Laver Cup Day 2: An interview with Fedal

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Federer/Nadal def. Querrey-Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. To both Roger and Rafa, I guess everybody was anticipating this doubles match. What was it like for the two of you to actually play it? What did it feel like on the court, teaming up for the first time?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, first thing was unforgettable day for both of us. After all the history that we have behind us, like rivals, to be together the same part of the court, fighting for a team is something that I think we really enjoyed a lot.

The atmosphere for this match and for the whole weekend is being fantastic. Czech crowd here in Prague is doing great. We feel very lucky to be part of this great event for the first time in the history, no?

And have the possibility to have Roger next to me is, yeah, a huge privilege. Is something that for sure I want to make that happen at some point, and today was the ideal day to make that happen, no?

Having Björn and John there supporting the teams and playing for Europe, having a great team behind us, yeah, I am so happy to enjoy that moment, we enjoyed a lot, but at the same time to win that match.

ROGER FEDERER: And I agree (laughter). He said it all.

But for me personally was a great moment, too. You know, we only ever practiced once together, back at the World Tour Finals, I think. So we don’t practice a lot. We don’t show stuff to each other a lot. And we will always and forever be rivals as long as we are active.

After this we will be rivals again, thank God, or unfortunately, however you want to see it, but this was something very special. It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing the court with Rafa on the same side of the net. Knowing you can trust him in the big moments, seeing his decision-making, seeing his thought process was very interesting, and I will take these memories for a lifetime, for sure.

Q. Going into the match, did you feel any extra pressure just because everyone was talking about it and expecting so much out of this match? Would you pair up again for a doubles match for any of the tournaments?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, it was definitely a different day to other days in my life, because like you said, the attention was big. People wanted to film our preparation. They wanted to film it and have it in the vault, you know, forever, whatever.

So I said, Okay, fine. We’ll go all out and we will just do it. 

Normally, you know, you’re more private and all these things, but because of that, naturally you get more focused more early. That’s why I didn’t go to watch Tomas out on court, unfortunately, and we were just getting ready, our tapes ready, just going through the motions and talking tactics, as well.

And I knew that people, maybe the ones who don’t follow tennis all the time, they would not understand that we lost, you know. So I understand that people only expect a win from us, but it’s so complicated. We are playing indoors against great doubles players, against big servers. And my last doubles is so long ago that I hardly remember how to react at the net anymore. But we did very well.

RAFAEL NADAL: You did not do bad.

ROGER FEDERER: I was extremely lucky on the one volley in the break point, I tell you that. That volley was not supposed to go there.

RAFAEL NADAL: A great dropshot.

ROGER FEDERER: It was a great dropshot, yes, I think. Ask Jack Sock about that one.

No, so maybe one day again. We don’t know.

Q. There are lots of elements about the Laver Cup this weekend that people will talk about, but do you think that maybe you two playing doubles together might be the biggest feather in the cap of the competition when people look back on this weekend?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it kind of felt like going into the Laver Cup that that’s what everybody wanted to see and talked about, as well. Now that it happened, I think we will have some great footage, some great pictures and photos. The two of us getting together, our both fan groups having to get together, I think that’s slightly interesting, as well.

No, I think it was a success overall. But I do like to remember the people that we are not here just only to play doubles and to be on the same team. It’s really the celebration of tennis and the legacy of Rod Laver and having Björn and John there. To me, that still overrides the whole event over us playing doubles, but it was definitely a moment in time that was very, very important for both of us.

Q. You were both gold medal doubles players, winning, both, the Olympic Games. Do you see yourself after 2020, Roger, playing just doubles if you’re a little bit too old to play singles? And Rafa being a boy at that time, 34 years old? Do you see yourself playing together doubles, just doubles, in case of Roger?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, that’s a great idea (laughter).

Are you going to become Swiss, as well, maybe, and then we can play doubles together at the Olympics? Or I will become Spaniard? I don’t know.

Q. I’m not talking Olympics. I’m talking about slams.
ROGER FEDERER: No, that won’t happen. Not from my side.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, if don’t happen from your side, it not gonna work for us.

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t think so. I don’t want to kill your expectations.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yeah, I was… (Smiling.)

I don’t think gonna be a good idea. I think we are singles players at the end of the day, so it’s tough to imagine that way we keep playing doubles after we stop playing singles, no.

ROGER FEDERER: Not a good idea. We will do it for you. Maybe five years only.

RAFAEL NADAL: We can do in Italy maybe if you invite us (smiling).

Q. So how do you both see tomorrow, and how do you see your chances? You obviously have a big lead, but there are three points for each match. Just talk about how you see it.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, seems like a big lead. Are we one win away from going to the playoff?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. One win away to be 12.


RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. And if we win one and lose three, then we are 12-All and need to go to the super-tiebreak.

ROGER FEDERER: I hope you made the calculations right.

That’s right, right? So two wins — it seems like we’re closer to winning than two wins away, so two wins is still a lot, you know, especially how close the matches have been this weekend so far.

We feel fortunate to be in the lead 9-3, to be honest. It doesn’t feel like we dominated the weekend, you know. It feels like in the singles, because of the ranking and everything, that yes, we’re going to be the favorites going into it, but it is indoors against big servers and we know anything can happen.

So I think we are remaining very focused. Everybody is ready to play tomorrow depending on how everybody wakes up. We have the lineup sort of in our heads, and we are ready to go. I’m very excited to see how it’s all going to unfold as it’s sort of the unknown. I’m very excited.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for me, the same. Going to be a tough day tomorrow. Well, you never know. Seems like it’s gonna be a tough day because we are gonna play against players that going to go for everything, because they have a tough comeback.

But every match that we don’t win tomorrow at the beginning, that’s gonna be a lot of positive energy for the opponents, no? And the opponents are young. They have the game to play on this surface, so we need to be strong from the beginning. Then maybe we can be in trouble, no?

As Roger said, we have the feeling that we are lucky to be, very happy to be 9-3, no? All the matches have been very close. But at the same time, with all the matches that we won, feels that you almost won, but tomorrow we need to win half of the matches to win, and so is tough day to win half of the matches, because all the matches have been very close.

ROGER FEDERER: I would like to hold the trophy up with Rafa and the team, Team Europe. It’s a beautiful trophy, so we’re almost there. Not quite.

Q. I’m just wondering, how are you enjoying doing press conferences with someone else with you? Formula 1, all the rivals sit next to each other and talk about each other directly. Can you imagine doing that on tour before a match, perhaps?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I could imagine doing it, but I think it would not be a good idea. Well, actually, we would get stuff done faster, but, no, I don’t know. I think when somebody is not there, you don’t have to be so careful.

You know, you guys want the truth, and I think we like to speak our mind, as well. If somebody is always sitting there and you feel like he’s, I don’t know, he could reach over and grab you, it doesn’t feel great. So here, this one is fine. You know, we just won a match. We are both happy and both relaxed.

But, no, I was thinking about how weird and special this moment is, actually, going together to a press conference to talk about how we played. But the same match that we won, it’s kind of surreal, actually.

It’s a good idea or no?

RAFAEL NADAL: I agree that is — well, maybe for you is going to be interesting, no? But probably for us will be tough, because we will not feel 100% free to talk the way that we want to talk, so we could not be honest with you. So I am happy like this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

One comment

  1. Rafa and Roger are both pros at dealing with the press, but I am still astounded at the silly questions they are asked. Rafa and Roger are not about to start playing doubles together. I will be happy if they play again at next year’s Laver Cup.

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