Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Matteo Berrettini in New York.
Q. The more people accomplish things in life, it sometimes becomes more normal. This is your 27th Grand Slam final. Is there any way to put into words just how special it is to make a Grand Slam final?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it is. But before to play the final is not the moment to be super happy, no? Of course, finally when the tournament finish, if you lose, when you looking global perspective, okay. But now is a moment to enjoy today, but is a match in front on Sunday, an important one.
I just focus on try to be 100% ready for it. But, of course, very, very happy for everything. Another final of the Grand Slam, and another final here in Flushing Meadows means a lot to me. So happy.
Q. Medvedev said you’re a machine, a beast on the court, and that your energy is amazing. What goes through your mind when you hear something like that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Just thanks for the compliment, no? Always is beautiful to hear nice things from your colleagues. Happy for that. Just I hope to be like this on Sunday (smiling). I will need it.
Q. You’ve had some high moments here, some disappointing moments here. Is this tournament different for you? How is it different from the other majors? How about these ups and downs?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think at the beginning of my career have been some tough moments here, losing matches. But since a long time ago, every time that I came here I felt comfortable, no? I felt very competitive and fighting for the big things.
Here we are. Every major have a different character, different atmosphere. I felt the one that I was more unfortunate was Australia for different facts, a lot of injuries there I think.
But here, a couple of ones. Like last year, and I remember another time. But at times have been a positive tournament for me all my career, this one.
I said every single day, but I can repeat: I feel comfortable here, I like the atmosphere, I like the crowd. I feel a big energy when I am playing in this Arthur Ashe Stadium. Yeah, just can say thanks to the crowd because honestly I feel a big support from them all the time. That’s important for me.
Q. You were told about some things Medvedev said about you. I’d like to ask you about him. What do you think has been the reason for his success, especially these past few weeks, and also how maybe helpful it is to have recently played him on a hard court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Honestly, of course, his summer is just amazing. But all his season is amazing. He started playing very well in Australia. I think he played the final on Sydney, this year, or Brisbane?
RAFAEL NADAL: In Australia he lost a match with Novak. He lost against the champion. He had a very, very tough battle there, too. After that he was very solid during the whole year.
On clay he played very well. I heard, I didn’t know, but I heard in the past he was not a great player on clay, but this year he was a great player on clay, playing great matches, winning a lot of matches.
Then the summer is just almost perfect. Final in Washington, final in Montreal, winning Cincinnati, final here already. Is the player who is in better shape on tour. I will face the player who is winning more matches of the year, and the player who is playing on the highest level since a while.
Q. What do you take away from that recent match against him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, have been a windy day out there. Here the wind is not there. I don’t know. Of course, helps little bit. But honestly, I think he’s making the steps forward every single day.
Is a super tough final. I need to be playing at my best. I think at the end of the match I increased my level again today. I need to hold this level if I want to have chances on Sunday. If not, is so difficult. He is very, very solid.
Q. At 4-0, what is in your mind? Are you thinking move on to the next set?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. My goal was to win that point. With the 4-0, my goal was to win the point of the 4-0 to 4-1 with my serve. Of course with 5-0, another mini break against before is done.
My goal in that moment is to put the first point on my score and then win one of the next two points on the return at least. Then you are 5-2. You are in a tough situation, but if you are able to win the next two points with your serve, then you are 5-4.
The opponent still have two serves to win the set. But from 4-0 to 5-4 is a completely different perspective because then the opponent have the pressure, too. That was my goal. Then was 6-4, and I was lucky with that point.
He played very aggressive couple of points, and I was able to hold it well, not miss at least, and put one more ball in in that moment. Lucky to win that first set in the tiebreak, not before. I had I don’t know how many breakpoints before that tiebreak.
Of course, I was against the score in the tiebreak. That is true that during the whole set, I had plenty of chances, and he doesn’t.
Q. If one day you end up with the most Grand Slams victories, tournaments, what would that mean to you? Is that a very important thing to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. But I always say the same: we still playing. Here we are. When I arrived here, my goal was to produce a chance to compete for the big thing again. Here I am.
I give myself another chance, as I did in Wimbledon, as I did in Australia, as I did in Roland Garros. That’s the personal satisfaction. That’s the personal happiness.
You win, you lose. That’s part of all the sport. Of course, I would love to be the one who achieve more Grand Slams, but I still sleep very well without being the one who have more Grand Slams.
I am happy about my career. I am very happy about what I’m doing. I’m going to keep working hard to try to produce chances. Sunday is one. It’s just one more chance, that’s all. My opponents going to keep playing. If I able to win on Sunday, okay, will be amazing. If I lose, I hope to keep having chances in the future to add things.
But as I always say to you, and is true: I would love to be the one to have more, yes, but you cannot be all day frustrated or all day thinking about what’s your neighbor have better than you. You have to be happy with yourself. You have to do your way. If you are the one to achieve more, fantastic. If not, at least I give my best during all my career. That’s all.
Q. Could you comment on Berrettini, how he played you, what you think he can do in the future?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, what he’s doing, he’s in semifinals. He was in semifinals of the US Open. He had a great run on grass, too. He’s a player, I don’t know, which ranking going to be after here. Probably he going to be very high on the ranking, raising a lot of positions during the whole year, improving his level.
I think he’s 23. Has plenty of time to keep doing things. He has a big serve, big forehand. No, he is strong. He has a great potential to become a player who fights for the big things for the next eight years.
Q. Among the big four, you are the only one to face first-time finalists in the last three year. Do you think this is just a little bit more weight and more importance facing a first-time finalist than just winning a Grand Slam, keep the streak alive, the big four in Grand Slam history?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t understand. Can you repeat?
Q. A little bit more importance facing a first-time finalist in a Grand Slam final, keep the importance of the big four era, not just winning a Grand Slam for yourself, but the importance of facing…
RAFAEL NADAL: I am very sorry, but I am not getting you.
Q. You face a first-time finalist three straight years.
RAFAEL NADAL: This is clear.
Q. This is not just winning a Grand Slam. You got more and more Grand Slam. But keep extending the big four era.
RAFAEL NADAL: What big four?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I am able to hold the era of the big four?
RAFAEL NADAL: We don’t need to hold this era anymore. We have been here for 15 years almost. Hopefully, but for my personal interest. At some point, these days, going to happen sooner than later that this era going to end. Is arriving to the end. I am 33. Novak is 32. Roger is 38. Andy is 32, too.
The clock is not stopping. That’s part of the cycle of life.
I’m not much worried about this because in tennis always going to be great champions.
THE MODERATOR: One Ubaldo question short and sweet.
Q. First of all, congratulations.
RAFAEL NADAL: For not having breaks?
Q. I want to tell you this.
RAFAEL NADAL: No breaks today, Ubaldo. No breaks. You were very worried the other day about me (laughter).
Q. That’s why this is what I want to ask, about the breakpoints. If you think that Berrettini’s weakness is his return of the serve?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so.
Q. Or you served particularly well.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn’t face a breakpoint against Chung either. What? Chung is not a good returner?
Some days things goes like this. Other days, things go another way. Of course, I had extra motivation today because of you the other day (smiling).
Q. I like to push you all the time. But honestly, if you think he has a great serve, a great forehand, his return is a little his weakness or no?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think so.
Q. What is the weakness of him?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think of course he can improve a little bit the backhand, in my opinion. But the rest of the things, he’s brave. To be that high, he’s not moving bad. He has a very good talent on the hands. He has a good ability there in front of the net, good slice backhand.
Is true that the slice backhand sometimes against me, I like to play against a slice backhand. Probably his slice backhand against me is not working as well like against another players.
I don’t really see him like a bad returner, no. I think he have enough breaks during the whole tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ubaldo.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports