Rafael Nadal speaks to the media ahead of Day 1 of The Championships
Q. How are you? There were rumors you may have fallen over in practice?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am good, yeah. Nothing.
Q. Did you fall over?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I fall over, but… In grass, sometimes is slippery. Nothing happens.
Q. What do you think it means for the sport to have you, Novak, and Roger all playing at the same time and playing so well?
RAFAEL NADAL: We have been talking about that enough, I think, no? Have been lot of talks about this. This thing, of course, we have been playing so well for such a long time. That’s something, yeah, unique in this sport because, of course, never happened in the past that three players more or less during the same timing achieved that much.
But here we are.
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel ready to practice this afternoon and to practice tomorrow. That’s my goal. It’s day by day, step by step. I have been improving every single day since I arrived here. I hope to be ready, being honest. I think I see the normal evolution.
Is normal that after when I played in Hurlingham I didn’t play bad, just played against players that have been playing on grass for many more days, competitive start.
That’s it. I played against two good players. I play against Sugita the first round. That’s the main thing for me, the main preparation for me. Then we can talk about that if I am able to win that match.
Q. Quite a bit of talk the last few days about the seeding situation. Some of it has been about Wimbledon’s formula for the seedings, some critics saying with the grass courts changing the way they have in the past 10 years, maybe the formula used to calibrate grass court results is not so useful any more. Can we have your thoughts on that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I respect all the situations. The stuff is about ATP. ATP we give two thousand points to this event. We let them to do whatever they want. That’s something that I don’t understand, because I can’t create an impact, not by myself.
I really come here to play tennis. For me the goal is the same always, it doesn’t matter if I’m second or third. Of course, can create an impact in the rankings at the end of the year, for example for Sascha, for Dominic.
It is not only about grass. The season is not only on grass. All the players work so hard to be where they are, then arrive here, they see a possibility to be in a tougher draw because of that.
Talking about if is fair or not, I respect the Wimbledon rules. Another thing is if I believe that is fair or not, that’s another story. I really personally believe is not. But I really respect the tournament so much. I really respect the history of this event. I really understand that they see the sport from another perspective. They want to do it by their own rules.
Another thing is we are an organization like ATP that, I repeat, we give two thousand points to this event. We supposed to have something to say about this Wimbledon rules when we are giving them the maximum points possible in one event.
Q. When you’re trying to win titles like this, the Grand Slams, how important is it for you to get through the first rounds, the first week, with as little damage physically as possible in terms of trying to get through fast, not spend too much time on the court?
RAFAEL NADAL: There is no two equal situations. I won 2010 I think here after a very, very tough first couple of rounds. Sometimes that helps, especially in this event, that you arrive here without playing much on this surface.
But the only thing that really matters is win the matches, no? Doesn’t matter how, what is the score. So just I really believe that the main thing is win at the beginning, of course, especially in my situation. Every hour and every match I am able to win helps a lot because I am playing well, I am coming with good confidence after playing a good end of the clay court season.
Is a different situation, different surface, so I need to spend time on court. I’m improving every day. But, of course, in terms of competitive match, on Tuesday going to be my first match. Going to be a tough one, a tough start against a player who already played three matches here. So is a challenge.
Q. Nick Kyrgios could be your opponent in the second round. What is your relationship with him? He’s had things to say about you, the clash in Acapulco. What is your understanding or friendship relationship with Nick?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know Nick, being honest. I don’t want to talk about Nick much because I am not playing against Nick. I am playing against Sugita. Every match is tough. If I am able to win my match and if Nick is able to win his match, you will have the time to ask me about the next match, no?
Q. Can I ask you about Andy’s comeback. He’s obviously just playing doubles. Have you seen him? Are you happy to see him back? Do you think one day you might play him in singles in the future if he continues his recovery?
RAFAEL NADAL: It is not about I am happy to see him back. Everybody should be happy to see him back. He is one of the most important players of our sport in the last 10 years. Is good news when we have the top players back. Most important thing, happy for him personally that he’s able to keep playing.
Hopefully he will have the chance to keep playing on singles. But anyway, he’s able to enjoy again tennis without much pain, as I heard. That’s the main thing and the most important thing.
I know how tough is being injured, when you want to recover and you don’t find the solution… Happy to see him on court again and enjoying.
I was practicing next to him. He looks very happy practicing. So happy for that.
Q. Now that Wimbledon is one week later, you are now spending one week in Mallorca practicing on grass courts to Wimbledon specifications. How does that help your preparation for Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, probably if I will not have this court on Mallorca, maybe I will do another story. But having a girl’s tournament in Mallorca, I have the chance to practice there. That’s positive news for me because I can keep practicing on grass and being at home.
Sometimes that is important, too. Close to the family, close to the people that you love. Sometimes it’s tough to be away such a long time.