Rafael Nadal speaks to the press after his quarterfinal Wimbledon win over Sam Querrey.
Q. Roger says he’s excited. What do you feel about the prospect of playing him on Centre Court for the first time in 11 years? Among all your victories, what still stands out to you about that day in 2008?
RAFAEL NADAL: Great feelings, no? First of all, is great feeling to be back in that semifinals, be able to be playing at this level of tennis are great news. Very happy the way that we managed to be in that round.
Now play against Roger always is a unique situation. Excited to be back on this court against him after 11 years. Means a lot for me and probably for him, too.
Excited about this match, excited about this opportunity to be again in that round against him. Always I say the same: of course, the opportunities to play against each other every time are less, but we still here. After tomorrow we going to have another chance.
Q. You said it’s unique playing Roger. Are you expecting to learn new things in this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no (smiling). I just expect to play against probably the best player of the history in this surface and know that I have to play my best if I want to have chances to try to be in that final, no? That’s all.
I know he’s playing well. He feels comfortable here. And me, too. I’m playing well, too.
Q. What if you make it 2-0?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?
Q. You beat him the last time. If you make it 2-0 in the semi-final, how does your relationship change?
RAFAEL NADAL: I had a lot of defeats. I had a lot of victories. Relationship never changed. Always big respect. Good friendship, relationship. That’s all. Probably will not change if I win, if I lose.
Q. What do you think right now in your game is working so well that makes it so tough on opponents?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I am playing with a very high intensity, playing aggressive, serving well and returning very well.
Today was big, big challenge against a serve like Sam. Have the chance to break him six times, I think, is a lot against a player like him. A victory that means a lot to me. Very happy.
In general terms I can’t say one particular thing because, in general terms, I am very, very happy the way I am playing.
Q. You spent a lot of time at Wimbledon over the years. Have you ever taken time to notice how many nice flowers they have here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Sorry. I cannot tell you a clear answer. That’s it.
Q. Obviously it’s a completely different surface. Having beaten him so recently, do you think that helps you in any way?
RAFAEL NADAL: To have the victory in Roland-Garros, you mean?
RAFAEL NADAL: I tell you in two days (smiling).
Difficult to say yes or no. Probably is better to have that victory than have defeat, of course. But in the other hand, is completely different situation, no? Play on grass or play on clay is probably the biggest change in the world of tennis. Difficult to have an answer that can work for you.
I think the player who will have the chance to play better after tomorrow will be the player to have more chances to be through. That’s all. These kind of matches are like this.
Q. I don’t know if you read the press enough, probably not enough, but everybody is always saying how much you improved on grass, on all surfaces. Recently not many people say how much Federer has improved. What do you think has improved in Federer’s game more than before? Federer is 37 years, he’s still there, playing unbelievable.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think we improved much. I think we managed to add things because we lose things on the other hand, no? We need to add new things because of the age, we are losing another thing from the other side.
The only thing and probably the only reason why we’re able to be where we are is because we love the game and we have big respect for this sport.
Q. But your serve is better, your return is better. C’mon. If you compare with 10 years ago. Then Federer is probably doing something better, too. I’m asking what.
RAFAEL NADAL: And I give you a clear answer. My clear answer was I am running less so I need to serve better. I probably cannot play 20 weeks per year any more, so I need to reschedule my planning to improve things to be very competitive every single time that I am on court.
Of course, I am serving better. Of course, I am hitting the backhand better. Maybe volleying better, slicing better. But even like this, I don’t know if my level today will beat my level of years ago.
In terms of improvement, I don’t know. In terms of readapt my game, readapt our game, talking about me and Roger, for sure there is lot of things that we find a way to keep being one of the best of the world.
Q. You’ve had so many matches against each other. Is there any one that sticks out that you think of most fondly?
RAFAEL NADAL: The one that I remember the most?
Q. Anything that you remember.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. We played a lot of good matches. Here in this tournament we played especially two great matches, 2007 and 2008. Have been two emotional matches.
