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

77 comments

  1. I truly believed Rafa would win. Then came the semifinal. Ughh.

    All I want is the Slam-winning Rafa I know him to be.

    RAFA ROCKS

  2. Had Rafa won the semi somehow. There would be a repeat of aus open in the final. and Rafa’s confidence gone down even more. So losing that match against fed with 4-1 was not that bad after all

    • I disagree Rafan about an AO syndrome for Rafa. Rafa lost Wimbledon 2018 semi-final to Djokovic basically thanks to a closed roof. Even then, it was a difficult victory for Djokovic. So why is Rafa destined to lose against Djokovic whereas H2H gives Djokovic only one more victory than Nadal. By the way their last encounter was in Rome final where Rafa gave Djokovic a bagel and a breadstick.

    • I don’t think it would have been like the AO final. There were times when Djoko wasn’t playing well today. Fed lost by making too many errors in the tie breaks. In my opinion, had Rafa made the final, he would have done at least as well as he did against Djoko in their semi-final last year, and with his new serve and no roof or curfew I would have given him a very good chance of winning. This is where the draw mattered, he to get past Fed first. But I know, as Rafa said, if, if, if – doesn’t exist.

  3. Oh no!!!! How awful that Novak won that to only in tie breaks. What luck – as always! As it is Rafa hates facing Novak. Is this going to make it worse???

    Rafa please first of all stay healthy and fit. Then work on your strategy and practice as usual especially your serve. And then work on your mental strength – your belief in yourself – that you can win against anybody and everybody. Don’t put anyone up on a pedestal.

    Novak’s greatest strength is his belief in himself and his will to win. Without that he wouldn’t have won so many grand slams.

    • Much as I am not happy about cocky Djokovic winning his 16th GS title, I am doubly content that 1. RF could not overtake Rafa in ATP rankings, 2. RF could not profit from the way Wimbledon seeded him 2 and Rafa 3. Bye bye to RF Wimbledon n.9 and GS n. 21. Deal with that.
      Wamos Rafa, you are the best.

  4. OMG! Novak has intimated that he hopes to be around until at least 37 years old. I bet Roger wished he hadn’t mentioned encouraging 37 year olds. I hope Rafa didn’t hear all that!

  5. One positive for Novak winning is that Rafa keeps his number 2 ranking – at least until Montreal. Roger would have taken it had he won.

  6. WOW. Love or hate Djoker, the guy is a slam winning machine. Federer threw EVERYTHING at him, and yet Djokovic won? Probably with fewer points in the match too!

    Anyway, well done Djoker. Say what you will, he certainly hangs around and gives himself opportunities. That backhand though? The most consistent shot in tennis right now? Anyway, whatever.

    It was nice to see a match for once where I had no stake and could simply watch and appreciate the tennis.

    Bring on the US Open!!

  7. Oh, the irony of the sport of tennis. Roger was the better player on the day, but still lost!

    Roll on US Open.

  8. Margo, you said earlier that Roger had the more difficult draw compared to Rafa. I disagree because you’re only looking at seedings. You have to look at playing styles and experience on a grand slam level. Rafa faced Kyrgios, Tsonga and Querry – all big servers, big hitters and with plenty of experience in grand slams. Roger on the other hand had Nishikori as the only real threat was Pouille who can’t really handle grand slam pressure and the rest don’t have the experience.

    • I find it hard to believe that anyone who looked at the draw can say RF had a tough draw, unless that person is a RF fan. Forget the draw where RF seeding already favoured him, look at the matches played. Which opponent of RF was more difficult than Kyrgios, Sousa, Querrey that Rafa faced and very convincingly defeated? RF, on the other hand had a stroll in the park until Rafa where he woke up from his slumber.

    • I still think that, whether Roger wins or not, Rafa will catch him. It’s Novak that Rafa has to worry about.

      • I agree that both of these guys have Djoker to worry about in the grand scheme of things. He may surpass Rafa AND Roger in 3 years:) Of course I hope not!

      • Lorna, you maybe right but it certainly makes it tougher for Rafa with a Federer’s win today. I think Djoker has a bigger chance between the three to be the leader once they all retired but at the moment, I still think it is better Djoker over Federer in this final.

  9. I am still very sad like the rest of the Rafa fans, it will take a while to get over it😥
    I prefer Djoker over Federer in the final, not because I like him all of a sudden, I just want Rafa to have a better chance to catch Federer’s 20 slams or get even closer to it. It hurts so much either way……

    • Dislike both but n is not as pathetic….do not enjoy watching neither one of them ….both play with too much bs and ugly ugly court tactics….

  10. I feel your pain Sandy, but in typical Rafa words, what’s happened happened….May the better player win today – I don’t really care who. My mind has already turned to the US Open starting on 26th August. Let’s hope Rafa gets a better draw there.

  11. I cannot even pretend to be happy for the opponent and to be gracious about Rafa’s loss. I am gutted every time he loses, and I lose interest in the tournament when he’s not there. I’m less composed than Rafa always is and honestly I’m still sad 🙁

  12. Not much to say! Rafa has been playing and watching Federer for years now, so …….. . I may be wrong but I feel Rafa made it easy for Federer by not playing the way he should’ve. Don’t want to sound mean cos I’m such an ardent fan of Rafa and love him and he’s my no. 1 and always will but maybe he could take a lesson from Simona Halep – what she says about her attitude etc before and during the match.

    Anyway always with you and wish you every good wish for the fewer.

    VAMOS

  13. Rafa said Fed takes the ball early which is something difficult to do. Remember Davydenko? He’s one player who takes the ball so early that he’s a nightmare of a player to play against for Rafa on the HCs. No wonder Davy is 6-1 against Rafa on the HCs.

    The problem with Rafa is that he’s playing way behind the baseline, even on grass this time. He ended up hitting many short balls allowing Fed to rush in to take the ball early and rushed Rafa time and again.

    Djoko didn’t have such a problem vs Fed, hence on grass he’s 2-1 vs Fed; on HCs he’s now 19-17. Djoko played from close to the baseline, hitting flatter and more penetrating shots, hence he’s able to push Fed back behind the baseline, so Fed won’t have the luxury that Rafa gave him, being pinned to the baseline by Djoko.

    Rafa was playing a clay court game on the HCs all along, hence against players like Davy, he ran into troubles. What Rafa should do is to move closer to the baseline when playing on grass and HCs, something he had already learned to do in the recent past; I don’t understand why he’s reverting back to clay court style rallying tennis again now on grass.

    • I sgree I think Rafa wax standing to far back andit sllowed Roger time to come in and cut off the court numerous times. Rafa throughout the tournament played better than Roger and Novak. Novak had the easiest draw. I am just so sad for him.

    • Spot on, Luckystar.

      Why oh why does Rafa make the necessary changes and adjustments time and time again, and then when a crunch match happens, he forgets it all and reverts to clay court style.

      I don’t think his coaches are to blame. After all, they are the ones who have suggested the changes he needs to make. But when he steps on to court, he goes back into his comfort zone, for want of a better expression.

      Does he lack the courage? Does he lack the self belief? If so, why does he not simply look at his record, and draw strength and confidence from that?

      If he wants to overcome this mental block, he needs to work with a sports psychologist, as I said before. Nothing wrong with the technical side of his game – it seems to be something in his head.

      It is getting too painful nowadays to watch his matches against Fed and Djoko. He has a winning H2H against Fed (even after the 5 straight losses, which says a lot about the size of the lead he had), and he had a winning H2H against Djoko, where even now it’s a slim lead for Djoko, so what on earth is causing this seeming meltdown? A harsh word, but nothing else covers it.

      I am in despair when I consider my hero being beaten by the weak era champ (Fed), and a player who brings nothing of Rafa’s passion and excitement to his game, good though it is (Djoko).

      He will be overtaken in the GS tally, if he doesn’t take action soon, even if it’s something a stubborn Spaniard would not normally consider. This is not a normal situation!

      • Thanks for putting the onus on Rafa.

        We fans here on RNF had a lengthy debate about why Rafa should consider a sports therapist. Some blamed his uncle Toni, as I did.

        My view is if you keep telling a youngster at such a tender age that there are others better than he it would surely leave a lasting imprint into adulthood. Other fans blamed Rafa’s team. Others blamed Rafa’s opponents. Others said he didn’t need a therapist. Many different opinions.

        I think it will take a miracle to get Rafa to even consider seeing a therapist. I wish I were wrong.

        Kevin, Andy and Simona all consulted the same therapist. Kevin made it to last year’s Wimby final, Simona just beat the heck out of Serena to win women’s singles. The therapist also stated a Slam winner, who doesn’t wish to be identified, was also a client. I sure wish Rafa would give it a try.

        RAFAMAZING ROCKS

  14. Rafa’s fans are humble as Rafa after his win and Feds fans are arrogant as fed after his win. Personal experience

    • Do you know what “onus” means, Margo? It means “burden”. You seem to think it means “blame”.

      I am not blaming anyone for what seems to be Rafa’s hangup – like you seem to be blaming Toni.

      I am saying that the onus/responsibility is now on Rafa, to do something about his problem. Who else can make that decision except Rafa himself?

      I find you very prickly in your comments. You seem ready to jump on anyone very aggressively, if they say the slightest thing you don’t agree with, when very often you’ve simply misunderstood what they were saying.

      Live and let live. You behave like a teacher rapping people’s knuckles if you object to what they say.

      • Michele,

        You asked another fan if she knew what a word meant. Now that’s prickly😂

        I don’t know what dictionary you are using but onus=responsibility=duty. And that’s how I used it. That first sentence was by itself, standing alone, an indication it had nothing to do with the rest of my comment. The following paragraphs were just background material about what had been discussed when you were not on RFN, I don’t remember seeing your name.

        And I did not disagree with your comment.

        Yes, that’s my opinion about Toni. It’s only common sense that telling a child something over and over again would have an effect. That’s my opinion. Anyone is free to disagree with it.

        I think it is you who has misunderstood with your very aggressive and insulting comment.

        Not looking for a argument. If I have misunderstood anyone all she or he has to do is tell me so. I have no qualms about admitting I made an error. And I won’t get bent out of shape.

        And if someone says something that is questionable, I am free to comment or ask questions. It’s not about me disagreeing just because I disagree with someone’s personal opinion.

        And that’s that.

        P.S. I’ll try to be less prickly. But honestly I have no idea what you’re referring to since you haven’t supplied any examples.

  15. Don’t care who wins now. Just want this Wimbledon to get over asap. Wish I can fast forward time. Still so painful. Hopefully when Wimbledon finishes my heart will be at peace. Right now I m so restless, can’t stop thinking about it. Especially the way Rafa produced first two sets. I was so confident
    To add fuel to the fire, my partner biggest Federer fan and so excited for the final. I just want to run away from this atmosphere 😫😫😫😫

    • Really feel and empathise with Rafan, as my partner is also such a Fed fan and pretty much a Nadal hater. How we get on so well is amazing – we talk tennis, a lot sometimes, but stay clear from direct Fed vs Nadal talk. It has brought on furious arguments, which both of us wish to avoud. Both of us are mature enough to be able to dismiss all this as just a game, just a match, with a quick mind- switch. Any post-match grieving, I do privately- cant and dont want to share it with my partner.

      Fortunately, this time, we are apart – in different places. I know he will be gloating over the Nadal win, dont mind really – happy for him, happy for Fed. Let him enjoy a good Fed win, if Fed can pull it off.

      At the end of the day, far prefer Fed winning to Djoker winning. Just havent been able to take Djoker’s wins at all – he is such a big-head, and has a chip on his shoulder.

    • I agree with you Rafan! But don’t you worry. Rafa may have lost a battle, but the war hasn’t been won as yet. After all the grand slam matches have been played and lost by the Big Three, history will prove to all and sundry that Rafael Nadal is the greatest player of all time. Mark my words. The universe, the cosmos, whatever Higher Power you believe in, will not allow any unfairness, injustice etc. Universal principles have mechanisms in place to achieve parity – there is the great equalizer functioning in all facets of life, sports included.

      • That’s no comfort to me, now. How long do we have to wait for that to happen?

      • Thanks Fiona for your comforting and positive words. I sure hope Rafa starts winning the battles because like he has started to say in his pressers he’s not getting any younger.

        RAFAMAZING ROCKS

    • Here we go again, Margo. Another long justification. Face it, you can’t take criticism.

      I object to you always demanding people give you chapter and verse for everything they say. What are you, some sort of self appointed censor?

      If you want an example of your prickliness, just look at yr attacks on Lorna and Puma. Or perhaps you didn’t think they sounded aggressive?

      If you’re going to dish it out to other people, learn to take it.

      • Michele, do you know the difference between justication and explanation?

        As far as Lorna is concerned, I like her comments. She just didn’t like my EXPLANATION. I didn’t take it personally. I was surprised by her use of the word “patronize” but that lasted only a second.

        As far as puma is concerned, I have the right to comment on her fallacious posts.

        And you, my dear, are EXTREMELY aggressive at times. But that’s ok.

        Constructive criticism is a good thing.

  16. You had a lot great matches and got to semi finas vamossssssssss champ we love all your fans for ever.🇺🇸🌎👍🎾💪😘❤️👍🎾💪😘❤️👍🎾😘💪🇺🇸👍🎾🌎💪🇺🇸👍🎾😘😘❤️👍🎾😘😘💪🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸📱📱🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  17. Rafa, I am sure many players feel the same about you, especially on a clay court, “Rafa is always able to do the most difficult things easy.” Winning 12th French Open is remarkable, it is unthinkable anyone can repeat your phenomenal achievement in the future although never say never…….

    I am so proud of you with all your accomplishments in your career, not to mention how many injuries you have had! You have proved to many that you are not just a clay court specialist by winning the other three slams at least once with your passion and love of the sport but most importantly, your hard work. You never stop looking for ways to improve with your team👍 You are so inspirational, always have a positive attitude win or lose👏

    Best wishes always Rafa❤️
    Can’t wait to see you back on court……

    • Mimi Lau ….. well said, couldn’t agree more – Rafa is the most honourable, humble and honest TRUE CHAMPION ever ….. and totally deserved to win Wimbledon this year as he had the toughest draw yet again Federer and Djokovic only played lower ranked easy matches and Rafa should have been No 2 seed – Federer favouritism by Wimbledon yet again – it’s shameful.

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