Rafael Nadal after Madrid loss: “I think I have tennis ahead of me”

AFP7 via ZUMA Wire

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. Can you do an assessment of the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: From my point of view I’ve done things properly, mentally talking and done things that were not so good. My feelings were different compared to 5pm. I trained at 5pm and it was very hot. And afterwards on court the conditions were totally different.

Q. He’s a really good talent, isn’t he? You say people were believing on you because you saved a couple of match points. There had been good moments.
RAFAEL NADAL: Big moments are when you manage to come back. That is the reality of the situation and I had to try to the very end and that is the way it’s been.

And well, I know Tsitsipas quite well, or his game. Personally, I don’t know him. And from then onwards, I knew what I had to do, it was clear, but I just was uncapable of doing it. What I wanted to do, I have been uncapable of doing it.

I haven’t had a good feeling today to do the things I wanted to do and that’s all. We don’t have to think much more about it. I was clear what I had to do today, but tonight I wasn’t capable of doing it.

Q. You were saying that each match you were improving, that you were feeling really good. What does this mean?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s a defeat. It’s a last possibility to be able to play a final in an important tournament for me, a lovely tournament. I’ve lost that opportunity.

And the reality, what does that mean? It just means that I’m not going to be tomorrow playing a match, another day in front of all of these great people who come here to support me. And what they give me, it is impossible to describe and thank them enough. This is what has happened tonight.

Tennis is about winning or losing. I have been able to win a lot for a lot of years on this surface. And this year, it seems that’s not the way and I am really close to it, but not managing to win. And then you just have to accept it and I have to accept it naturally. But to accept things does not mean to try to change things.

But during all my life, I think I have taken the victories very naturally and with a lot of normality. With the losses I’ll do the same. It will be normal and I’m going to accept it naturally, in a natural way.

And we can try and find as many excuses, or ifs, or possible, or whys, but at the end, it’s a matter of playing good tennis and if you play at a good level, I think I would have been able to win today’s match. I wasn’t able to play as good as I wanted to play. So, the consequence is that I was not able to win the match.

What does this mean towards the future? We will see. I cannot tell you what it will mean in the future. Hopefully, I will accept this defeat properly and we will see what happens next week. I will face some matches there then until Paris. We will see what happens there and then we will see what happens week after week, day after day. I’ll try to work in a proper way, in a proper manner, with a proper attitude and then just believe in my possibilities and believe that things will work out and they will click.

Q. This season, this clay season is normally really good and this year, you are not winning a title. Does it generate some kind of anxiety in you, or something? How long can a defeat like today hurts you?
RAFAEL NADAL: This is a really lovely tournament for me and I really like them and, unfortunately, I have lost this match. And, you know, I won in Barcelona, won in Monte-Carlo in the past, and next week in Rome. I don’t know if I have won six or seven and in Paris I have won 11 titles. So, for me, each week that I play in this tournament is a lot of memories, a lot of unforgettable memories, and not winning means that I’m not going back to my hotel happy. But I’m not going to win 15 Monte-Carlos, this is the reality of the situation.

I think that it’s more normal what is happening right now, that what happened in the last 14 years, let’s say. So, I think I have tennis ahead of me. I have time ahead of me. I’ll be able to try to win this kind of tournament that I was not able to win this year. And what I have to do is to be fit and to play properly and a high tennis level.

If I manage to do that next year, I think I will still have a very good opportunity to fight for all of these titles and for the rest of the year, I still have two tournaments. And we will see what happens there.

I think I have done a few steps forward, maybe not enough, but I have improved some things and we will see until when I can be able to play at a high level and I think I will be able to continue. And if I’m not able to do these things properly, that is the end of the situation, period.

We don’t have to make any drama or over-think when things are going bad. It is a sport and in a sport it’s a matter of winning and sometimes losing and accepting both as naturally as possible.

Q. Knowing that you like to play in a sunny day at 4pm, is there any reason why you have played three days in a row at night? I don’t know if you asked for that? Why have you played at night?
RAFAEL NADAL: There were different options and at the end, it was decided to play like this. We don’t have to over-think about it. Yesterday, I played really well. Today I haven’t been able to play so well. Well, we don’t have to try to find an excuse if it’s because it’s night or day.

I played really good matches at night here a couple of years ago. I also played good at night, so yesterday I played very well during the night. But I don’t think that we have to find an excuse if I’m playing at night or during the day. No, no, I won’t find excuses.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. At the start of the second set, it seemed like you were talking to your box about Stefanos’ behavior, and in the third set you didn’t serve it out which you normally do?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?

Q. At the start of the second set you talked to your box, I think, about Stefanos’ behavior because he didn’t, he was not satisfied with a decision of the umpire. And in the third set, you didn’t serve it out. Was there something about his behavior which you didn’t like today?
RAFAEL NADAL: You watching the match?

Q. Yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: Okay.

Q. What was it for you especially? Like, did he always want to get the umpire to check the marks?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no problem at all. That’s why I the umpire is there. Of course, I didn’t want to play against him because sometimes he forget the half ball inside, half ball out is good (smiling). I’m joking (laughing).

Yeah, I don’t know. It is difficult to understand sometimes, no. It is difficult to understand when the ball is clear, good, and he still wants to go down the umpire and check the mark. I don’t understand. But that’s all. No problem at all.

Q. As you get older, have you considered reducing your commitment to clay and focussing on one or two tournaments instead of four or five?
THE MODERATOR: Can you repeat that?

Q. On the clay, you play a lot of tournaments. As you get older, would you consider playing less tournaments to protect your body better on the clay?
RAFAEL NADAL: I’m sorry to answer that way, but last year I played nine events. This year, I’m not playing a lot. I just played three tournaments on clay and then three tournaments before clay. It’s not much. And I play when I want to play and I play where I want to play. I just play for my happiness and I play when I really want to play. That’s all.

Q. You have had a lot of looks at Stefanos’ game now you have played him a number of times. Do you feel — he is a young guy, he is improving, do you sense a change in his game or is it more about you tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: You put me in a position that is tough to answer (smiling). Being honest, my feeling is was more about me tonight. He is young, he is improving and he has good talent. But I don’t see myself losing that match if I play the same level that I played in Barcelona 2017 final, or in Australia at the beginning of the season. That’s my feeling. I am not — that’s my truth, maybe it’s not the truth, but that is my feeling.

And I feel that I needed to play longer and my feeling was I didn’t create enough damage when I was hitting the forehand. Of course he played well, he played with power and he’s aggressive. But my feeling’s in the intermediate balls, in the normal balls, I was not able to create him the feeling that he was going to suffer when I was hitting the forehand. That’s my feeling. And when an opponent is not feeling that, he plays more comfortably.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

22 comments

  1. i think the rafa trade mark topspin jumping shots is missing it is really difficult to play to any player so rafa bring that heavy topspin bouncing shots. And you are right in your analysis play long and deep and just be calm and take time don’t be hasty and most importantly the down the line FH is really required. everyone should not forget rafa going to play in sun in FO and the sunny condition really helps rafa game.

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  2. I love Rafa and have been a die hard fan ever since I saw him the first time right in the beginning.
    Maybe Rafa knows what he’s doing – I really hope so. In my opinion he’s definitely lacking in self confidence therefore he’s also quite inconsistent in all departments of his game especially the serves. I think he needs help where mental strength and self belief is concerned to do it on ones own is very tough especially at this stage. Being too humble and respectful and thinking he would be arrogant if he doesn’t doubt himself does not help. Rafa would never seem arrogant or disrespectful no matter how self confidence etc. he is. I want him to win Rime and the FO more than ever but …..
    Djokovic has all 4 GSs in his sight this year and unfortunately it seems quite probable. He is mentally too strong and the will to win is tremendous- at all cost. He has an aim and for him losing or winning is something else. It’s not just a game for him. He seems to be a nemesis for most of the players. How sad!!!!
    If Rafa does not win then I hope it’s someone else – except Djokovic or Federer. Sorry – not very sporting but …..

    Rafa come back to your winning ways!!!!!!

    VAMOS!!!! 🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀🍀

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  3. I also read in Telecinco that Rafa will get married in June, but I don’t think that’s likely as he won’t want to miss Wimbledon. I read from a different source that he’ll get wed in September (after the US Open) which makes more sense.

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    • Yes, I read in Holà! the Spanish people magazine last month that it would be in Sept.after US Open as the season is more relaxed then. It is when he spends more time in Majorca before China. Last year we saw him a lot during that time when I was in Majorca, after training etc. I have already told you I was lucky😀 as he did not even go to China and spent a good few weeks there. Like you say it makes more sensé.😯Fiona in Paris

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    • Also, all the Nadal family weddings, christenings and funerals have taken place in the Iglesia dels Dolors, their parish church in the centre of Manacor. I don t understand about it being in the north of Majorca 😕 Could be that there would .be such an influx of people that the historic centre of Manacor would be flooded. It is a small old town. They already said in Majorca that at any Nadal event the aréa is fenced off for the official guests and the général public are not allowed néar . It is understandable . Fiona in Paris

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  4. VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) GREAT INTERVIEW AND LOVE ALL YOUR WISDOM!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY A BEAUTIFUL TOUR AND HAVE A BEAUTIFUL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) PUSHED AND TOLD WHAT TO SAY DURING INTERVIEWS TO CREATE AN ILLUSION OF WINNING TALK, NOVAK IN ANY GIVEN MEDIA OPPORTUNITY, WAS TOLD TO SAY WORDS SUCH AS : HOW HE KNOWS HOW TO WIN PLAYING AGAINST NADAL, AND SAYING HE KNOWS YOUR GAME, AND HAS PLANS ETC…… WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND SWEETHEART, AND PLEASE TRUST THAT THAT’S ALL IT IS…..HE KEPT TALKING AND IT HELPED HIM BUT TRUTH BE TOLD, NOVAK IS NOT A STRONGER PLAYER THAN YOU……HE DOES NOT HAVE THE INTUITIVE TENNIS GENIUS YOU HAVE, AND FOR SURE HE DOES NOT HAVE YOUR CLASSY, EXTRAORDINARY POINTS AND PASSIONATE PRESENCE ON THE COURT……..HE IS NOT FOLLOWED, ADORED AND ADMIRED LIKE YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IF YOU LOOK AT REPLAYS, PLEASE PLEASE NOTE THAT OFTEN HE BASICALLY NEARLY FAINTS DURING END OF MATCHES, BOTH 3 OR 5 SET MATCHES, HE IS OUT OF ENERGY AND ENDURANCE…..BUT SOMEHOW GETS AWAY WITH IT BECAUSE PLAYERS DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THAT AND THEY DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIS TIREDNESS. HE DOES NOT HAVE ENDURANCE AND THE BREATH FOR LONG BACK AND FORTH POINTS.
    VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW YOU HAVE GREATER CAPACITY, GREATER WINNING EXPERIENCE, MORE VICTORIES, AND GREATER NATURAL PHYSICAL STRENGTH AND POWER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU HAVE MOST PRECIOUS EFFECTIVE SERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IT WORKS JUST BRILLIANTLY AND IT ALWAYS HELPS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ENJOY INSPIRING VICTORIOUS WORDS FROM HIGH MOTIVATION SCRIPTS AND TRUST YOU HAVE IT….YOU HAVE THE GOODS OVER NOVAK, OVER R. AND OVER THE YOUNGER UPRISING PRECIOUS STARS. THAT IS FACTUAL TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) FOR SURE AS YOU WISELY MENTIONED, LIFE EVOLVES, THINGS CHANGE, AND YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY GENIUS IN MAKING THE ADJUSTMENTS AND IMPROVEMENTS. SO IF YOU LOOK AT REPLAYS, YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE YOUR STRENGTH AND STRIDE AND POWER AND BEAUTIFUL TENNIS. VAMOS SWEETHEART YOU KNOW IT INSIDE OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE STILL RELEVANT. YOU ARE STILL THE STRONGEST, MOST BRILLIANTLY FIT WITH SOLID POWER ON THE COURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU HAVE BRILLIANT ENDURANCE, YOU ARE SPEEDY WITH MAGICAL TOUCH, AND NO MATTER WHAT, EACH MATCH YOU PLAY YOUR SOLID THINKING WILL INCLUDE YOUR INNER VICTORIOUS KNOWING TILL THE LAST POINT. I LOVE YOUR PERCEPTION ABOUT SPORT OUTCOME AND SO, OF COURSE, IT IS NATURAL ANYONE IS CAPABLE OF WINNING OR LOSING BUT THE IMPACT OF VICTORIOUS GLADIATOR WORDS AND THE INFLUENCE OF POWERFUL, RISING ABOVE POSITIVE PRECIOUS WORDS DURING MATCH ARE THERE FOR YOU SWEETHEART TO KEEP DEEPLY. CI……..CI……..CI…….KEEPING IN MIND YOU ARE THE TOUGHEST COMPETITOR OUT THERE AND MOST BRILLIANT FIGHTER TENNIS HAS EVER SEEN, IT IS IMPORTANT THEREFORE TO TAKE GREAT STRENGTH AND KEEP GLIDING AND SLIDING AND ENJOYING OUR MAGIC ON THE COURT WHEN SUCH WORDS TRAVEL WITH YOU SIDE BY SIDE EACH POINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) . VAMOS SWEETHEART AND ENJOY YOUR ROME TOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IT WILL BE A BEAUTIFUL TOUR AND THE ITALIANS LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) WE LOVE YOU AND SENDING LOTS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) YOU ARE 100% CORRECT……YOU HAVE A LOT MORE TENNIS IN YOU SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) MEDIATING…….KEEPING YOUR PRECIOUS FITNESS AND ENJOYING MUSIC AND TREADMILL BLISS THE WAY YOU DO PRIOR TO MATCHES IS BEAUTIFUL AND SO IMPRESSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) IT ALWAYS MAKES ME SMILE HOW YOU GET ION THE TREADMILL BETWEEN GROUP MATCH TOURS….. HAVE BEAUTIFUL NIGHT AND A BEAUTIFUL FUN TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX KEEP SMILING SWEETHEART ! : )

