Rafael Nadal hard on himself after loss to Denis Shapovalov in Montreal: “It is probably my worst loss of the year”

Rafael Nadal talks to the media after the 6-3, 4-6, 6-7(4) defeat against Denis Shapovalov in the third round of the Rogers Cup.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you underestimate Denis?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I am not this kind of person. I respect everybody.

Yeah, obviously is a tough lose for me. Is a bad lose. Probably is the worst lose of the year we have, without a doubt, for me.

That’s like this. He play well. I play really bad. When this kind of thing happen, only thing you can do is wish the opponent the best, all the best.

Q. Why do you exactly say this is one of your worst losses of the year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Probably my worst loss of the year because I lost against a player with a lower ranking. At the same time because of the opportunity I had here to come back to the No. 1. Always tough, but the draw was not that impossible after all the matches that were happening. So was an important mistake for me. That’s the real thing, no?

Is a bad lose. Just accept that and keep working.

Q. Usually when you come to Canada, you have the crowd behind you. I thought it was almost a Davis Cup crowd out there today. Talk about the crowd and the atmosphere, playing against the crowd.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no, nothing about the crowd. I am used to it. No one excuse about that. Sometimes the crowd is for you. Sometimes the crowd is against you. That’s it. 

Q. Maybe not the right time for a comparison, but 12 years as an 18-year-old you played against Agassi. Can you draw some comparisons?
RAFAEL NADAL: Against who?

Q. In 2005 you beating Agassi. Now you are the legend playing a teenager. Draw some comparison.
RAFAEL NADAL: He played well. He has a great potential. I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.

I don’t know if we can compare. Let’s see. Let him make his career. Don’t compare him with anothers. Probably will not be good for him.

I did my way. He going to do his way.

Q. When it was the third set, you were going into the tiebreaker, were you thinking about your match at Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: What kind of match in Wimbledon?

Q. The loss you had at Wimbledon this year.
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Completely different story. Different surface. Different conditions. In Wimbledon I didn’t play a tiebreak. Was difference by two games. Here was another story.

Big mistake with my backhand with the 30-Love. Two good serves for him. Double-fault for me, mistake. No, playing very bad. With this is impossible.

All the time I was waiting for his shot. I didn’t went for the shots. I didn’t feeled the ball tonight. That’s it, no?

I tried to fight until the end. I had a lot of chances in the third. Probably I played bad, but at the same time playing like this, I could win the match. Nothing will happen because I don’t know how many breakpoints I had in the third.

But he played well in the breakpoint. He hit some lines. One with 15-30, he hit the second serve ace wide. Then a good return for me. Forehand winner down the line, not easy. A couple of ones well played for him.

But even all these kind of things, I make too many mistakes in important points. In all terms, I cannot be happy about the things that I did.

Q. Are you a little bit surprised at 18 years old he didn’t crack? His nerves were good the whole time.
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, no. That’s normal, no? I have been in that situation. If I don’t remember back with 18 years old, I win Roland Garros. Is something that I don’t know why should happen, when you have 18, to don’t hold the nerves.

In my opinion, is much more easy when you have 18 than when you have 30.

Q. Were you surprised he was able to fight back against all those breakpoints you had on him?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. He has nothing to lose. Is win-to-win for him. If he lose playing a good match, was good for him. If he lose in straight sets, already he played a good tournament. If he win, he’s amazing. He won. Is amazing for him. Just well done for him. Is a great story. And I am not happy to be part of this story. That’s it, no?

Q. The third game in the third set that took 26 minutes, 10 deuces, do you think that was maybe a turning point? How did you feel after that game? Do you feel he gained the needed momentum?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it was one more game. Important one obviously. But I still had breakpoints later. Is not the end of the world with 2-1 in the third. I still had breakpoints. 3-Love in the tiebreak. Some more 15-30s. Lot of chances, no?

But even like this, even how bad I played, I had a lot of chances. That’s the worst thing, no? Playing bad, is the matches that really matters. Really means a lot to win. When you play bad, you have to win these matches. I didn’t today. That’s why I said is an important mistake for me.

