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.