Rafael Nadal’s thoughts on Fabio Fognini’s US Open ban [3rd round presser]

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THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Slow start today, losing the first set in a tiebreaker. What, in your opinion, accounted for that slow start? What allowed you to turn things around and break finally after 13 times?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t want to contradict you, but for me was not a slow start. Was a slow start of converting breakpoints. When you have that many breakpoints, you created the opportunities, more than usual. So if you are able to convert one, two of them, probably we will talk about another story because that’s the real thing, no? Then you don’t make it, of course opponent is a good player, you arrive to the tiebreak. I make a mistake, he play well, had some good serves, you lost the tiebreak.

Of course, when you see that you lost a set that you had triple more opportunities than your opponent, then of course you are in trouble.

At the beginning of the second, yeah, I had breakpoints again, but is true that he had one 15-40. But, yes, after that finally I converted one at the 14th opportunity. After that, the match was completely different.

Q. With some big names not in the tournament, a couple of upsets, do you think some of these guys who you don’t often see in the third round of a major are extra inspired going forward? Does that put more pressure onto you and Roger?

RAFAEL NADAL: I going to be very honest. I don’t think about that. I just think about my next match. I just think about try to play well. Don’t think about who is there, who is not there. 

The end of the day, if I play well, I going to have my chances to fight for things. If not, I will not. So doesn’t matter the names, no? Everybody presume to play well or don’t play well. That’s my goal, and I don’t feel extra pressure because some good names or good players are not here. My pressure are always the same. The motivation that I have to do it well in an event that I love, that I played well in the past, and I always had a great connection with the crowd.

That’s my pressure. The rest of the things, I don’t think much about this.

Q. After that break you finally got in the second set, obviously you won a lot of games in a row after that. Did that feel like that was all it took to change momentum? Did you sense that moment when it happened?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, of course, you are under stress when you see that you have opportunities almost in every game, and you are not able to convert it. Yeah, of course, when finally I did it, everything changed. I was able to play more free, to start to attack better with my forehand. I changed more forehands down the line, hitting some good backhands later. I think the level of tennis after that break have been very positive.

I hope that last three sets can be a good turning point for me because, in my opinion, I played much better today than the two previous days later in the match.

You need matches like this. Then now I have the opportunity to compete again, to try to do it well, no? I am in the second week. That’s the important thing. Already won three matches in a row. That’s important news for me.

I know I have a tough opponent out there now, tricky one, because he going to play aggressive, he’s very tough, he has a lot of talent, and he’s playing well. He won easy today. Against Berdych he played well, too. Going to be a tough one.

So for me is another opportunity to compete, try to compete better than what I did.

Q. You said Dolgopolov is a tough opponent, a tricky opponent. How so?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I played with him. I lost with him in Indian Wells couple of years ago. I played with him this year in Brisbane. I know I have to play well. He going to play aggressive. He has the ability to hit the ball very quick and to take the ball very early. So if I am not playing aggressive, I not playing long, if I let him play from a good positions, then going to be very, very difficult.

I need to play aggressive. I need to feel that when I hitting the forehand, he’s not able to take advantage on the point. That’s going to be my goal.

Q. You talked about your nerves the other day. Do you think it was the same today? Is it getting better as long as the matches are developing, or do you think you’re nervous more than usual?

RAFAEL NADAL: Later no. But at beginning, of course, you get nerves when you don’t convert opportunities, of course, no?

Is a little bit of everything. A little bit unlucky, too. End of the day, the opponent can miss one breakpoint. If I make the breakpoint, then probably everything change a lot. I calm down, I am able to play much better. That’s something that happened later.

That happens early in the match, probably that effect will happens quicker, too, and I will be able to win maybe in straight sets.

But I don’t complain much about this. I think the best thing is I had a lot of moments to be very frustrated on the match, and I have been not. I have been just fighting for the next point and with the right mentality, with the right spirit of fight in all moments, and with positive attitude. So that’s for me the most important thing.

I overcome a tough situation today. That’s very positive for me. I am very happy about this. I know I cannot play very well always, and not the whole match. But for me the most important thing is I give my best and I played with the right intensity and all the time with the motivation to win the match, even when things were not going very well.

For me, that’s all the things I can ask to myself. Playing better, playing worst, that’s something sometimes I cannot control. But the level is there because I have been practicing very well. And later in the match I have been playing well.

Q. Two years ago you lost here to Fabio Fognini. You had also sometimes some discussions with him. You know that he was fined today and suspended after what he said to a chair umpire. I’d like to know if you think it’s surprising in a way that the ITF can suspend someone and ATP doesn’t care, or doesn’t reciprocate. Then in another situation, ATP can suspend the player, and ITF doesn’t take care of that, doesn’t reciprocate. What is your comment on that? What do you think?

RAFAEL NADAL: There is two different associations, no? We don’t need to be agree in all the things. Probably we are not agree in all the things. Is something normal.

I don’t see. I really, honestly, didn’t see what happened with Fabio. I cannot say something.

Q. If he insult the umpire, what do you think?

RAFAEL NADAL: Of course is not a positive thing. Of course if you are not doing the right things on the court, of course you need to be in some way affected, no?

But at the same time is true that things can be made happen earlier because I believe that he played two matches after that match, two doubles matches. If they want to suspend him, will be much better to do it immediately, not three days later or four days later, because then he was here playing for a few days. Now he is out already winning two matches.

I think is not the ideal situation. Probably something that will go immediately to check it, and if he deserve a suspension, he take it, and if he don’t deserve, don’t take it.

Q. They had to go through translations, see what he said in Italian. That was the reason why it took some time, I guess.

RAFAEL NADAL: It takes four days for that translation? I don’t think so. Easy to find.

Q. You’re known for your dedication, hard work, your love of this sport. These days we’re hearing some of the younger players saying, I’m not really dedicated, I’m bored, just playing for the money, I only am giving 50%. When you hear comments like that from your fellow players, what are your thoughts?

RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody’s free to say and to do whatever. We are in a world that everybody can say whatever.

Another thing is if that’s the ideal situation or not, I will not analyze. For my mentality, my way of understand the sport, probably you know that is better that I don’t explain.


  1. Rafa your diplomacy, tact and discretion are superb.

    Your academy with yourself and Uncle Toni and Carlos and family as teachers and Coaches will be renowned world wide for great teaching and coaching of the young graduates.

    Your family and you canbe soooooooooo proud of your ethics and teachings,

    Your standards are exemplary.

    Love and prayers,


  2. Rafa has great models within his own family . Respect and behaviours which is learnt stem from his upbringing as a person in his immediate family .Go
    Rafa..you are the best and classy tennis player .l😄🎾😄🎾🎾

  3. It’s best not to listen to what people have to say about other Athletes in your group and just do as you need too. Vamos Rafa.

  4. RAFA IS THE BEST!!! We can ALWAYS count on him to give his BEST, no matter what the circumstances. He is a gentleman tennis player of the highest order, and ALL mothers would love their children to follow his example on and off the tennis court!!!! VAMOS, RAFA!!!!!

  5. Loved how you had ‘had enough’ thumped your chest and took over the game against Mayer. You can do this from Moment One of any match. Stop struggling through the first set. Go get ’em from the get go.

  6. By this brillant stage in Rafa’s career, he should own more Grand Slam trophies. Vamos Rafa! Let’s get this done at the this US Open and the Aussie Open! You can lay a legitimate claim to the throne of men’s tennis as the only man in the Open Era to have won two Grand Slam Career titles! Make it so! #JustDoIt!

  7. Rafael Nadal is a brilliant athlete and an even better showmen. I absolutely love the fire he plays with. I’d love to see him end the year as number one and holding the US Open trophy for a third time in his career. And I’m really going to miss seeing uncle Toni in the stands. He’s the best.

  8. RAFA you are THE most clever and Awesome athlete that the world had and will ever see.
    THANK YOU for being so TRUE, please keep on playing for lots of more years. From the beginning I follow your career…you areTHE BEST……. BRAVO!!’!!!

    Envoyé de mon iPad

  9. Rafa is diplomacy always & a good role model – it’s a shame some of the other players don’t have the same ethics

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