Personally 2008 was a little bit more emotional for me. But I appreciate the fact that I been part of the 2007, too. Then we played a lot of matches all around. Only in New York we didn’t play. That’s the only bad news.
Q. Last time you said you never switch off from sport. Let me ask you about Madrid team. How confident are you that Real Madrid will win La Liga and Champions League? Would you like Pogba on your team?
RAFAEL NADAL: My answer is I always have been confidence with my team. Sometimes things are not going that well, like last year.
With Pogba, Pogba is a great player. Sometimes the money is crazy, so I don’t want something that I believe is exaggerate in terms of money. That’s all.
Q. Thinking about two months ago, were you expecting to have two Grand Slam semifinals against each other?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. If you ask me that when I have been in Monte-Carlo, probably not. You ask me that when I have been Roland Garros, why not? I have been playing well again.
In the world of sport, things change very quick. You need to be always ready for that changes in a negative way or a positive way. You need to accept both things, accept both things with calm and with clear mind to understand what’s going on later, no?
Here we are. Of course, the last two months have been very positive for me personally, probably for Roger, too, because he played good semifinals in Roland Garros. He had the title in Halle. He’s now in the semifinals here again.
Well, that makes us keep playing because we still feeling that we have chances to compete for the most important things. That’s what really make us keep playing with this intensity.
I’m so glad to hear Rafa no longer down playing his own worth. He was always TOO humble.
Over the years, in interview after interview, including all the times he’d beaten Fed, he’d insist Fed was the best player “in the history”, even after he’d overtaken him as world no.1. I put this down to Rafa’s natural modesty, and apparently Uncle Toni was always dinning into him that Fed was the better player.
Now whether it’s because Toni is no longer there, and Rafa is feeling more confident following his superb run of form, but I note that he now qualifies saying Fed is the best player, by adding “on this surface”, and also points out that he himself is also playing well.
He has become more aggressive in his play, so it’s right that he should think more assertively, too. Perhaps he felt in Fed’s shadow, but as he gets nearer to Fed’s 20, I’m hoping he realises what a very great champion he is himself.
Rafa your positivity at this Championship is just unbelievable.. so evident that your are up to take the trophy. No 19 Slam at SW19 in 2019…all the 19’s…roll on Sunday next for the best final and my wish is that your final will be Agut your fellow countryman..Vamos Rafa
There are specific qualities/attributes that I admire about Rafael. They are his honesty, his candor, and above all else, the fact that he is authentic. You ARE our champ, and whether you win or lose, your persona will never change. Thank you, RafA, for being who you are and carrying the sport forward in a tangible and meaningful way! Vamos, Rafael!
Simply the best-anyway you wish to slice it. We are privileged to witness their play-tennis history.
How lucky we are. Enjoying the confidence Rafael has with the press in English or Spanish.
All the best on Friday🙏👏👍💪🤛🍀❤️
Yes another positive Press Conférence 😎 I listened to the Spanish questions too. Shame he is not meeting Bautista In the semi 😕 I saw the two in Monte Carlo, Nadal 😀 Everyone knows Inc. the players that this Fedal semi is not going to be as easy as the R Garros Fedal semi 😦 In June. Fiona in Paris
They both deserve so much credit for still being at the top of the game after all these years.
Vamos Rafa <3 #3 would be a dream after all the tough years in Wimbledon you had with your knees.
Seeing Rafa happy, healthy, competitive and playing so well is priceless, so thankful!🙏
Best wishes always Rafa❤️ Vamos!
The level of some questions is unbelievable ! Asking Rafa about the flowers in Wimbledon . This journalist must have a pea brain .
Rafa is such a gentleman and courteous despite silly questions . Wonderful success to day Rafa . Keep it rolling .🌟🍀
They asked Nole about the flowers as well – it seems to be an in question today! No idea why 🙂 .