’s heavily disguised and varied serve, He made only 17 unforced errors, but could only convert 2 of the 17 break points on offer, mainly because Muller would often serve an ace to thwart Rafa’s efforts.

    Aces. 23 – 30
    Double faults 2 – 10
    Break points 2/16 – 3/8
    Winners 77 – 95
    Net points won 33/46 – 59/83
    Unforced errors 17 – 52
    Total points won 198 – 191

    I’m still encouraged by Rafa’s performance. Overall, he’s had a really good season, with a terrific run on clay.. Next week (when the dust settles and all the hype of Wimbledon is over) Rafa will remain world number 2, with only 370 points to defend to the end of the season. There is still a lot for Rafa to aim for and we know he’ll work hard to get his hands on that US open trophy!!

  2. Rafa is a class act all the way! So disappointed for him… This was a tough loss, but now it’s time for him to rest and reset. There’s alot of tennis left.. Can’t wait to see you in New York!!!! 💕

  3. Rafa you played a great match as far as I’m concerned coming from 2 sets down and take this match to 5 sets only a champion like you can do it. It was tough for you to feel pressured against the score and that was the problem you always break your opponent easily and fifth set Muller was really playing well no second serves you were not getting any chances then you were tired and it was gut wrenching to look at you losing this one. I’m sure it will hurt you for a long time. As your fan I must say I really enjoyed looking at you how you can swing a match and how inspiring you are also a true champion and of course the Rafa curse took Muller no gas remain in his tannk lost to Cilic what a shame a win against you to be on his resume only

  4. Rafa fan 1′ I’m with you on this. In the eyes of the commentators, Federer can do no wrong. He must be so excited, mow that his big three rivals are out. Now that Rafa is now longer in the tournament, I’d love to see a first time Wimbledon winner lift the trophy and wipe the smug grin off Fed’s face. Cilic is so pumped and looks like the most likely to do it!

  5. Hi Maria 1/Susie, didn’t watch any of the 2nd lot of semis. How typical of Novak to retire. Well, guess I shouldn’t be too hard on him – maybe he couldn’t play ….. ???
    Anyway it becomes easier for Federer. Such luck!!! Yes Susie, I have, over the years, gotten sick of hearing commentators gushing over Federer. Gets me mad too!!!
    Still hoping for a miracle. If Rafa was playing Roger in the finals I would still have had hope for Rafa to clinch it. Hope Rafa’s fortune which has been better than the last 4 years gets even better and better.

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