Rafael Nadal: “Federer is always able to do the most difficult things easy”

ADAM WARNER/AFP/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Roger Federer

Q. How would you sum up this game and your feelings afterwards?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, have been a tough one. I had my chances. He played little bit better than me, I think. Probably I didn’t play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserve it. Congrats to him.

Q. The second set where you leveled things up, that was really good play from you. What did Roger do from that point onwards that made him the winner in the end?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think his return was better than my one this afternoon. I didn’t receive well today. When that happens, he’s in advantage, he’s in the control of the match generally because you feel little bit more under pressure than him.

Even like this, I had, yeah, the early break in the third. I had a couple of mistakes in that moment. That have been a tough moment I needed to resist. The beginning of the third probably was one of the keys of the match.

Then I think at the end of the match I started to play much better, no? But was late.

I think today the backhand didn’t work as good as in the previous rounds. I was little bit too worried about my backhand, so I was not able to move with freedom to the forehand. I was a little bit too worried about not missing with the backhand. When that happens against player like him, is so difficult.

As I said, I think he played aggressive, he played a great match, and just well done for him.

Q. Do you see specific reasons as to why you didn’t play as well today as previous rounds? Maybe stress was a factor?
RAFAEL NADAL: Stress? Maybe, I don’t know. Of course, if I have been able to play very well during the whole tournament and today I was not able to play that well, there is always a reason. Probably because he was doing a lot of things well.

Q. At this stage of your career, knowing that Roger is turning 38 years old very soon, what do you appreciate most about his game?
RAFAEL NADAL: The same like all my career, no? He is always able to do the most difficult things easy. He’s able to move inside the court quicker than no one. He puts pressure on the opponent all the time because he has the ability to take the ball earlier than nobody else. That’s probably the most difficult thing to make that happen, and he is able to do it so well.

Q. Roger played a high level. You were always coming from behind. Is that very hard to play him in that situation, trying to catch up?
RAFAEL NADAL: Against everybody is tough if you are behind in the score, if you are not in control of the game. Even more in this surface, it is difficult to have breaks. That’s normal.

Yeah, I had my chances in the first set during the tiebreak with too many breaks in front two times. But he played some great points.

Q. Were you surprised at how effectively he rallied with you in some of those very long points?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, because he plays, as I said, very inside the court. He’s not giving you sometimes time to open the court.

Honestly, I didn’t had that great feelings that I had the other days, no? When I was hitting the ball with the forehand, especially with the backhand, I was not able to open the court as the other days.

You will not make him miss for speed of the ball. You need to make him miss because you put him out of position, no? Probably I didn’t hit the ball enough clean to make that happen this afternoon. Then you are in a situation that he plays in his comfort zone, and is difficult from there for me – for me and for everybody, I think.

Q. Was the plan coming in to try to break down his backhand? You seemed to be successful with that in the second set. What adjustments you saw that Roger made later in the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so. You have to check again the second set, no? I think he played a very bad game in the break that I had, 2-1, 3-1. I think he make couple of mistakes in a row.

My strategy was not to push him against his backhand. I tried to do that years and years ago, but not any more. I felt that I was playing enough good to play my normal game the way that I have been playing during the whole tournament. Just I didn’t play enough well this afternoon.

Q. Could you reflect on your rivalry with Roger, how it’s pushed you. Does it give you satisfaction you’re part of this incredible athletic competition?
RAFAEL NADAL: We spoke about that one thousand times.

The same time is great to be part of this rivalry, be in the middle of these three players that achieved that much in this sport in the same era. Is something that is going to be difficult to see it again. We are not done, so… Things continue.

Just have been another episode this afternoon. Of course, as I said the other day, we know that every time is less chances to play against each other in this high quality, high important matches. Is another chance this afternoon. Sad for the lose because for me was another opportunity.

But at the same time I create another opportunity to be in another final of a Grand Slam. Just accept that was not my day. I played a great event. I take this in a positive way.

The same time, today is sad because for me I know chances are not forever. Last year I had chances here, I had another one, and I was not able to convert to win it one more time here.

Q. How are you feeling physically today? Did you feel you had the same energy as previous rounds?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is not the day to find any excuse way of tennis at all, no? Energy was there. I have been playing with the right energy and with the right intensity the whole tournament. Today, too.

Is true that was not big rallies in the first set. A lot of free points for him. That’s why I say before I was not returning that well. When you are not putting that many balls inside on the return, then is tough to find the rhythm and the energy because you feel that the match is little bit cold.

Then in the end of the match things have been little bit different. I felt myself better. But that’s all. No, he played a little bit better than me. Even like this, I had small chances, couple of ones. Was not able to convert it. In these kind of matches, especially in this surface, that happens.

Source: Wimbledon

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77 comments

  1. Rafa..forget it..you are not the 1st and certainly won’t be the last to loose a match in tennis no matter wheter it is 1st round QF or F.
    Media make me sick & oppositions like wise

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  2. Rafa Fan 1: It is extremely doubtful that Rafa reads any of our comments. He has said that he isn’t a guy who checks social media. Most likely due to more important priorities in his very full life.. His p.r. guy Benito Perez Barbadillo occasionally refutes false or unflattering stories and possibly relates them to Rafa. There is a large and trusted group on whose opinions Rafa relies. Can’t imagine him making decisions based on fan suggestions as much as he respects and is appreciative of the majority of us.

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    • I have never thought otherwise. This fan group is for us and to share our feelings (and sometimes actual wisdom!!!) about our favorite guy, in some cases a favorite since the beginning of his time in tournaments. He will always be my favorite while he still plays. I read his comments again above and it just comes across that he thinks RF is better than him when it counts most. With that attitude and belief he makes it so easy for RF to beat him every time. This has all been said before, but if anyone with any influence over the guy reads some of the knowledgeable posts on here (by others) I hope they follow the best advice, which is for him to find it within himself to realize RF IS beatable by him!!! Get help, Rafa. You are unbeatable at your best!!!

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  3. Was just reading some of Rafa’s comments again. Why was he afraid of his backhand? He played a very high percentage of very very good backhands during all the previous matches (if I’m not mistaken). Of course sometimes some shots are off on certain days but he couldn’t play freely anymore – that’s what he said. That’s awful! Nerves also cause this kind of restricted movement and thinking or thinking too much. But professional players especially Rafa must learn to deal with that.
    Needs a different coach instead of Roig? God knows! Maybe someone completely from the outside to join Moya. Also for mental coaching.

    Anyway ……. all of us fans write so much – also give thought and advice. Does anyone else (except for other fans) especially Rafa read any of them?

    All the best my no. 1.

    VAMOS

    PS sorry for typos or missing words in my comment – often.

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  4. The draw all went wrong because Thiem, Tsitsipas and Zverev all managed to lose in the first round. It frustrates me that the “NextGen” let themselves and everyone else down, but that’s not the fault of Roger, Rafa, Nole or the All England Club.

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  5. Margo, in relation to your comments in the previous article, I know exactly what I read. As, in your own words, you’re “a sticker for accuracy” (I think you meant to say “…stickler…”), this is what you said “….Roger had a more difficult road to reach the final than Rafa, if you look at their opponents. Not the seeds, mind you, the men they had to play.” You proceeded to talk about seeds “Rafa played one seeded opponent while Roger played against four, not counting Djokovic:” Then you went on to list those opponents and their seedlings!!! How is that not mentioning seedlings?

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    • Hiya Lorna, please don’t take my words out of context. What I said was “…when it comes to quotes I am a [stickler] for accuracy.” A totally different matter. You are responding to an opinion I have, not a quote attributed to a player.

      Thanks for the icky “sticker” correction. LOL

      In any event, Roger’s Harris and Clarke were not seeded, they were just part of the general draw. Nor were 5 of Rafa’s opponents seeded. As I understand it, there are only 32 seeds at Wimby. That’s why I said to look at who each player [Rafa, Roger] had to face to reach the final.

      If you recall some years ago, [I think you were here] Rafa fans were upset because Rafa had to face a lot of seeded players but Roger or Djokovic faced maybe only one. This is the crux of the matter at hand.

      This time around, Rafa had to face only one player who happened to be seeded. That’s why I brought the subject up. I looked initially at each player’s list of opponents looking only at their rankings, not seeding.

      I have no idea what Roger’s draw was. I merely made a list of who he had faced before reaching Rafa. Only then did I realize Roger had to face so many seeded players. With Rafa having the potential to send him packing. To my dismay, it didn’t happen.

      The bottom line is Rafa faced one seeded player [Roger] to Roger’s four [including Rafa but not counting Djokovic, which made it five]. Again, me thinking about arguments made here years ago when I was just learning about tennis.

      I also learned that ranking and/or seeding can be deceptive. I took all of that into account.

      Had it been me, there is no way I would have wanted to face Rafa at the opposite side of the net. That’s how strongly I felt Rafa would win over Federer, but not easily.

      I am not one to resort to hyperbole or insulting Rafa’s opponents. I try for objectivity but maybe sometimes I fail. I hope my explanation clarified your questions. Thanks for your input and adding to the conversation.

      RAFA ROCKS ALWAYS

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      • Margo, i really don’t want a long winded explanation or justification at this point as you should have been more detailed/explicit in what you meant in the first place. I don’t need you to thank me for my input either – very patronising.
        On that note, it’s over and out from me on this particular matter. Next!

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  6. I should know the answer to this, but I do not, if somebody can please respond. Why was Roger allowed to change the size of his racquet? Does he have scientists working for him or something? It’s said that it has given him an advantage. Maybe that should be a footnote to every tournament win he has had since! No one else, to my knowledge has done the same. What’s up with that???

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    • DG…. What do you mean allowed? Roger hasn’t done anything illegal… He works with Wilson and they designed a racquet for him that brought the head from 90 to 97 sq in..perfectly within legal size…
      He use to use a 90 sq inch racquet but recently (as he’s gotten older) he wanted to increase the head size.. It helps with flatter strokes…
      Rafa works with Babalot and they designed a 100 sq in racquet for him… Sasha Zverev works with Head tennis racquets… he uses 100 sq in racquet…

      Every player determines the weight and size of their racquet…as they all choose what is right for themselves and many players have changed the size and weight of their racquets throughout their careers…

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  7. Rafa and Simona get my cheers.

