Rafael Nadal: “I don’t like to talk much about myself, because it’s not a beautiful thing”

Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 win against Diego Schwartzman.

Q. You’re one of the greatest players to ever play the game of tennis. If you were his size, who would have won that match?
RAFAEL NADAL: The problem is “if”. “If” don’t exist in this world. The word “if” is very dangerous, because if I was his size, maybe I will adapt my game to that size. If he was my size, he will adapt the game to this size.

So I always try to speak in real terms, and he’s one of the best players of the world. When he’s playing well, he’s able to win against everybody. Tonight was for me. Tough match. I’m very happy for the victory.

Q. When Matteo was here a few hours ago, he described you as the greatest fighter ever in tennis. Diego just said you’re like a lion in the jungle. How would you describe your fighting spirit?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t like to talk much about myself, because it’s not a beautiful thing.

No, I think I had stable character during all my life, all my career. That helps to be normally in stable — I mean, mentally focused, mentally relaxed and mentally always ready to respect every opponent, to play every point, to play every game, to play every set and every match until the end, no?

So that’s one of the keys of the success. But honestly, is not everything. I think my success is not only because of the spirit of fight. There is lot of things after this.

But of course I have the stories say that I have been, yeah, a good fighter on court with good character, positive character, and I am not the only one. There is a lot of ones that fight a lot.

Q. Two tough matches in a row, Marin and Diego. How is your body feeling as you head into the last two matches of the tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. I’m feeling good. Today was very humid day, very heavy day. I had some cramps in the end of the second, and, yeah, first five games, six games of the third.

And then I take some salt, that’s all, and then was over. Well, the body is in good shape, I think. No, not big problems. Just of course now a little bit tired, long day, 1:30. Need to go to sleep. But I really believe that I going to be in good shape.

Q. I would like to know what you expect from Berrettini. Tonight you lost four times the serve. Berrettini and Schwartzman, different kind of players, but you saw him, first of all, playing today? Did you see him play a little bit today against Monfils? What was your impression? How were you impressed? If you answer me about that, also in Spanish later, it would be nice.
RAFAEL NADAL: If you give me the chance to answer, it will be fantastic (smiling). Looks like you are asking and answering (smiling).

He’s in semifinals. Berrettini is having a great year. He’s in semifinals winning a lot of good matches, so what you can expect in a semifinals of a Grand Slam match. You can’t expect an easy opponent. You can’t expect an easy match.

I really believe that if you want to win tournaments, you need to go through tough opponents like I had against Marin, today against Diego. He was playing great the whole event and now another player that is playing great. He’s serving huge, big forehands, moving well, and big confidence because he’s having a great year.

So let’s see. I need to play my best, and I think today I make a step forward, even if I lost my serve, as you said, couple of times.

Q. Four.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, four. Yeah, I hope to not lose the serve. How many games Berrettini lost the serve today?

Q. Well, he played four hours.
RAFAEL NADAL: Me almost three, yeah. You were focused about the time I lost my serve? You want to remember me that I lost four times the serve?

Q. I want to give a chance…
RAFAEL NADAL: No, you support. You’re Italian. I really saw him losing some serves too tonight. Just joking. That’s part of the business.

I need to be ready to play my best tennis. Today I make a step forward, in my opinion. That match give me confidence. Two matches in a row against two tough opponents. That’s a moment to increase a little bit more the level, and I really believe that I can do it, and I hope.

Q. I don’t know if you know Matteo well at all as a person, but he seems to be a very mature person for his age.
RAFAEL NADAL: How old is him?

Q. 23. And you were talking about yourself how you have been a stable person throughout your young career till now. Just wondering if you know him at all and your perception of him?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know him a little bit. I know him from the locker room, talking as much as I can. Even if we are in the same locker room a lot of weeks, we have different schedules, but always he was very friendly with me, and hopefully I was with him (smiling).

Yeah, looks a nice guy. Young with very good potential. He’s in semifinals of a Grand Slam, so he’s playing great. That’s all. Looks relax, looks he’s ready for fight for important things like he’s doing.

Q. Do you approach that match in a similar way to the way you approached the Cilic match? Similar players? Is it the same kind of game plan?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think they are a little bit different players, not all the same. I don’t think they have the same style.

No, I approach the game in a different way. I have one day to think about it, honestly. I just won a very important match for me, and it is the moment to enjoy this victory. Tomorrow afternoon I going to start to think about what’s the plan for after tomorrow, and today is the moment to enjoy that feeling, be in semifinals of a Grand Slam again. I achieved the four semifinals of the four Grand Slams this year, and that’s a lot. Very, very happy for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

38 comments

  1. I think no matter what our Rafa does, he wants to excel at everything. He has the Midas touch. All this comes to him for being the most down to earth Superstar in the present day. He is considerate caring loving generous to a fault and humble too. It was a tough match in the 1st set against Matteo but Rafa gave him a few lessons in the 2nd and 3rd sets. It is said that Rafa had a stomach issue before the game but thankfully it left him be to get to the final. BUENA SUERTE my Champion of Champions for the Final on Sunday. Yours to hold .. number 19 in 2019. Go get Daniil.

    Like

    • Thank you Khawartaimoor🙏 Yes, congratulations to all of us and Rafa of course👏🤗

      You are right, #19 is coming👍

      All the best to Rafa, only one match away……Vamos🍀💪❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you khawartaimoor, back @ you and all Rafans who suffered through that first set with me but also rejoiced in Rafa’s triumphant win against a very dangerous opponent.

      As we all know anything can happen in a tennis match but what had me concerned is Matteo’s attitude toward his chosen sport. It is a mirror of Rafa’s. I cannot make him a villain.

      Like Rafa, he said he loves the game, loves competing, loves the battle. He is always looking to see where he can improve. He practices diligently. He loved when the children asked him how he reached a QF which made him realize he has to be good both on court and off court because they are watching. Talks of his family, his team, his friends. He seems to have the right values. OK. Enough of Matteo.

      TONIGHT WAS RAFA’S DAY TO SHINE YET AGAIN.

      RAFA SURELY ROCKS

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha I feel ya. Had to pop some pills for my headache:)

      All is well in the world now, Rafa has come through like the champ he is!

      Great challenge from Berrettini. Amazing player.

      Medvedev are you ready? Bring it!

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      • Time to Relax now.. My prediction is for final now it will will be 4 sets with Rafa capturing #19
        Keep Your pills with you for final Mac… But it’s worth it
        I was worried too in the first 😁😁😁

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  2. OMGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!! What a tie break!!! Only RAFA could come back from 4-0…. TREMENDOUS!!!!

    Come on Rafa….Take him out the next 2 sets….

    VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!

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    • Marileena, my heart had to work so hard for the entire tiebreak, so thankful Rafa found a way to win it, great job👏

      He heard you, he did it!

      One match away from holding the trophy. Play the best match of the tournament to beat Medvedev on Sunday Rafa! Vamos💪❤️

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  3. Oh! My! God!

    I’m shaking! I have a sudden headache! My heart is about to blow out of my chest!

    How can Rafa even stand all this pressure?? Wow! Simply wow!!

    Great comeback champ! Hang in there Rafa, coz this guy is in it for the long haul.

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  4. Ahhh I wait for Rafa’s match so eagerly and then get so anxious. Can nearly watch 😐. Switching channels at tough moments. What wrong with me, 😫Vamos Rafa. All the best

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A CLOSER LOOK AT BERRETTINI vs. NADAL (Stats Through US Open QFs)

    BERRETTINI (24) NADAL (2)

    66 Aces 26
    24 Double Faults 11
    34 Unreturned Serves 32%
    57% 1st Serve % 57%
    78% 1st Serve Points 79%
    54% 2nd Serve Points 56%
    12 Broken 6
    44 Break Points Faced 16
    99 Games Served 59
    88% Service Games Held 90%
    123 mph Avg 1st Serve 117 mph
    96 mph Avg 2nd Serve 97 mph
    138 mph Fastest Serve 128 mph
    74% Returns in Play 78%
    7 Return Winners 3
    29% 1st Return Points Won 41%
    54% 2nd Return Points Won 52%
    22 Breaks of Serve 23
    60 Break Points 48
    37% Pct. Converted 48%
    97 Return Games Played 56
    23% Return Games Won % 41%
    111 Forehand Winners 55
    124 Forehand Unforced Errors 67
    33 Backhand Winners 18
    94 Backhand Unforced Errors 42
    30 Winners at Net 14
    250 Total Winners 124
    248 Total Unforced Errors 122
    98 of 135 Net Pts Won 38 of 48
    73% Net Points Won 79%
    47% Baseline Pts Won 54%
    88 Games Lost 39
    5 Sets lost 1
    15:23 Time on Court 09:43

    [SOURCE: Email from ATP]

    Like

    • Interesting stats, Margo. With Berrettini’s big serve, he clearly has the advantage when it comes to free points and his forehand is a force to be reckoned with. That said, Rafa has the tidier game with less than half the unforced errors.

      Rafa is the master at extracting unforced errors from his opponents, so i’m looking to see Berrettini’s tally increase significantly in this area tonight. Our champ has too much experience for this newcomer.

