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?
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