Rafael Nadal discusses how he beat Stan Wawrinka in Toronto on Thursday and looks ahead to meeting Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals.
Q. You must be pretty happy with that level in just your second hard court match.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it was a good match, no? Of course a very positive victory for me against a very tough opponent. Happy to see Stan playing that well again. As you say, it was a good quality of tennis tonight.
So I’m very pleased, no? That’s what I needed, a match like this, to be a little bit more confident, and I did. So just happy to be in the quarterfinals already.
And tomorrow another opportunity to play against a big opponent like Marin.
Q. Your second match with the shot clock. Could you just talk about it in general? And also did you feel there was a difference in the way it was being implemented in your first match and today? Because I felt the umpire was a lot more on the clock today.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it depends. I feel today was a little bit quicker, the things. Depends on the umpire, how quick he puts the clock going.
So that’s it, no? I follow the rules. I just need to get used to play like this, and I don’t have any doubt that I will.
Q. To have such a tough opponent push you so hard, does it give also to you the possibility to test your level now? It’s not so easy to find someone who hits hard as Stan did tonight.
RAFAEL NADAL: I know Stan already won two great matches in this tournament, so I know it will be a good challenge, and that’s what — of course it was like this, no?
So after that, I feel happy because it was only the second match after the period outside and played, in my opinion, well and it give me the chance to play again tomorrow. And that’s what I need today, no? Matches, spend hours on court.
And I know I am playing well since I came back from the injury, on clay, on grass. And I need to play well now on hard again, no? So let’s make that happen.
Q. You were up before the rain delay and then that happened, and then you started a little bit roughly when you came back. As a player, what does that do for your momentum when you come back?
RAFAEL NADAL: We’re used to that, no? It’s nothing new for us that we have to stop for the weather. That’s part of our sport and we need to deal with it, no?
So I just stayed focused, talked a little bit with the team on the locker room, and just came back with the right energy.
Q. You hit I think six drop shots that all counted as points for you. They worked. I guess you kept it unpredictable and I guess you showed that it works on the hard courts today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, depends on the opponent, depends on the situation in the match. And as I said the other day, no? If you hit the drop shot at the right moment, it can be very effective in any surface.
But to hit the drop shot, the first thing that you need to be is in attack position, no? So you need good position on court. So when I do the drop shots, it’s because I have the advantage in the point.
What Roger had to say after Rafa beat him at the 2006 FO, 18 years ago.
“He always brings a certain level of play but you never feel you have absolutely no chance.”
Author: Here lies the frustration and, perhaps, the self-delusion. Much of Nadal’s play may be essentially defensive, but his raking forehand is a shot of rare wonder, and increasing variety. And, providing he stays fit, he can only get better.
[Source Article: Nadal Wipes Out Federer’s Hopes of History, The Guardian, July 11, 2006]
How many times have we heard or read the phrases ‘Rafa brings a certain level of play’, or ‘brings something special to a match’. I posted this because I find the author’s interpretation of those phrases admirable, “the frustration and, perhaps the delusion” that you can win an unwinnable match. Such insight. Sure wish we had sports journalists of this calibre today.
Correction: Replace 18 with 12 years ago. Bad math😂
Rafa what an all round sportsman,
Love and prayers,
YOU GO RAFA and CONGRATULATIONS on making it to the semis.
So glad I missed most of the first set. I forgot to set my alarm and lost track of time. When I did get to Rafa’s match he was down 5:1 in the first set. My stomach took over. Not until 4:1 for Rafa in the second set did I dare start to relax. Once he won the second set I felt he was going to win the match. I kept telling myself he can do it in 6:4 like in the second set. Unscientific for sure but Hey! it made me feel better.
Mwah! Thank you champ!! Well done!
Finish it off Rafa! You can do it💪💪💪
Let’s hope Rafa clinches it before it gets to the lottery of a tie break.
Yes, the mistakes from Cilic are mounting. A shame for him as he’s been playing lights out tennis but his level had to drop at some stage. Well done Rafa for hanging tough and clinching the second – there is no such thing as a lost cause in his book! Now just hold on and get the job done. Please!,
Cilic breaking back was not good but Rafa got the 2nd finally. He should be in a good place for the final set. I hope……
That break of serve by Cilic to put him back on serve has just strengthened his confidence. He’s finding the angles, getting Rafa out wide to take control of the open court. Too good. Not sure what Rafa can do other than hope for mistakes.
Yay for the mistakes. Final set now. Stay strong Rafa!
He’ll get there Mac – I’m sure of it. Its tense viewing though
Whew… I know Susie, thanks. Some uncomfortable viewing there:) Hopefully Rafa wraps up the second set and settles down in the third.
Come on Rafa you’re much better than this!
The shot clock has certainly brought a new dimension to the game. From what i’ve seen so far, Rafa doesn’t seem to be phased by it. He played so calmly against Stan, even when his serve was broken. He was warned for going over time i the match, but i think momentarily, Rafa forgot about the clock. I don’t think the shot clock per se is a bad thing, but my only concern is the element of discretion and when umpires choose to start and stop the clock. As i understand it, the clock must be started when the serve receives the balls. I tried to look up the rules, but couldn’t find anything. Can anyone shed light on other aspects of the rules?
Lorna, I found the following on the ATP site. Does this help answer your question?
• Serve Clock
o The server will be given up to 25 seconds to serve. This will be enforced in the following ways:
During a game • Following the point, the score will be entered, the Chair Umpire will announce the score, and then start the 25 second-clock. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.
After even-numbered games • The Chair Umpire will start the clock when the balls are all in place on the server’s end of the court. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.
o The receiver is responsible for playing to the server’s reasonable pace.
It does not clarify the first serve of the first set, the first ball to be served at the beginning of a match. I think this should be the first point in ways the clock will be enforced since it is a new “innovation”. It should cover all serves even though everyone knows it’s 25 seconds. And if it is different in the various levels of tournaments they need to clarify this also. Sorry, I’m a stickler for clarity.
The Chair Umpire will have the ability and discretion to pause the clock.
The Chair Umpire will have the ability to resume the clock from the same time or reset the clock to 25-seconds
Thanks for this additional detail, Margo. At the start of the match, the clock starts when the umpire says “play” doesn’t it? In terms of discretion, I suppose we’ll just have to study how the umpires use it in unusual situations. I notice that the receiver is responsible for playing at the server’s “reasonable” pace. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the grand slams over the best of five sets when it’s more physically demanding.
Lorna you’re welcome.
That’s just it. There should be a clearly delineated rule encompassing the “clock.”
I found the following again on a Rogers Cup website
These rule changes were a result of collaboration and consultation between all three organizations, and are aimed at increasing pace of play and ensuring a consistent set of enforcement standards.
The following innovations will be instituted:
A one-minute clock will begin when the second player/team entering the court arrives at their chair(s). If at the end of that one minute, a player is not at the net, they will be notified by the Chair Umpire and subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.
A five-minute time clock will begin following the coin-toss and begin the warm-up period. During this time, the Chair Umpire will make announcements informing the players of the 3-minute, 2-minute, 1-minute, 30-seconds, and end-of-warm-up marks. Following the conclusion on the five-minute warm-up period, a one-minute countdown will commence. At the end of this one-minute countdown, a player must be ready to play. If a player is not ready at this juncture, the Chair Umpire will announce a “Start of Match Violation” and the player will be subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.
To me, the above seems to imply a server can take forever to hit the first ball of a match, as long as he pays a fine.
Your thoughts? Only when you get a chance.
Margo, I think that the “Start of Match Violation” fine is absurd, disproportionate and totally unnecessary.
Lorna, I agree about the fine but was thinking more about somehow incorporating the very first serve rule of the match into the serve clock rules or at least reference it. To simply it, to make it clearer. I just think it’s poorly written. They should have learned from the Wimbledon nonsense.
How could I forget, it was so thoughtful of Rafa in thanking the spectators for waiting so long for the match to end. That was a sweet moment as was his very kind words for Stan in recognizing him as one of the best. The audience agreed, with heartfelt applauses.
I did not hear Rafa’s remarks, but of course he would be gracious. Rafa and Stan are good friends and practice partners. He is sincere in his comments about wishing Stan well. Thanking the fans was so nice too.
Rafa is so mannerly he is a credit to his family
Good luck and Vamos Rafa <3
Rafa has become the first player to clinch a spot in the ATP Finals.
It was a great game ,yes I wondered it’s up to the Umpire to what the clock is set at seems strange ..
I hopethats not true !!
Yes Barbara, the umpires will be working the clocks. See my comment below on what Rafa said and my response.
Buena suertwe mi querido Rafa eres nuestro campeon. VAMOS RAFA
Rafa: “It depends on the umpire.” I don’t like the sound of that. Granted, I thought the shot clock was put in place so players would adhere to the respective time limits. And also to keep umpires impartial when handing out warnings or violations. Rafa’s comment seems to add yet another dimension, “Depends on the umpire, how quick he puts the clock going.” I want to see consistent and impartial use of the clock.
And isn’t a drop shot a just shot like any other? Why have interviewers used the term “trick shot” to Rafa when he has done it?
Margo, I was not one to push for a shot clock, but I admit that I wish Rafa had fewer tics. I watched his 2005 Rogers Cup win and he was only pulling his shorts. Novak said that to him, the shot clock meant more time to serve. Each Chair has a different process. This is not what the reformers thought would happen. I do worry that it makes Rafa a little nervous.
Hopefully the clock won’t make him nervous. By his comment here he has no doubt he will get used to “playing like this.” I don’t know if his tics are a hindrance or if they actually help him to concentrate. I think he’ll adjust just as he has done in so many other situations when he could have simply given up.
By the way, I came across something earlier today but can’t find it now. Roig is with him but an additional coach from his academy is also in Toronto with them. I should have written down the name. Did you come across anything like that?
Margo, there’s no reply button further down, so – I think the additonal coach you mentioned is Tomeu Salva. He was part of Rafa’s team at Wimbledon and they have been friends since childhood. Tomeu, who was a successful player on the tour in his teens, works as a coach at the academy and is often Rafa’s hitting partner there. I’ve read that he will be helping Jaume Munar (the up and coming young player from Mallorca who trains at the academy) at Cincy and USO, but I’m not sure if Carlos Moya will be back with Rafa by then.
jas_uk, YES..he’s the one. THANKS. It was driving me nutzzzz!
And another thank you for the information on him. It’s a lot more than what I read.
Yes about Munar, the Academy has been giving his name a lot of press mentions/coverage. Maybe we’ll get to see him soon. I wonder if he is as talented or more as the Canadian youngster Auger-Aliassime.
Rafa’s not giving much away about his proposed tactics against Cilic. What we know for sure, is that he is a smart tactician and will fight to the end to get the win. Best of luck champ!
You’ve got that right 200%
Had no doubts RAFA you will do great tonight . god speed .
Rafa has my vote. Always does.
RAFAMAZING ROCKS TENNIS
Rafa’s NextGen quip is funny. But I guess he forgot the Big Four. I remember Rafa asking his interviewer if his name was Big Four when he referred to Rafa as one of the Big Four. It was covered here 2-3 years ago. Maybe a longtime member will remember it. Rafa had us all laughing.
RAFA IS WORLD #1 IN NAME AND ACTION