Is probably the worst match of the year for me. But that’s like this. I have another week in Cincinnati, and then I have a Grand Slam coming.

I am not happy now. Tomorrow probably I don’t going to practice, but I have time to recover mentally. After tomorrow I going to be practicing in Cincinnati, and that’s it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. It’s extraordinary that Rafa is protecting the lad from being built-up in the media knowing he may not live up to their comparisons ‘it probably won’t be good for him’. We only have to look at Kyrgios to see the effects of a badly bruised ego from not living up to hype.

  2. I can’t take too many disappointments and I completely lost hope..I am so much depressed..btr I stop watching coz don’t like anybody other than Rafa winning titles…

  3. Iam afraid rg will be the last title of the year…I don’t see him winning any if he loses matches like these and plays like this.its over for dis year…btr not to have too much expectations..I sincerely hope he proves me wrong if he can win big titles in this part of the season.dont bash me, I jus spoke the bitter truth

  4. It’s not that Rafa played bad, he just played a kid that was in his own house and he had his adrenaline going. Shake it off. Next week is a new day and then we will see you in the USA!!!!!
    This kid looks up to you.

  5. Yes disappointed of course,😢 people have said this new player is cocky, said “good luck ” to del Potro after the match. Montreal was more important than Cincinatti, let s hope the rest of season goes well for him. 😊 Fi in Paris


    • Yes, after R Garros 2009 I remember watching on TV , a surprise and disappointment for Rafa and us, he looked soft and lovely as he left the court.😢 I said that then and also “va a rebotar como la pelota ” in Spanish, wrote it to them, Rafa and his team , “he will bounce back like the tennis ball ” 😊and I was always right. After any defeat he comes back like R Garros this year. 😃but not in every match we would wish. Fiona in Paris

  7. I watched it on tennistv and was very impressed with Denis’s performance, he’s a future no 1, so quick……I think Rafa underestimated him and relaxed after winning the first set…..rather disappointing performance after all Rafas success this year and that goes Wimbledon too. I suggest Moya and Toni need to come and lend a hand before RAFA fades away AGAIN for good.
    He will always be my favorite player,the main reason I watch Tennis.

  8. Rafa we all have sore and bad days so,

    after a great clay season,

    I am sure there are are good things ahead with Moyas tips for you,

    Love and prayers,


  9. Hard as it may be, Rafa has got to put the nightmare match against a confident and fearless Shapovalov behind him and press the reset button. Another tough draw for Rafa in Cincinnati next week, with most of the big hitters in his half (a nice draw for Federer as usual). Just hitting the ball back in the centre of the court isn’t going to cut it, It’s painful to see players bossing Rafa around the court. He has to change his mindset, get on the front foot, take more calculated risks and go for his shots. That way, even if he loses some points it will be on his terms.

    I’m looking ahead to the US Open where, in the best of five sets, Rafa has more chance to go deep into the tournament.

  10. Hey Rafa,what ere you going to achieve by being hard on yourself?Nothing.Absolutely nothing..Relax,relax just a little bit.Then relax a whole lot more.What you have achieved is so amazing ,You Have nothing to prove to anyone.Enjoy playing the game of tennis you love so much.The World is still your oyster.Vamos

  11. Okay, here I am waiting eagerly for the Cinci draw to come out again. I want to reply to almost every comments here and in other threads but I guess I should focus more on what comes next now. Hopefully Toni and Moya will come for Rafa at Cinci like they did at Miami after Rafa’s loss to Fed at IW. He needs to recover mentally quick like he said. And better scouting I guess.

    • Rafa’s potential path:



      Dimitrov/Berdych/Del Potro

  12. Well, Rafa should have not lost that game, period. Everybody and the best of them may lose a match at any given day, but the loss yesterday should have never ever happened. Couple weeks ago, after the loss in Wimbledon, I made a comment on this forum saying that by staying that far behind the baseline you empower your opponent, showing him you are respecting his serves, a faux pas in tennis by legends like Rafa. I also recommended Rafa uses a different racquet when he plays on grass or on hard courts. Federer did it, so can Rafa.
    Vamos Rafa!

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