Transcript of Rafa’s presser after the Tiafoe match.
Q. What are some of your daily rituals that keep you performing at your best?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t have daily rituals, no? I have my normal thing. No, I don’t have something that I do specifically every day, no, no. Being honest.
Q. You had a bit of tape on your abdomen area. Is that the same problem you were suffering with last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am in semifinals. Is not the day to talk about this. Thank you very much for your worry. Things that happen during the tournament, that’s all.
Q. The Australian Open has been a challenge, difficulties. What does it mean to you after being off the tour for a good period of time to now reach the semis?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is a great feeling, of course. Is true that I suffered things in a row for a few months. As always, is not easy to say. Has not been easy times for me because the world is much tougher for the most of the people than for me, of course.
But in terms of my personal feeling, of course have been some troubles in a row, so not easy situations. Yeah, last thing have been in Abu Dhabi, so I didn’t have the chance to play in Brisbane. Was, of course, a tough moment. At the same time has been positive that I felt myself playing well, practicing well there in Brisbane. Have been a positive week for me practicing there.
I came here with the positive feelings I have done a lot of things well before the tournament start. Then you have to compete, you have to win matches, because after a while without competing is always a challenge.
But I really did a lot of things well during the whole week. For me, yeah, so special to be back where I am today. Means that I started the season in a good way again, and that’s very positive for me.
Of course, now is another tough match against Stefanos. But be in the semifinals for the first Grand Slam of the year after what happened the last few months, can happen great things during the next couple of days or not. But anyway, have been a positive start of the year for me.
Q. You’re well aware how people talk about the NextGen group coming up, challenging you guys. Is it at all important to you when you face them at this stage of a slam to put the hammer down on them, to beat them to make sure they don’t start getting self-belief against you guys?
RAFAEL NADAL: Being honest with you, for me, I play another match if they are the NextGen or not. For me what really matters is win the match and give myself a chance to be in the next round. That’s the real feeling for me at this stage of my career.
Is not like don’t give them confidence or not. I know they are good. I know they will be fighting for the most important things during the next couple of years. I don’t take it that way. I just take it like a difficult match against players that they have a lot of energy. That’s all. Is another match.
Is a difficult match. I try to do my thing, do it well to try to give myself the chance to be through.
Q. What was your impression of Frances’ game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he’s quick. He has a strong forehand. Is difficult to read his game sometimes. He can go to the net. He can sometimes slice. He can hit some good backhands, too. He can hit very good shots from every match. That’s my feeling.
Then is true that I played very solid match. I felt having the break at the beginning of every set, that give me a lot of confidence. Then I was serving well, playing solid. He was against the score all the time. Is not easy to play that way.
Q. Can you look ahead to your semifinal against Tsitsipas. What sticks out in your mind from when you’ve played him in the past?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he’s a player that what happened in the past, I don’t know if going to have a great impact or not about what can happen, no? When you face these young players, they are in permanent improvement. He’s with confidence. He won a lot of good matches. Will be a tough one.
For me is always the same: you are in the semifinals of a Grand Slam, you can’t expect an easy opponent. Stefanos is one of the best players of the world. To have the chance to be in that final, I need to play my best, and that’s what I am looking for.
Q. Did you watch his match against Roger? What most impressed you about it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I saw the first set, then I went for dinner. Being honest, I saw the first set. Yeah, I went for dinner with the team. We are Spanish, so we went for dinner late. We don’t come back that early.
Yeah, was a good quality of tennis in that first set. Very emotional tiebreak. Then I didn’t see it. But I saw him play today. I saw him play against Basilashvili the other day. He’s a charismatic player. Good shots from both sides, good serve.
Yeah, is a good challenge for me. I hope to be ready for it. I think I am playing well.
Q. Were you surprised to come back and find out that he won?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think Roger in the second set was unlucky. I was following on the live score. A lot of breakpoints in key moments that probably if he takes one of them, one of that breakpoints, probably will be a big difference on that score.
Surprising or not, I will not say no because always when Federer is on court, is always surprise when he loses, no? But we know they are good. We know that Stefanos is one of these players that can win against everybody.
Was a surprise but not a very big surprise. I know Stefanos is ready to win against everybody.
Q. You have a lot of shorter matches. Is this year in Australia one of your best places — do you feel well placed this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am playing well. I did a lot of things well during the week and a half. Let’s see. I don’t know. I can’t predict what can happen. I am just going day by day and being very happy about the way things started for me, as I said before.
Is very positive the way that I am in that semifinals. That’s the only thing that I can say. Then I going to try to be ready for it.
Source: Australian Open