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

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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.ย 

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.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?

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?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes.

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?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?

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

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50 comments

  1. 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!!!! ๐Ÿ’•

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  2. 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

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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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  5. Eugh despite Mohammed umpiring which is added incentive to watch – I can’t watch Rogers match as Mark petchi is commentating and he just fawns over Federer and makes me sick. Boris and tim also commentating but isnt diluting it enough!!

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  6. Maria (England), the previous comment and this one is in reply to yours.

    Well Querry and Muller seem to be causing some upsets too although the match between Muller and Cilic is still being played and seems to be going into the 5th. Let’s wait and see!

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    • Rafa fan1/ Susie, oh dear that’s Muller out . So I’m going to try some Reverse psychology , yeah Novak or Roger to win Lol. You never know .

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      • Wow! Didn’t expect it to work that quick Lol, I only saw up to Berdych taking the first set. Why did Novak quit . Andy was struggling big time with his hip and it was obvious he wouldn’t win but he carried on , and the same with Rafa he would never have thrown in the towel .I’d better start wishing for Younis who to win .

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  7. Sadly so. Still hoping for a miracle.

    Certainly can’t see Berdych winning against djokovic.

    Very disappointing Wimbledon for me this far.

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    • Dito, I think it really ended on Monday , but there was a glimmer of hope with Andy . Maybe it would be nice for Berdych to take the title, he has been waiting a very long time , saying that Muller is still in with a chance , so if he comes through today I’m backing him . Why not, there has to be some bigger reason he just popped Rafa to the post.

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  8. Sorry you took it that way Rafael nadal fans. I also mentioned that I understand completely if he feels that way but maybe not make it public especially since he’s been having confidence problems. Unfortunately I can’t remember his exact words nor can I find the comment. I was not taking out of context except to say – the comments made me uncomfortable. Each to his own – I anyway respect different opinions even if I don’t agree with them

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  9. Very sweet of you Susie to comment. Thanks!
    The comment disturbed me cos in the past Tony has commented that ‘they’ are scared of Rafa having to play djokovic.

    Hope Andy wins! Would be very happy!

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    • Rafa fan1, you mentioned seeing Roger’s astrological chart and that’s it predicted 20 grand slams , I feel that could be now one step closer. I was hoping that Rafa taking Wimbledon might put a spanner in that , and if not Rafa then Andy , but it now looks as if Andy is following in Rafas’s footsteps as his Wimbledon journey has just ended . It looks very likely that a Novak / Roger final is on the cards .

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  10. Yesterday I read somewhere on Eurosport (I think) that Rafa said he doesn’t like to play best players in the finals and doesn’t want to play Roger anymore in the finals. – something like that. This gave me an uncomfortable feeling. Even though I understand him completely – I feel he could avoid saying this publicly. Maybe I’m wrong – to feel like that.
    Still thinking about his last match. Just don’t want Federer to win nor djokovic for that matter. Andy would be great but ….. .
    Some months ago after the AO I mentioned articles on federers astrological chart – where it has been predicted that he could win 20 grand slams. Wished Rafa could’ve proved this wrong. Really believed he could’ve. Now I wonder if any of the remaining players could beat Federer here.

    I hope Rafa gets stronger and stronger in EVERY way and comes back to winning ways!!

    VAMOS

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    • Hi rafa fan 1 – i read those comments on this site a few days ago as someone else had posted that. It doesn’t sound as if it is something rafa would say but who knows? I too hope that neither Roger or Novak win Wimbledon – andy looks in better form now than he has for the whole of the year so maybe he may do it or it could be someone else which may be nice now rafa is out.

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      • If you were a tennis player wouldn’t you say the same if you had to play against Rafa or Roger in the finals. BUT when you read something about Rafa on other websites you just read that one sentence taken out of context so people who don’t know Rafa well can get completely wrong image of him.

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    • @Rafa fan 1 You may have read those statements here, posted by Maria-England. The same who posted about a player’s purported extramarital affair. The same person who spoke poorly of A Zverev without supporting facts.

      Gold Wolf stated that those words did not sound like Rafa and I had to agree. And, as you, if Rafa said those words and they were meant as spoken, I was somewhat taken aback. However, I offered a plausible explanation as to why Rafa may have said those things. As RNF posted, things can be taken out of context.

      I read the articles and felt those comments did not seem Rafa-esque so I ignored them until they found their way here.

      RAFA ROCKS 150%

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  11. Rafa’s current state is that he is still a contender for the majors (he won the French open in fantastic fashion) but not in the same way he used to be. He can win a major if it is not too much of a nerve wrecking exercise – Nadal cruises nowadays when he gets ahead from the start. If things get really tough, Nadal used to be able to come out on top time and again (Wimbledon 08, Aussie Open 09, RG 11, 12, 13, US Open 13) but those days seem really over. He is not completely chanceless in such situations to dig himself out (Aussie Open 17 Dimitrov SF and the ugly first round win at Aussie 15 over Smyczek are examples) but his odds are bad as we cleary know by now (he lost in the fifth set at US open 15 and 16, Aussie Open 16 and 17 and Wimbledon 17 – that is 5 losses where I’d say in his prime he would have pulled out at least 4 wins. It is what it is folks.

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    • Jason,

      that is something that still can be work on. Its true however that once a match get tight nadal is struggling with his nerve. The only time he didnt struggle was against zverev and dimitrov during the ao 2017.

      To me and i said it a numerous time its all about having faith in your game. I go back once again to the fifth set at 9 all nadal was having 4 breakpoints. These were basically matchpoints for nadal because he was serving well. And because he was playing against the score and because muller was winning his service games easy in the fifht and didnt give too much away nadal was nervous and not calm and insecure. He wanted so desperatly to win that he couldnt calm himself down. Rafa return is the weakest element of his game. That is why he doesnt like to play big servers such as: krygios, muller,querry, karlovic and off course sometimes raonic.

      I give nadal credit for improving his game under moya but there still work to be done. I look forward to the hardcourtseason and the us open. I dont see a reason why nadal cant win the us open. He has done well this year on hardcourt reaching the final of the ao, Acapulco and miami

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  12. i love his sarcastic answer about toni nadal.

    Looking forward to the hard court season. So far this year he reached three hardcourt season. In new york i think he would have more chances of winning then in london

    but carlos needs to work with rafa on his return and courtposition

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  13. Glad to see you still have a sense of humour and so much patience with journalists’ questions๐ŸคฃOf course, any loss is a disappointment, but that is the nature of sports. I hope you recover well, and fight on in the next tournament. We often lose interest if you are not in the final! La Decima was unforgettable๐Ÿ™

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  14. Rafa always Whit you .we love you vamossssssssssss champ to the next tournament.love you .๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

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  15. It’s ALWAYS a pleasure to speak about Rafa!!! His attitude about the game doesn’t change because with Rafa, “HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY”!!!!! Therefore, there will ALWAYS be a TOMORROW!!! Rafa will PLAY again and Rafa will WIN again!!!! VAMOS, RAFA~~~~SIEMPRE CONTIGO!!!!!!

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  16. I repeat what Kathie has said Rafa. Congratulations my boy, you played like the Champion you are, but I am still of the opinion that you did not play to your best standard in the first two Sets due to the knock on your head – maybe there was a slight concussion? You played like a demon in the 3rd n 4th Sets n 95 percent of the crowd cheered you madly n tried to push you to a win, which we all wanted! I think if you served first in the 5th Set, it may have been a different ending … ’cause then you would not have been playing ‘catch-up’!

    Please keep on challenging the World in Tennis Rafa, giving joy to so very many people. I know there are a couple of terrific young guns on the block, but you will still be biting many more big trophies for many years. I am so sad for you Rafa.

    Vamos, Vamos, Vamos Rafa, King of Clay n the GOAT. God bless you. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. ๐Ÿ‚โณ๐Ÿ‘‘โ›ต๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‡

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  17. Rafa, stay healthy. As Mr. Federer said – TENNIS needs you. Much love and prayers to you and your loved ones from a loyal and ardent fan from the Philippines. God blless.

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  18. Still very sad after the match yesterday. Take rest and come back strong for the rest of the season. You can do it. Always with you. Vamos Rafa โค

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  19. rafa you plaed great tennis. we all love you. you ve had a great year so far, have a rest and come back in the us open.xxx

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    • Hi Diedre,

      I totally agree with you. Rafa is having a sensational 2017 season and it will continue that way. Yes, we all love Rafa and always want to see more of him in tournaments. It’s always a pleasure to be a part of Rafa’s loyal fan base. He never disappoints us. He’s the best! Also love his sense of humor!

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      • What a great and sensational this season is for Rafa and all his fans. Too bad some people are never satisfied and always want more.

        Let’s try to enjoy in the moment, Rafa is not 20 anymore.

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      • Totally agree with you RNF. – What Rafa has achieved/is achieving is SENSATIONAL ๐Ÿ’ซ

        Can’t wait seeing him back ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ€
        VAMOOS CHAMP! ๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  20. Rafa, you win some you lose some . you win allot which we love and I think we put to much expectations on you. We shouldn’t . As long as you love playing the game and are healthy you will never disappoint me. You always bring smiles to my face just seeing you out there playing. Thank you for that. Never Retire please. Because of you I love the Sport again. With out you the Joy is missing.
    Thanks Rafa,
    Kathie

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