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  5. It just goes to show you that it just doesn’t matter how much Rafa wins and has achieved in his astonishing, breath-taking career, the media still has to shine a spotlight on his losses which are few. Shame on the media, leave Rafa alone already. Big deal he lost a match. Look at the bigger picture, media!

    It doesn’t matter how many records he has broken. Rafa is the first to win the same grand slam in the double digits. I don’t see anyone matching that record anytime soon. That record is way beyond belief. Rafa’s love and passion for this sport is what keeps me riveted every time he steps on the court. Win or lose Rafa is simply the best.

    I knew Novak was going to win Madrid with his walk-over from Clilic due to food poisoning and then of course, Stefanos had nothing left in the tank after defeating Rafa after midnight while Novak was done earlier that day and super well-rested. Congrats to him but sometimes that is how these draws play out.

    I will always support our Champ, Rafa. Best of luck in Rome! Still so much more tennis to be played.

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  6. Three semi-finals in a row is actually pretty good going by nearly anyone else’s standards. The only really bad tournament he’s had all year has been Acapulco. The Mirror (British tabloid) is claiming that the wedding is in June and that he’s going to miss Wimbledon because of it. I wouldn’t normally believe anything the Mirror says, but they’ve got it from Telecinco in Spain and I don’t know how reliable that is.

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    • It’s hard to believe that Rafa will miss Wimbledon to get married, considering how well he played there last year (I thought the semi-final against Djokovic was the best match he played at Wimbledon). But Rafa knows what’s best for him. 🙂

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  7. Do not overthink or dramatize. Rafael’s advice is logical and realistic. It is a sport, and because he is in a class by himself, superhuman results are expected. Other players who struggle with injuries have not achieved his results. (Murray, Delpo,Raonic, Berdych etc.). He is a professional, with a team behind him. He clearly states that he is choosing where and when he plays. Enjoy his play while we can; it will be unlikely for anyone to match his achievements. 🙏🥰

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  8. We, the fans, should start a campaign to name one of Roland Garros courts after Rafa.. The Rafa Nadal court.. He deserves it.. The made history.. None will get it 11 times in near future..
    #Rafa_Nadal_Court #RG19

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    • WI……….WI………WI……….TIMELY SUGGESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) RG COURT NAMED AFTER GOAT RAFA NADAL WILL BE A CLASSY GESTURE FOR HIS BRILLIANT EARNESTLY EARNED AND WELL DESERVED BRIILIANT TENNIS STARDOM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) THANK YOU!

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    • RG is going to put a statue of Rafa up. They announced that in 2017 after La Decima. Sorta like the one of Fred Perry at Wimbledon. The main courts of RG have names already. I wouldn’t like to see a minor court named after Rafa, one he’s probably never played on. He deserves better!

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  9. Rafa summed up in his last words, the main reason he lost to Tsitsipas: “……I think I didn’t create enough damage when I was hitting the forehand….”. Going into Rome, I hope that somehow he can fix things. Good luck champ.

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  10. I believe Rafa can get through this bad spell, so long as it’s not a result of his age and injuries catching up with him and slowing him down.

    Djokovic went through such a spell at the start of last year… but look how he ended it in style. Granted, Djoker’s mental attitude and that of Rafa are markedly different.

    Stay strong and believe in yourself Rafa!

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  11. Stop hounding him. He lost but it’s not the end of the world for him. He still wants to play and that’s all we need to know. He has a couple more tournaments and then he will see how he does and what he wants to do.
    One thing I didn’t like how Tsitsipas treated him at the end. Very disrespectful and uncaring. That guy needs to grow up and get some class!!

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  12. To bad you lost but is another tournament vamossssssssss champ you can do it you have support. From your fans all over the world 🌎💪😘❤️🎾🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎

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    • I think Rafa summed up in his last words, the main reason he lost to Tsitsipas: “….I think I didn’t create enough damage when I was hitting the forehand….” Going into Rome, I hope that somehow he can fix things. Good luck champ.

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