A transcript of the presser Rafael Nadal gave after his win over James Duckworth in Melbourne.
Q. Well done today. Tested out the new serve in kind of a match scenario. I think you got broken twice. How do you think it performed overall in match conditions?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. No, no, when I get broken was not because of the serve. I played against a super aggressive player. Today he went on court with the determination to don’t play tennis the way that, you know, I understand tennis. He went on court, you know – is not a negative point. Not at all. Believe me. He went on court probably doing a thing that works well for him, and he gives him some chances.
And he played smart and he played well. When you play against a player that he wants to hit all the shots, of course you can have breaks against, because you are sometimes in his hands.
But anyway, my serve worked well. I don’t know my percentage, but was a lot of good positions after the first serve. I felt solid with the second. And in general terms I am happy about the victory of today against, as I said before, a very difficult opponent to play.
Q. Physically how are you feeling? Because you were saying on court how it’s difficult to come back from a long period without playing. Physically after your first match, how do you think you’re holding up?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. No, as I said, no, is normal that beginnings are tough, but every day helps and every day makes me feel better, makes me feel more confident.
So that’s an important victory because is the first victory since a while, and at the same time, because that gives me the chance to be on court again. And that’s what I need today.
Q. A lot of talk about the president of the ATP, some debate, should there be a change. I just wondered what your views on it were?
RAFAEL NADAL: Being honest, I am not in the council anymore, and at the same time, nobody from the council side came to me and asked me my opinion.
So I can’t have a real opinion on all of this, because no one of my representatives came to me and asked me if I am happy with the president or not.
Was the first information I had that maybe Chris is not continuing. No, no, I didn’t heard about it, but I suppose if something, some crucial decisions like this, I don’t know, I understand that somebody from the council should come to me and ask my position.
But I know is not always the right thing and easy thing to do.
Q. We discussed during the first press conference about Andy and his problems, and today Maria Sharapova said that she’s having some long-term problems with her shoulder. As someone who has unfortunately had many issues with injuries, how do you plan around not knowing how you’re gonna feel on the following day? How do you plan your trainings, your rests, your sessions, when you don’t know if your body is going to allow you to do what you want to do?
RAFAEL NADAL: In my personal side, my plan is wake up and see how I feel. Depends how I feel with the one thing or with another thing.
That’s not possible, different plans today. So I am working about the personal feelings of every day, and all my team works that way. We need to adapt our practice every day about the body feelings and about the needs of my tennis. So nothing new when you have comebacks, you need to do it that way, and worked well all my career for me that way.
Q. Returning to the council thing, Federer came in yesterday and he kind of said a similar thing to you, that he didn’t really know much about the situation, but he said that he’d go and find you, Novak, and Andy and kind of get your opinions on it. I was just wondering if Roger had spoken to you yet about that, and also, if you will go and seek out Novak, as he’s the kind of council president, have a kind of discussion with him?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t have to go. He’s in the council or all the players are on the council; they have to come to me. That’s why they are in the council and I am not in the council anymore. When I was in the council, that was me I have to go to the players and ask their opinions. It’s not my work anymore.
By the way, if they want to read my opinion, I tell you, I think I believe in the projects at long-term, not short-term, as everybody knows in my life. And because of that, I believe that is not good to have changes all the time, because is difficult to develop a good project of work if we have changes every three, four years. Is difficult.
So I don’t know. I believe that Chris probably did some good work out there, and I don’t see him doing negative things or enough negative things to not continue in the position. That today probably he knows all the situation of the world of tennis better than a new person that should come and will lose a period of time knowing all the things, how it’s going, how the things are going, no?
That’s the thing. In the other hand, I would love to see from the ATP some support to the people from Mallorca. I did some donation to the people. For me will be, I will feel supported if I receive economical – if the ATP did an economical support to that people during that terrible period of time that we had at home, and with people that was very next to me.
And I believe they are 100 per cent free to do what they did, but in my opinion, if something happens to the country of one of the players that did, in my opinion, important things for this sport and give a lot of things to the sport, not talking about me, talking about Roger, Novak, Andy, something happens to the people next to them, I would love to see the organization that is running the sport supporting that people.
Didn’t happen in my case. I can’t be happy with that, but in terms of the president thing, I believe will be good for the sport if he continues.
Q. The floods were terrible for the island and for many people that you were close to. How did that change your perspective on things? What was your reflection on the terrible floods and its impact?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s not changing my perspective of anything. I know the real life, how tough can be. Today happen in Mallorca. Few weeks ago happened in Indonesia. World is suffering. Not only with this, with wars, with terrible things that’s going on.
The thing is that time happened in the village just next to me and in a village that I have a lot of family living there. So we lost people that we know and people that have been next to me or next to close friends of me.
Having a tough period of time. And there are families that lost almost everything. But I am happy that all the island was together helping each other, and at some point, we receive huge support. Was good.
In the same time, I have to thank the newspapers and the media from around the world for putting the floods on their newspapers, because that helps of receiving support from everywhere. So that was really important for all of us.
Human losses can’t repair at all. But the rest of the things, we are getting there.
Q. Do you feel like real life means maybe not everyone who would like to make a living as an ATP player can advance well enough to get an ATP spot? I mean, and obviously talking about more money for the lower levels. But maybe some people just unfortunately don’t have enough talent or luck or whatever and they can’t guarantee everyone a living who wants to play?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Asking for interpretation.) If it’s fair that in the first rounds they are receiving more money?
Q. No, no, just in general. There are a lot of people who would like to make a living, but where they are located in the game rankings they are not making enough of a living, but maybe that’s just real life, they are not good enough, in other words. That they shouldn’t be guaranteed a living, necessarily, because they want to play.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Asking for interpretation.)
Q. I’m just saying that some people might not be and would like to have a living.
RAFAEL NADAL: The sport is not fair for everyone, and the real thing is the life is not fair for everyone. That’s the real thing. It’s difficult to fix this at all, but at some point, in my opinion, from the players’ side, at some point we created jobs on our sport in the last 10 years, that’s my feeling, and that’s the great news.
The sport is not only bigger if the top guys wins a lot of money. Is bigger if more people lives from the sport too. My feeling is that’s happening more today than ten years ago. That’s good news, and tournaments understands that it’s important to pay more in the first rounds, in the qualifiers, and the lower tournaments are growing, too.
So the tour in general terms I think is improving, and being honest. Countries like this one and Tennis Australia by itself helps a lot to make that happen.
Source: Australian Open
Good playing Rafa keep up the good work and on to Victory.
Wonderful and emotional to see you back in court . Great match, some top class shots by both Rafa and James , Rafa looked sharp and confident .finishing in three sets was great .
Fantastic interview , Rafa is one of the most intelligent players, so aware of what life is outside of tennis .
Interesting re ATP , nobody asked his opinion !! How good is communication . In fairness to Rafa and Roger in particular they have done a lot to improve money for lower ranked players .
Go Rafa , looking super in sunshine yellow , rest and on to the second round 🍀👍🌟
All the best champ. Good start today and hopefully no pain anymore. Vamos Rafa <3