    Rafa said he will be back at Wimbledon next year. I hope he stays healthy because he will have another BIG battle on his hands. Still hoping for another Wimby win for him.

    RAFAMAZING ROCKS

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  8. Congrats to Novak Djokovic who won against Federer and the…whole Wimbledon crowd. True Champion.
    Bravo Novak. Bravo Simona.
    And,yes…I am diehard Rafa fan

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      • He also won against the ‘royalty’ box, so-called pundits etc. He was made into such an underdog, that for the first time ever I was delighted Djokovic won. Btw, I am above all a Rafa fan.

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  9. Congrats, Djoko! This final was one for the ages. There was an unfortunate thing that [appeared] to happen during the Fed’s service game when a Fed fan shouted during his serve. Often, Fed is able to ignore excitable fans, but it bothered his rhythm. The Fed lost consecutive points which benefited Djoko. I noticed that after that incident, there were no more shouting during serves…..perhaps, the chair up gave a warning to the spectators.

    This is such an amazing time in the history for us tennis spectators/lovers! Now the triad are two majors apart, I am hoping that Rafa will win a hard-court major. I believe that he has at least 2 more FO majors in his grasp.

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  10. Lorna, please go back and review my comment. I didn’t say anything about draw or seedings. And I made it very clear in my comment that I was referring to the players Rafa and Roger had to face to get to the final. Of those players Rafa had to face, there was only one seeded player; Roger.

    Yes, Kyrgios I thought would be a difficult match for Rafa, but surmountable as we now well know.

    For Querry and Tsonga I based my comment on their head-to-head matches vs Rafa. Tsonga is far from the player he used to be, and Querry was down 1-4 vs Rafa before Rafa just beat him a 5th time. The only seeded player was Roger.

    Rafa is world No. 2 and he didn’t get there by playing low-ranked players.

    Roger on the other hand had to face 4 seeded players. Again, players he had to beat to get to the final. Rafa was one of those 4.

    Are you saying Rafa doesn’t count????

    I stand by my statement.

    RAFAMAZING IS STILL AMAZING

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    • RAFAN
      You said “Federer has claimed that he on grass is the same as Rafa on clay.”

      Is the following interview the one to which you referred?

      “In an interview with Tennis TV, the Swiss player said: “I just think grass highlights my strengths and hides my weaknesses. From that standpoint, I can play how I want and on my terms, and how I would like.

      And when you feel that way it’s maybe how Rafael Nadal feels on the clay. He can decide to return from the back, to return from in; I can do the same on the grass. I can chip it, I can come over, I can serve and volley, I can stay back and have all the options.”

      If the above is the interview/article you referred to, Roger is simply comparing himself to Rafa on how each of them feels on their favorite surface.

      He was speculating that “maybe” Rafa is as comfortable on clay as he is comfortable on grass. Nothing more. Like a simile.

      Had he said what you claim, Roger’s nose would have grown like Pinocchio’s.

      Could you supply your source because the above is the only thing I can find. Thanks.

      RAFAMAZING ROCKS

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      • Hey Margo it’s on sportingnews.com. I didn’t read the whole interview but the headlines is ” I am to grass what Rafa is to clay” claims Federer before Wimbledon

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      • Thanks Rafan.

        That headline was ridiculous. And I listened to the interview. What I posted above is the correct quote except Roger calls him Rafa, not Rafael Nadal. The above was from Luigi Gatto’s article.

        I hope I didn’t bug you but when it comes to quotes I am a sticker for accuracy. Thanks again.

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      • RAFAN, thanks for your understanding. Had Roger said what that headline claims I would have been the first to call him Pinocchio. Rafa thus far RULES Roland-Garros. Federer on Wimbledon, not so much.😂😂

        RAFAMAZING ROCKS

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  11. Tennis at its best today… 2 Gladiators that never gave up… You witnessed the GOAT today… You can pick the player…

    I adore Rafa… no doubt…. and I was sick over the loss as I too thought he was going to win.. but at the end of the day he couldn’t do it…
    I hear the conversation constantly about the draw…the draw…the draw…
    So what? The draw did not prevent Rafa from winning…. If anything he needed the tough opponent to raise his level, he said it himself… He didn’t play a tournament before Wimbledon, so the tough draw raised his game..
    And he made it to the semis where there is always a tough opponent…Bottom line is he got stopped by Roger Federer .. the one and only… and last year it was Novak…

    My concern now is the hardcourt season… The hardest and toughest on his body!!!
    Can he make it through the matches leading up to the US OPEN… I was at Indian Wells … watching his side by side (with Roger) 2 hour practice … He looked fantastic… I saw all the matches leading up to the Kach match, where he played amazing tennis…. and then… the Kach match….well we all know what happened there….

    I hope he’s enjoying his time off…

    Soon, Rafa, with his team will strategize and handpick the warm up tournaments leading to the US OPEN …

    Can’t wait for the OPEN …

    Like

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