      Meanwhile, it seems likely that Medvedev will come out the winner in the first SF. Earlier in the match he looked as though he was running on fumes, but he’s still going strong. Just gies to show that the mind is a powerful thing.

      Like

  6. I watched his post Monfils match and Berrettini is a charmer. At the time, he didn’t know who he would play next [Rafa or Diego] so he said “I would like to say good luck for them and then I will figure out how to beat one of them.”

    Against Rafa “It will be tough.”

    Asked about the crowd cheering for Monfils, Matteo said “It doesn’t bother me. He is more famous. He’s an unbelievable player and he’s also such a nice guy.”

    Matteo enjoys the fight of a match and said the cheering is better than playing in an empty stadium, be the fans cheering for his opponent or for him.

    Berrettini comes with a varied arsenal. He feels his forehand is his best weapon; add to this his mental coach, his two-handed backhand, his backhand slice which he learned to do after a left-wrist injury at seventeen-years-old, Craig O’Shannessy’s analytics, his ability to stay focused on the big stage.
    [SOURCES: SI, ATP News, AP News, Post Monfils Interview]

    I should think he will put up a great fight but we’ve all seen so many of the younger guys just wilt when facing Rafa with his incomparable arsenal.

    RAFA ROCKS

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Only I can do is too wish you a good luck today you can do it vamossssssssss champ this is your tile one more and the finals on Sunday all the best your fans for ever we love ❤️ 😘❤️💪🇺🇸🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🇺🇸💪🎾🎾❤️🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🇺🇸💪🎾😘❤️🌎🏆

    Like

  8. I Loved the way Rafa dealt with the question prefaced with “If” . Yes , in the real world and in Rafa’s mentality “If” is an abstraction and in fact a denial of reality . We can deal with what is not what us not .Rafa’s game expresses the existential meaning of being in every point and trying to move onto the next one and not the one that just passsed Life lived at its essence is about living in the moment while anticipating the futute . This is why Rafa is so intense and focused in his tennis game and likely in his life outside of tennis . Vamos Rafa and please bear Berretinni ! This is a challenge !

    Like

  9. What a knucklehead.

    If, if, if. I am so happy Rafa put that reporter in his place after asking such a silly question about Diego.

    Despite Diego’s physical stature, he is a former world No. 11 and current No. 21. I wonder how many ATP players, a lot taller than Diego, have ever reached a ranking of eleven. Not many, I suspect.

    When Diego was very young he could not afford to travel to play in different tournaments so he played all challenger events in his area; against big guys, against higher ranked players, against anyone who would play him. And his favorite childhood story is David and Goliath: that says a lot. All the adversities he had to overcome to play tennis as a child formed the basis for the player he has become. And he’s a nice guy.

    Thank you Rafa for telling that guy off in the most diplomatic way possible. Had it been me, I would have responded Next question please [to a different reporter]😬😬😂

    RAFAMAZING ROCKS

    Like

  10. What a guy! Some of the interviewers want to goad you to lose your temper. I wouldn’t have his patience especially after a stressful match where he was cramping. Again what a guy!!!

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  11. Love the way Rafa handles the press. They take so many liberties and try to put words in his mouth. But I think uncle Toni served a great example in how to deal with the assumptions and questioning of the press. And he’s gotten better through the years.
    Vamos Rafa!!!!!!😀❤️

    Like

  12. All the best in your match today, Rafael Nadal👍👏💪🤛🍀❤️No one matches your passion and will to win. Always such patience for these questions🤔enjoying your assertive answers🥰

    Like

    • I don’t blame Rafa for being politely irritated by some of the questioning (three or four questions in one).

      We know that Rafa has worked really hard to improve his game over the years to become a tremendous player on all surfaces. Many refer to his fighting spirit, relentlessness and resilience, but he’s also a great tennis strategist with a high tennis IQ, which i think is underestimated. He’s got a lot of brain as well as brawn. All these skills combine to make him awesome.

      I haven’t watched much of Berrettini play, but i understand that, due to an injury as a teenager, he can only produce slice backhands. I guess Rafa will target this weaker wing.

      Incidentally, I just read the US Open online article “Grounded, Gutsy, Great: Rafael Nadal the Respecter. It’s a lovely tribute to our champ.

      Like

      • No commentator with even a little savvy underestimates Rafa’s tennis brain. When they were discussing which parts of Rafa were most important to his game (this had a been a not-too-bright presser question) Darren Cahill said “Wonderful tennis physique but I’d want his brain and his heart.” Cahill has also said that when he was coaching Halep they spent a lot of time watching the way Rafa practices, his matches, and his pressers.

        Like

      • Lorna, well said about Rafa👏 I also read the article this morning. I agree, a lovely tribute indeed!

        Best of luck to Rafa❤️

        Like

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