World No. 1 and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal chats to the media ahead of his opener at the All England Club.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. In the 10 years since you beat Roger here, how are you the same and how are you different today than you were then?
RAFAEL NADAL: Older, more kilometers under my legs (smiling).
In general terms, important things in life didn’t change much. That’s the real thing. And in terms of tennis player, of course I had to adapt a little bit my game during that period of time. The (indiscernible) is probably very similar.
Q. What was the biggest adaptation? What has been the biggest thing you’ve had to adapt?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think my position on court. I don’t say in grass, because grass is surface we play — for me personally I play only one or two tournaments per year. In the rest of the surfaces, of course the position on court changed a little bit.
But, yeah, the way that I read tennis is probably a little bit different today than 10 years ago.
Q. Second year in a row that you pulled out of Queen’s. You don’t have a warmup tournament coming into Wimbledon. How are you feeling about your preparations for this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I’m feeling good. Of course, I decided to be here in Wimbledon again. Is a very special event, of course. I always loved to be around here. Has been always a special thing.
Yeah, it was not positive for me, of course, to not play Queen’s. I was sad to don’t have the chance to be there. In the other hand, I didn’t go there because I played a lot on clay. So I was very happy.
But that’s how it works. I am not 20 any more. I had to take decisions on the schedule sometimes. I decided to don’t play Queen’s because after a long clay court season, the body needed a rest, needed a slow adaptation to adapt to the grass. That’s what I did.
Q. Speaking of schedules, some players have been announced this week for the Laver Cup. What is your position with Laver Cup this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult for me to say. Being honest, I loved the competition. I had a lot of fun. Is a great event. I really enjoyed and played with a lot of passion.
But this year I have the semifinals of Davis Cup the week before. Difficult for me to say now if I am or I am not. I am just focused and try to do my thing. Remain months, then I will see. Still a long way for me to think about it.
I don’t know how the things going to go in terms of matches, in terms of result. I have an important tie in the semifinals in France the week before.
Of course, yeah, is not ideal. I will not say no today because remain a lot.
Q. I watched last week, you played a little bit to practice on grass in Mallorca in the mornings. Does it help now that Mallorca has such good grass courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think it’s good that in Mallorca we have a professional event. Good for our island. Of course, personally I benefit from that, that I have the chance to practice there that week.
But the most important thing is I don’t see like a personal thing. I see like having a tournament in our island is a great promotion for our island. I am very happy for this. Well done to the organization. I think there is more and more people coming to the event. That is a good thing.
Q. The 2008 final 10 years ago, could you reflect on how you felt at the time, what it meant to you at the time, then 10 years on what it means to you looking back on it today?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am not thinking every day about that final. I am just focused on what I am doing today. But of course in that moment, that final have been a very important step forward for me in my career.
I always have been very clear that probably is one of the most emotional matches that I played in my career. Yeah, everybody knows that for me win here was one of my dreams. After losing two finals, that final created a big impact in my tennis career. The personal satisfaction that tournament give to me is difficult to compare with other things.
But, yes, have been great. Today I see that like a long time ago. But the good thing is I still here. I am happy for that.
Q. When you made the quarterfinals here, you’ve gone on to reach the final.
RAFAEL NADAL: I am just glad to be there.
Q. Would you say that has to do with the conditions, the footing of the courts being more and more? Do you prefer it playing in those conditions?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s obvious that the movements are a little bit easier later because there is not that much grass behind. For me one of the most difficult things here is, of course, the speed of the court, the way that you have to play is different. But the movements are different, no? Later on the tournament, it’s true that the movements are a little bit easier because there is a lot of clay behind the court, so you can move a little bit more free.
I don’t know. I think the grass, on Wimbledon here, this year I see the grass a little bit longer than usual. I don’t know if because there is unbelievable weather and they are trying to protect the grass like this. But that’s it, no?
I know to be there I have to play very well on the conditions at the beginning of the tournament because here there is no one easy match. All the matches are difficult. I need to be ready from the beginning. I am looking forward to have the best preparation possible the next two days that I still have and just be ready.
Q. Do you approach Wimbledon, because you don’t play too many tournaments on grass, differently than other tournaments? Do you have different expectations? Is it always the same?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, expectations are always high. I am not here to play the tournament; I am here to try to have a good results, of course.
But is true that in the other hand is one of these events that you arrive here and you really don’t have the previous feeling of how you feel, how you are playing, how you are not playing.
But is nothing new. Even when I won here, when I played finals here, I played five in a row I think. So I played, yes, one year I won on Queen’s, played five matches. The other year the maximum I played was three matches on Queen’s.
Even with three matches, you arrive here and you really don’t know very well. Is an event that you need to find your confidence during the tournament and during the practice the week before.
For example, when I arrived to Roland Garros, I know more or less if I am playing well or if I am not playing well. I know where my chances are, more or less. In the US Open, little bit less, but still knowing better than here.
Q. You said you think more about scheduling now that you’re older. You’ve had injuries for a long time, since you were younger. At what point in your career did it become more important to you, scheduling, being smart about where you play and where you don’t play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing new for me. I am doing this since a while. You can check my schedules during the last years. I got injured, is true, but not because I’m doing crazy things. I’m not changing surfaces like this (snapping fingers). I am not playing 23, 24 events per year.
That’s the real thing. I am taking care of my body. You cannot predict injuries. Of course, I don’t know if it’s unlucky or not, but I got injured more than the others, especially my rivals. That’s it.
Just accept and keep going, try to do the things the better way possible to be less times injured. But is something that you cannot control. It’s just part of my tennis career, too.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports