Rafael Nadal explains how tiring and gratifying it was to comeback and win against Dominic Thiem in the US Open quarterfinal.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How would you describe the physical and mental challenge of this match tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, very demanding in all aspects. Have been a very tough start for me. After that first set, then the match became more normal. Tough match against a great opponent.
Yeah, have been physical demanding because the conditions have been tough out there, too. Not crazy, but tough. And, yes, I played against a great opponent. He played a good match. Sorry for him, yeah. He’s a top guy, being honest. He’s one of the best guys on tour. He always plays and practice with a great attitude.
Sad for him because when arrive this moment, he did all the things well to win the match. Me, too, I think. I fighted until the end. Yeah, was question of little bit of luck at the end, and was for me. Happy, of course, to be in semifinals again means a lot to me. Is good to have now two days that probably give me the chance to be on my 100% in the semifinals.
Q. Serena Williams said earlier today that big wins mean more to her now as she gets older in her career, potentially fewer years left. Do you feel that at all, they’re a little bit more special as you get older?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, tennis is not forever. Of course, you know that your chances to play these kind of matches every time are less, remain less chances.
But in some way, being honest, I had a very tough injury in 2005. I had the chance to really appreciate all the things that happened to me during my career because I had in different moments tough injuries. So when you are back, you always appreciate the things that happens, and have more value, more personal value, when you come from tough moments, no?
Yeah, of course for me, I played a lot of long and tough matches in my career. That’s one more today. I like this feeling, but at the same time you feel tired after that.
But, you know, winning, losing, I lost in Wimbledon a match like this, today was for me. In some way when you give everything that you have, win or lose, is just that someone have to lose, someone have to win, that’s part of the game. But the personal satisfaction when you give everything and you play with the right attitude is the same.
For me, very happy to be in the semifinals. But being honest, after Wimbledon, I was happy about my attitude and my match there. When you win or when you lose like this, you come back home with the feeling that you did all the things that you can do.
Q. After the first set, did you string your racquet with a lower tension?
RAFAEL NADAL: When these things happens, normally I am not the guy that look at the string or look at the box or look at the racquet. I am the guy to look at myself. Nothing about the string. Nothing about the tension. Just about my negative level in the beginning of the match. I needed to move forward, to change that dynamic, and I did. But the first step to change that dynamic is not find an excuse on the racquet or on the string or on something that is not the true.
The only true is that you have to do things better to be able to fight for the point and fight for the match, no? I am critic with myself. That’s all. I did a very bad set. He played well. When was 4-0, the only thing that was in my mind was, Okay, finish that set and just try to be ready for the beginning of the next.
Q. One of the things the US Open is known for the most is the number of great matches that go into 1:30 in the morning, later. Now you have this match. Outside of your three US Open wins, is this match more memorable because this is going to be part of that list of great matches in the US Open that goes deep into the morning?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not that. What is important about this match is the level of tennis, the dramatic match. When the things happens like this, the atmosphere and the crowd became more special. People get involved. Yeah, have been a great match, great atmosphere there. Happy to be part of it. But not because it’s 3 in the morning. I am not happy about this (smiling).
Q. You’ve reached the last eight of each of the slams this year. What have you changed for that to happen? Change in scheduling and training?
RAFAEL NADAL: That I was in the quarterfinals of all the Grand Slams?
RAFAEL NADAL: Last year didn’t happen because of one point. That’s the true, no? Last year didn’t happen because I lost that match in Wimbledon against Muller 15-30 in the fifth. Was very close to make that happen.
Is not the moment to analyze all the things that I went through. But injuries, you know, since 2012. I did it 2011. 2012, half year injured, and I didn’t play Australia at all. I missed Wimbledon — not Wimbledon, but was the same as missing, because I was destroyed with the knee. After that I didn’t play until Vina del Mar 2013. 2013 I missed Australia, impossible. 2014, the same. I was not able to play I think in the US Open. 2014 I was playing very bad, that’s all. 2016 I get injured in Roland Garros again with the wrist.
That’s the things that happened since 2011. Is the history of my career, too. Probably I am sure that I missed more Grand Slams in my career in terms of the top guys comparing to the other top players, the one that I missed more Grand Slams. That’s probably the fact that I have not been in that position.
But happy for that. Is a great result, especially at this stage in my career. Just happy the things that I am doing, the way I’m working. Just try to focus and keep going the same way.
Q. With your history against DelPo, the match at Wimbledon, what are your thoughts about the next opportunity in a few days?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, will be a very tough one. Probably Juan Martin is — in Wimbledon he’s a great player. He’s a great player on grass. Well, he’s a great player everywhere. But the challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay, like happened in Roland Garros. Even like this, I had a very lucky first set.
Will be a big challenge. Is a match that we know each other very well. I know he’s playing well. I know that I will have to play at my highest level to keep having chances of success. I am focused on try to make that happen.
I think last three sets I improved. I increased my level. Was a step forward for me in the dynamic of the tournament. So I did it. I hope to continue that way.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports