Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9), 3-6, 10-8 defeat against Novak Djokovic.
Q. You’ve played so many brilliant matches against Novak. Where does that rank?
RAFAEL NADAL: Being honest, I didn’t have the chance to analyze where rank. I don’t remember all the matches.
Have been a great match. I think a fantastic level of tennis for both of us. I think I was not a spectator, but I think was a great show for the fans.
Of course, not happy with the final result. Of course, happy about being part of this match that have been a great one.
Q. When you play him, what is the biggest challenge and what is the level of respect that you have for him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Biggest challenge is I am playing against one of the best players of the history. Probably for him is something similar.
And the respect? The respect is very high because is an opponent that we played a lot of times. We played in the greatest stadiums, greatest moments for both of us. We shared on court a lot of big moments for both of us, no?
Is a great rival. Today was another battle that stays there for the — I don’t know. Stays there.
Q. You had five breakpoints. In the first four, in my opinion, you couldn’t do much. The fifth was when you went to the net maybe with a little impatience. Is that maybe the key point, the one point that could have gone another way?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, if I have the break, I win the next game, I am here with the victory. That’s 100% like this.
But ‘impatient’? I came back from a defensive position. I hit a great backhand across. I decided to go inside. Worked very well a lot of times hitting backhands and go to the net.
For me, was not like this. For me, I take the decision to go forward, to play aggressive. I tried to go to the net to put pressure of him. I couldn’t play the backhand down the line because I was running to the ball. Was a big risk hit down the line.
I hit the ball going to the net. I couldn’t wait. I decided to go like this. The only negative thing is that the ball went little bit to the middle.
But for me personally, nothing to complain with that. I don’t feel that was impatient. I feel that I take the position to go to the net to play aggressive. He played a great passing shot. If he missed, we would be here talking how brave he was that he went to the net.
He hit a good passing shot. Now is impatient? That’s the sport. That’s the real thing. I am not saying nothing wrong about your question, but that’s the sport. Final result changes everything. That’s part of the game. I accept it. Nothing to complain. He play great.
I can say he deserve it, because he deserve it. In my opinion, he deserve it. I deserve it, too. Both of us deserve it. As I say the other day against del Potro, anyone could win. Today I say the same. The other day was for me, today was for him. That’s it.
Q. Difficult time to assess, but this was meeting number 52 with Djokovic. What do you think this rivalry has done for your own game and for the sport of tennis as a whole?
RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot analyze that because I am part of it. Well, imagine if I come here and say that’s fantastic for tennis. Would be very arrogant from my part, no? You can create your own opinion and will be great. If you think is terrible, if you think is good…
For me is always the same: having great players in front push you to improve always your level of work, your level of tennis, and your level of trying to improvement all the time. That’s it.
Q. You haven’t had much time to process this, but do you think there is something you did that you would change or that you maybe did wrong tactically or strategically in this match? There were many shifts of momentum. Is there something in your mind?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Normally I am very critic with myself. I hit a great shots. I played aggressive. I missed balls, not too many, but I missed some ones. When you play with that intensity, with that level of risk, that level of passion, sometimes you go over, no?
Nothing to complain. I think I played a great match. I have not much more inside me. I give it my best, and that’s it. It’s fair to say that was a great match and he beat me. Well done for him. That’s all. That’s sport.
These kind of matches between probably two great players, playing so well both of us, anything could happen. That’s it. Today was for him. Well done.
Q. Do you think it made much sense to have the roof closed today?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. But I will not talk more about this. If not, you going to write about this, and I don’t want you to write about this today.
Q. What do you take away from this tournament as a whole? Positive feelings as well as the disappointment of the loss?
RAFAEL NADAL: Repeat that. I’m sorry.
Q. How do you feel about the tournament as a whole, what will you take away from it?
RAFAEL NADAL: From this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Played great. Semifinals, after a while without being there. Winning some great matches, especially in that quarterfinals against del Potro. Today was another great match.
I felt, of course, that I lost an opportunity to try to win another very important title for my career. But that’s it. No, nothing else. I go for holidays proud of the things that I’m doing, no?
I lost two matches. Well, I retired in Australia. Happened when I was playing that quarterfinals match, what happened about injury. Then after that, this is my second lose of the year, playing a lot of matches, playing well almost all the time.
I think I did a great work. Is difficult to come back after injuries for a long time and have these kind of results, so I am proud of myself.
Q. Yesterday was such a marathon match. You and Novak were in the locker rooms for a long time. Do you think there is an argument that in a fifth set, it should just go to a tiebreak rather than keeping players cooped up for so long?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t have a clear opinion on that.
Q. What did you do while you were waiting?
RAFAEL NADAL: Putting little bit. Warming up like 10 times. Just watching the match. That’s all.
Q. To come back on yesterday, to go on court, I guess you knew you couldn’t maybe finish when you started that match yesterday, going through the match with so many circumstances outside of the game?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s how it is. It’s true that the schedule was little bit tight knowing that the first match between two big servers, of course you can’t predict that they play that long. But yeah, knowing that, maybe will be better if they play us first at 1:00, that’s all. The rest of the things you can’t complain anything that happened.
Q. Novak has had a difficult couple of years. What did you make of his level in this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: He playing great. No, no, my opinion, he’s playing at his top level again. I said before the match, and that’s it. He’s in the final of Wimbledon. The problem is we achieved that match the last couple of years, seems like you are in the final of Wimbledon, and this is not that match. You can’t be in the final of Wimbledon, even if your name is not Novak Djokovic, without playing a great level of tennis. So that’s all.