China Open: Pre-tournament interview [VIDEO]

Rafael Nadal’s preview interview for the ATP.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You’ve had a really amazing year, you’re No. 1, won the French and the US Open. Laver Cup was really cool. The year is not over. Looking back, what has been the highlight for you so far?
RAFAEL NADAL: The highlight? Well, is difficult for me to say highlight. In general, the beginning of the year has been so important for me. But if I have to choose something, of course, the clay court season have been very emotional for me, concluding with Roland Garros.

Q. How was the gala last night?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good, no? Was unbelievable views from the top of the tower. Yeah, I enjoyed. Has been good atmosphere, a chance to share some good moments from some colleagues from the tour. Always is a positive thing. We had fun.

Q. Now you and Garbine Muguruza are both the world No. 1’s in the rankings. You are both very gifted players. Do you think it’s the time for Spanish tennis? Will it be a big boost for the Spaniards to pick up the racquet?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Of course on the women’s side, we had big champions years ago. We had some moments that were not that many great players from the women’s side. But now things changed, no? Big layer like Garbine, and Carla is there. Yeah, we are in a good moment, of course.

In the men’s tennis, we have been in the top for the last 25 years. A lot of players have been having a lot of success during the last 25 years. We need to keep going.

Of course, be both No. 1 today is something beautiful, but this not guarantee what’s happen in the future. We need to keep working. We have a lot of academies, a lot of tradition in Spain. We hope that through all this tradition and academies, we can keep going on the right way for our future players.

Q. A bit of a different question. In 10 to 20 years, what would you like people to think or say when they look back to the big four era?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Talking about the big four, let’s see. Our career is not over. Is obvious that we have been in the top of this sport for so many years. But the only important thing that hopefully the people will remember is a part of the history of our sport, that was a good moment to keep promoting our sport and to keep bringing our sport to the next level of communication and interest around the world. That’s important thing. 

At the same time is important that the people remember us as good persons.

Q. It’s almost a decade since you first took over as No. 1 the first time. You always held up longevity and consistency. What does this achievement tell you about yourself?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is about always a few things. First thing is about health. Without health, is impossible to stay that long. I had some injuries, but good thing is I keep having the passion for the game and the love for what I am doing and the spirit of overcome tough situations in terms of physical issues, no? That’s the key.

Of course, the spirit of improvement: every day when I wake up, going on court with the goal of doing something better than what I was doing. At the same time, as I said before, the motivation to keep having chances to do what I really like to do.

Q. We saw you out there getting involved in a junior clinic. Your academy was also introduced here in China. Talk about your personal expectations about your academy, the system that helped you as a junior, what will help Chinese kids here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Let’s see. We are trying to promote the academy all around the world. Of course, China is an important country for us. We believe that this country have a lot of chances to become a potential country with a lot of players that going to have possibilities to be in a very high position of the ranking. Through our academy, we’ll be very happy to try to help to this development for sure going to happen here in China.

And, yes, in my academy, of course we have the school inside the academy, we have a medical center inside, we have indoor court, we have outdoor clay and hard. We try to work with very good professionals in terms of education and in terms of tennis coaches.

For us is so important to prepare the kids for the future, too. We know most of them not going to be professional tennis players, so for us is important to prepare them for the future in terms of values, in terms of education. That’s our goal. We are working hard to try to make that happen.

Q. As the season comes to a close, how important is winning the China Open in regards to momentum with the ATP Finals coming up?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every tournament is important. Every time that I go to any event, my goal is try to play my best and to try to go for everything, no? But is true that this event is tough. There is a lot of great players. I have a very tough first round against Lucas. Let’s see.

Tomorrow is an important day for me. Is a tough start, a difficult one. Let’s see. But I am focus on try to be ready for tomorrow. I think I practiced well, so let’s see tomorrow what can happen.

Q. You’re playing Lucas in the first match. He had a kind of tough season. Do you think it’s normal that after a great season, when you’re so young, the next one is difficult? Or were you surprised maybe he didn’t play better or win more matches?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is normal that second year after a big success never easy. But he has a great level of tennis. Hopefully he will not finish the season that well because I play tomorrow against him (smiling).

But I am sure he will be fighting for important things next year. He has the talent to do it. He has the game, the right level of tennis to make that happen if he want to do it.

Q. (Through translation) Last year you won men’s doubles. Why aren’t you participating in the doubles this year? Busta is also in the draw this year.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I won doubles last year. Is obvious that have been a great feeling. But at the same time is obvious that last year I get injured during the season, and I was in a different situation. This year I have been playing a lot of matches, so I need to be a little bit — I need to save a little bit my physical performance. Is important to stay health until the end of the year. We believe is better don’t play doubles here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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