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.