Rafael Nadal: “My personality didn’t change much”

Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal speaks to the media following his three-set win over Fabio Fognini in Montreal.

Q. How would you describe that match? It was a three-set match, but no sets seemed to be a really close one tonight.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, these kind of days that things have been like this, difficult to find a real reason. I think things happens quick here because the court is fast and is true that in the first set, sometimes the player who is taking advantage stay with the adrenaline very high, is able to increase the advantage. Is difficult to stop the momentum of the opponent, no?

Well, in general terms have been an up-and-down match, but a positive match for me because I have been playing better and better when the match was coming, so…

Q. When you look at this year as a whole so far, coming straight through this match, how would you compare the quality of tennis you’re playing maybe to years past? Are you better than ever before? Right where you want to be?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am not better than ever before. I am how I am today. I’m having a good season more or less, being competitive almost in every single event that I have been playing. Of course, I had some physical issues the first three, four months of the season.

But I have been playing solid, played the final in Australia, then semifinals in Indian Wells, then three semifinals on clay, two titles, semifinals at Wimbledon. So have been a solid, and semifinals here now. Happy the way that I am competing and enjoying.

Let’s see tomorrow. Another opportunity to be in another final. Will be great if I am able to make that happen.

Q. It’s the 40th anniversary of the tournament here in Montreal. You’ve had a couple of great moments in Montreal. One of the highlights of the tournament is your final against Agassi in 2005. Could you take us through what you remember of that match? What is the difference between the Rafa of 2005 and the Rafa of today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, probably if with my knowledge today of the sport and of the tennis in general, I will had the chance to have the legs that I had in that 2005, probably would be a very, very good player, no (smiling)? That’s impossible.

I lost things on the road, so I just tried to add other things on the way to keep being competitive during all these years, no?

One of the most important things for me personally and one of the things that I’m more satisfied is I have been able to find always a solution to keep being competitive at the highest level possible after a lot of problems, a lot of issues.

My personality didn’t change much. But, of course, I am almost 15 years older (smiling).

Q. What are your thoughts about Andy returning next week in singles? Is that something that you find interesting?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good news for the sport. Especially great news for him. That means that he’s healthy. That’s going to be a big, big moment for him. After all the retirement that he predicted in Australia, was this year – yeah? – six months later seems like he’s back again, healthy, competing well. That’s going to be a big thing for him. Happy.

Q. You had an exchange with Fabio at the net. You mentioned you were talking about his injury. You talked to him for a few seconds. You celebrated, then came back and spoke to him more. What was the exchange there, especially the second part?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I asked about what’s going on in his foot because I saw him asking for treatment. Yeah, he was telling me what’s going on. Something that I experienced before. I just tried to tell him my experience.

But I am no one to say what he has or not. If you want to know, better ask him. But I just tried to give him a quote about how I went through that process that he’s having.

Q. In the match it looked like you picked up your intensity and aggressiveness at a certain point. Was it near the end of the first set or at the start of the second set? Talk about your mindset at that point.
RAFAEL NADAL: I lost 6-2 with the feeling I was not playing bad. Not negative feelings on the ball, just things have been going too fast.

Honestly, the beginning of the match have been difficult because I have been playing probably a little bit better than him, but then the score was against me. I felt that I had a big chance to be 3-Love for me. Then was 3-1 for him.

After that I played a bad game in the 3-1, and he played well. So the second break was decisive on the set. I just tried to play the last couple of games of the first, trying to play with the intensity that I wanted to have at the beginning of the second.

I know the beginning of the second going to be crucial. Happy about the first game that I played with my serve, very solid. He had two mistakes in a row, and I played one good point, was a break. That give me the confidence to keep going.

Of course, with 3-1, have been an important point with the breakpoint that I did a good serve and volley.

Q. You’re 33 and still at the top of the game. Fabio is 32 and is probably playing the best tennis of his life. What is the level of respect you have for a guy like him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody knows that he’s one of the big talents on tour. Is true that during his career he had some up and downs. When he’s playing well, these kind of players that can produce amazing shots from everywhere. He’s a big opponent for everyone.

Yeah, he’s having a great season already winning a Masters 1000 and playing some great matches all around.

Just well done for him. I wish him all the very best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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9 comments

  1. Rafa, dear, you ARE “a very, very good player” and always have been! “A livng legend” as the commies have take to calling you lately.

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  2. To be honest, I found Fognini’s behavior often surly during the match. Afterwards, I thought his behavior towards Rafa lacked acknowledgement much less appreciation for Rafa’s always kind gestures.
    I know we should allow F. some slack because his foot may have been sore and cost him (in his mind) the match. But he is a grown man. Why do we have to make excuses for his behavior, which, frankly is almost always questionable.

    In any case, it was a showcase for the fine person Rafa always is.

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  3. All the best Rafa vamosssssssssssss to the finals 🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🌎

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  4. Rafa again showing respect for a player who can be difficult regarding on-court behavior. Rafa has such a history with injuries he can easily empathize with Fognini. Rafa is a kind soul.

    Of course the correspondents wanted to know what was discussed between the two. To his credit, Rafa stayed mum. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

    RAFA’S CUP COMING UP

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  5. Rafael-always diplomatic and kind, despite the outrageous antics of some opponents. This is why he deserves our time and attention. Moya called him a genius as he knows what Rafael has had to overcome to regain his self-confidence. From these responses, he is also realistic about his abilities
    at this stage of his career. Amazing and inspiring how he continues to want to improve and to win.
    Have no doubt-we are there💪👏🤛👍🍀🎾❤️

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