Rafael Nadal Finals Presser: “Tennis is more than Grand Slams”

Rafael Nadal’s post-match finals press conference from the US Open.

Q. The emotions were pretty heavy out on the court. Talk about what it meant to you to withstand that pressure and come through the match.

RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you very much, yeah. The last three hours of the match have been very, very intense, no? Very tough mentally and physically, too.

Yeah, at the end with the video, the crowd that have been as always amazing, all these facts that make the moment super special, no? Unforgettable moment.

At the same time Daniil created this moment, too. The way that he fighted, the way that he played, is a champion way. Just well done for him. I really believe that he will have many more chances.

Q. How would you describe the accomplishment tonight? You’ve been in so many epic, marathon battles, but tonight specifically, how would you describe it?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, all these special matches, if these kind of matches in the final of Grand Slam makes the match more special, no? The way that the match became very dramatic at the end, that makes this day unforgettable, part of my history of this sport.

Just very happy. This trophy means everything to me today. Personal satisfaction the way that I resisted all these tough moments is very high. Just I normally try to hold the emotions, but at the end for all these facts have been impossible today.

Q. You still have some years left, of course, but are we looking at the future of tennis in Daniil?

RAFAEL NADAL: He’s 23. He’s 23. The year that he’s having is just very impressive. He has a great, great future in front. I really believe that, of course, he will be able to win Grand Slams, a couple of them, no?

Let’s see. In this life, is impossible to predict the future. But his career looks very, very well.

Q. After the match you watched a video on the screen of all of your Grand Slam wins. You just clearly were very emotional in that moment. What was going through your head as you watched it?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, we are getting old (smiling). In some way that’s good. See all the things I went through, be able to still being here is so special for me. I went through some tough moments, physically especially. When you have physical issues, then mentally things became much more difficult, no?

The emotions have been there watching all the success, all the moments that came to my mind in that moment. Yeah, I tried to hold the emotion, but some moments was impossible.

Q. Daniil said at 2-3 in the third set, he was thinking what speech he would make after he lost. He thought he was going to lose. At any point did you think that it was going to go the wrong way for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: If I thought I going to lose?

Q. Yes.

RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, when you have breakpoint against in the beginning of the fifth, losing the last two sets, you are in trouble. But I really try to avoid this thought. I always believe that I going to keep having chances. That’s the way that I approach.

Is different his position after two sets to love and break for me, is human that he had that feeling. But I always was in front of the score until the end. Is difficult for me to think I going to lose.

Of course, I was in trouble. But I played a not very good game at the 3-2 of that third set. In that moment things looks under control, but then Daniil increased a lot and changed a lot of things.

Q. Earlier this year you said it doesn’t matter if you have a bigger house than your neighbor or bigger boat. Now you have these 19 majors. For fans the race is very special. Talk about your winning your 19th and the competition between the three.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t look it that way. I always say the same: I would love to be the one who win more, but I am not thinking and I not going to practice every day or not playing tennis for it. I am playing tennis because I love to play tennis.

I can’t just think about Grand Slams, no? Tennis is more than Grand Slams. I need to think about the rest of the things.

I play to be happy. Of course, the victory of today makes me super happy. But few weeks ago I won in Montreal and have been important moment for me, too. Of course, is not a comparation [sic] because is completely different story.

Well, that competition, if that attracts fans and create interest on the people, that’s good for our sport, no?

I feel honored to be part of this battle.

But I repeat the same: you can’t be all day looking next to you about if one having more or one having little bit less because you will be frustrated. All the things that I achieved in my career are much more than what I ever thought and what I ever dream.

I would love to be the one who have more, yes. But I really believe that I will not be happier or less happy if that happens or not happen. What gives you the happiness is the personal satisfaction that you gived your best. In that way I am very, very calm, very pleased with myself.

Q. Do you feel so many long matches in your career, marathons with Novak, Roger, Verdasco, do you feel like when you get in one like this tonight you have an advantage because you have that experience?

RAFAEL NADAL: But I have 33, not 23. That’s not an advantage with 33, I think, no?

But at some point mentally, yes, because even if you are in a negative dynamic, you know for your experience you really believe that you can have your chance in the fifth, even if you are losing.

Then in the fifth, things became difficult for everyone because at the end… Is different when you are against the score than when you have to win the match. The mental issue is different. I know that for a lot of years, for my personal experience.

I really always had the hope that I needed to resist my — my thoughts have been I need to resist. At the beginning of the fifth, I cannot lose my serve at the beginning of the fifth. If I am able to hold my serve, I really thought – I really hoped – that I going to have my chances.

Q. Talking about age, we saw you play serve and volley here from time to time. Talk a bit about how you developed and changed your game according to age. Can you imagine to be out there in three or four years like Roger here still.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think about that. I just think about shorter period of time because you can’t predict what’s going on in this life now. This world and this life changes like this. You need to be prepared for accept everything.

Today is the day to enjoy. I did this during all my career. If not, I will not be able to be where I am today with all the injuries that I had, no? I need to adapt my game to my problems and to my goals.

That’s what I did all my career, just try to improve the things that I need to improve because on the way you lose things that you had. When you lose things, you need to add another things to keep being competitive.

Q. There is a long way to becoming world No. 1 the fifth time. How much does it still mean to you that you’re able to compete for such an accomplishment at this age?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t compete for it. I just do my way. If I am able to be No. 1 doing my way, great. But I always say the same: today is not my main goal. Of course, is great to be in that fight. But for me personally, is not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete.

With my age and with my goals, I cannot lose energy or time to follow the No. 1. I need to think about my career in a different way.

For me, my main goal is play as long as possible and compete, being competitive. Sometimes if you need to follow the No. 1, you going to lose years of your career.

But I am there. If I am able to play well until the end of the season, I going to have my chances. That going to be amazing. But I always say the same: is not my main goal today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


  1. Rafa, you will give to the world of tennis both on and off the court through you own tennis complex. Do not worry about age, you are a tennis icon for all who play and aspire to play. Take care of your heart and body and your wisdom about life.

  2. Bravo, Rafa!!! Thank you for being you. Thank Uncle Tony for us for molding you.(and your parents too),

  3. Rafa I’ve been a fan of yours rim he beginning 🎾there is no other like you Rafa♥️I can’t wait til yo write a book!
    Te score Rafa♥️♥️♥️🥎🥎🥎🎾🎾🎾

  4. Enjoy a well deserved break with your loved ones Rafa. All the best to you the rest of the season and beyond!

    You are amazing on and off the court👏❤️

  5. Bueno, mejor, Optimo Rafa, pegada tienes, sentimientos también. Eres Nuestro Gran Referente. C. Javier


  7. Martina Navratilova was saying this last night. All the other clay and grass court events, and the US hardcourt events, are just treated as warm-ups for the Grand Slams. And the indoor season just seems to be about who can get into the top 8 for the year end. It’s a shame, because it takes a huge amount of work and talent to win other events, especially the Masters events where most of the top players are there.

  8. Rafa you are the best of the best, i know you work the hardest of any human I have ever seen it does pay off now take a good long rest and a perfect wedding if any body deserves it you do I know you made your family very very happy and you also made your millions of fans very very happy thanks a million times I also thank God for you

  9. Enjoy the moment with your family and team. #19 is just amazing and it’s not the end😉

    Take rest and than all the best for the last weeks of the season.

    Vamos Rafa <3

    • Saw Rafa at Oz Open, one night. Very entertaining. Saw USA Finals match here on SBS. Great match. Well done Rafa.

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