Paris Masters 2019: Pre-tournament press conference

Credit line: Dubreuil Corinne/ABACA / Abaca Press / Profimedia

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. First of all, congratulations on your wedding. Just a question about how do you feel in Paris? You won of course so many times in Roland Garros but never here. How do you explain it? Is it too late in the season for you? Is it the surface? Is it bad luck?
RAFAEL NADAL: If it’s not good luck that I won 12 times in Roland Garros, it’s not bad luck that I never won here. That’s the real thing. I get injured a lot of times, it’s true. I miss this tournament a lot of times in my career. And other times I didn’t play well and other times opponents have been better than me.

Of course it’s an indoor surface that in the past is the surface that I had less chances. I think I have been improving the game to be able play well. I think this year the surface is quite quick, quite fast.

But I don’t know. I’m happy to be here. As everybody knows, for me it’s the most important city in my tennis career, so I love to be in Paris. Always gives me good vibes.

And I think I’m doing the right steps to try to be ready for the action on hopefully Wednesday. Let’s see.

Q. How is your hand doing? Do you play pain-free? Do you still feel something going on?
RAFAEL NADAL: Don’t ask me these kind of things. (Laughing).

Q. I have to.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. As you know, I had my problem in the hand after the US Open, so I couldn’t finish the Laver Cup the way that I wanted. Then I had to stop for a while.

And I feel better, that’s why I’m here. And I am here with the goal to play my 100 percent. That’s what I expect.

Q. Congrats on your wedding. Is this your honeymoon here in Paris?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not at all, no.

Q. You’ve been very busy since your wedding. Did you play a charity thing in Kazakhstan?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I played a charity exhibition in Kazakhstan for my foundation. Novak came to Kazakhstan to play for my foundation. So that was — I can’t thank him enough. So have been great feelings.

But obviously after the wedding I have the Sunday off. And then Monday, Tuesday, practice; Wednesday, flying to Kazakhstan; and Thursday late night here.

Q. So will you have time for a honeymoon or something?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. (Smiling) No, no.

I have been — the things that I had to do, I take my weeks off during the season, and we decided that well. And in the world of tennis, you have to find your priorities, and we decided the way that we wanted to do.

We take our time off before the wedding, and now is the moment to be back on the tour.

Q. You’ve got a busy November coming up. What is your sort of program the rest of the year?
RAFAEL NADAL: My program, everybody knows, is here, London, and Madrid. But as always, depends on how I feel.

Q. This is the first time that you’re in a race to end world No. 1. This is the first time you’re close and in the battle at the end of the season. Is this one different? Is there any specific feeling of this one? Is it still meaningful for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s not the first time. I have been in that position a couple of times in my career. I remember I have been here in 2017, I need to win one match, and I came here and I won the match. Another one have been close in the World Tour finals.

I said during the whole season is fantastic. I prefer to be No. 1 to No. 2 and No. 2 to No. 3. And of course, finish the year world No. 1 is something special, and I would love to make that happen. But as you know, I didn’t went to China. That’s something sad for me, but I need to find my priorities.

As I said during the last couple of years, is not my goal to be No. 1. It’s about I need to organize my calendar to play as long as possible. If with my calendar at the end of the season I am number one, super happy. But I will not try to follow or to make extra things to be No. 1. I just going to do my normal schedule.

And that’s the way you need to take decisions, and my decision is to try to do the right things to play as long as possible to give me more chances to play more years on the tour than try to be No. 1.

Then I going to try my best during the next couple events.

Q. You said that you will be in Madrid for Davis Cup finals. What do you think about the new formula? It’s something that you’re going to discover as are the other players and the public.
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t think much because the thing is you need to try it to have a real opinion.

And there is things in the old format that have not been working well. There’s other things that have been working well.

But is true that there is a important thing that we were not able to make that happen for the last couple of years, that is the best players of the world playing usually the Davis Cup. So when this kind of stuff happens, you need to find solutions, so the solution was that and let’s see what’s going on.

Of course we need to fix couple of more things on the tour to make a big, big competition, you know. I think two team tournaments, Davis Cup and ATP Cup in one month, is something that, in my opinion, is not good.

And my feeling is we need to create one big, big competition to stay together. ITF, ATP, that’s a good opportunity to make that happen and we need to make that happen.

Q. Whatever happens here this week you get back to the No. 1 spot next Monday because we don’t have any more points from Masters. Can you compare the feelings you have when you get to the No. 1 spot regarding when you win a Grand Slam? It’s the same kind of pride for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No. (Smiling.)

Honestly not. When you win a Grand Slam, you win a Grand Slam on court.

Sometimes when you are No. 1, for example, I know I going to be No. 1. It’s always not that you win this point and you are No. 1. So that makes a big difference.

For me, the first time that I have been No. 1 in my tennis career was 2008 for me. It was something that was really important because for four years, almost, I have been there being No. 2 and playing great tennis. So, for me, something that I wanted to be. Then of course to finish, like, end No. 1 for me is more important than just be No. 1.

So let’s see. Let’s see what’s going on. My feelings are not — I sleep the same well when I am No. 1 and No. 2. Of course I prefer to be No. 1.

But as I said, I’m super happy with my season. Have been a tough beginning of the season. Then I was able to find a way to be back playing at very high level of tennis and be in the situation that I am today.

Think about it before Monte-Carlo was something — or after Monte-Carlo was something very difficult to imagine. So I’m very proud about the year that I am having and is the moment to keep pushing a little bit until then and enjoy the last three events of the season.

The season is done and remain to make something special here and London, and I going to try to make that happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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15 comments

  1. VOTE FOR FANS’ FAVORITE
    VOTE RAFA

    Just a friendly reminder for fans who wish to vote for their favorite ATP player, Rafa, that voting ends this Friday, November 1, at 11:59PM GMT.

    If you Google votefansfavoriteATP
    you will see the link for voting.

    When I first voted for Rafa I tried to vote again. I could not vote twice on that day BUT today I voted again for Rafa and it went through. So if you vote today and want to vote again for Rafa try voting on different days.

    I am going to vote again tomorrow. Fingers crossed it goes through.

    Like

  2. Thanks to Margo for the Moya interview. It is an insight into the intensity of his involvement in the Nadal team. Rafael Nadal-we wish you good health, great happiness, and the best of luck in Paris.
    No other current player generates as much interest in a tennis match for positive reasons as you do.
    👏👍💪🤛🎾❤️-🗽US Open victory showed us the fire that still burns within you.

    Like

  3. Carlos Moyá’s interview with the ATP Tour staff:

    ATP: The team has been in Paris for a few days now. What’s your assessment of Nadal after these opening workouts?

    Carlos: Alright; better every day. The court is a bit fast; the ball doesn’t bounce in a way that allows for a good read or much reaction time. The only option is to be aggressive. We’ve taken this approach for some time now and practised in this mode to prepare for whatever we face, but what the opponent brings to the match is also a factor, as always.

    ATP: Looking at the calendar, how satisfied are you with the time you’ve allotted for rest, tournament entries and staying on course with meeting goals?

    Carlos: Our planning has gone well and we’re happy so long as we’re producing the intended results.

    ATP: This year, the team has managed to reach the semi-finals at all but one tournament (Acapulco).

    Carlos: Correct. But I think more in terms of matches, rather than in terms of weeks.

    If you drop a lot of first-round matches, you have to play more tournaments. So more than tournaments, we look more closely at the matches, both individually and in bulk, and how Rafa is feeling. We try to maximize the time spent on court, both at events and back at home, because it is about being mentally fresh and bringing the most amount of intensity and preparation into each match. The results are a product of that. So we have to make adjustments to ensure the right balance throughout the year.

    ATP: The team arrives in Paris after a rest period.

    Carlos: It’s strange because Rafa rested for a bit, then returned at the Laver Cup. From there, he went on a trip. There was the wedding. It’s been a bit different from what we’re used to. But he’s managed to rest, which is the important thing.

    He had a wonderful time on his wedding day and immediately it was back to training, because instead of going on honeymoon vacation after the marriage ceremony, he actually did it before. So two days after the wedding, we were already back in training. It’s been different, but it’s also been a very good past several days.

    ATP: Why has the Rolex Paris Masters been a tournament in which historically he hasn’t produced his best results?

    Carlos: There have been a variety of reasons, one being the time of year. Most seasons, he’s gone into Paris with very little rest; he’s entered the event physically worn and hasn’t been able to play to the best of his abilities. In fact, since I’ve come on board as a coach, that’s been the case — he hasn’t been in the best shape to allow him to perform at his best.

    In 2017, Rafa was forced to withdraw and last year he did not enter. Two seasons ago, Rafa had to retire in the quarter-finals [due to a knee injury] and he only participated because the year-end No. 1 spot was at stake. Last year when he played here, he had to have [ankle] surgery the following week … His physical conditioning going into this event hasn’t been in our favour.

    This year is different. He’s coming into the event well-conditioned. We’ll see how things play out and if his health holds up this week and in London.

    ATP: This year, then, he’s giving himself the opportunity to compete without anything to hold him back.

    Carlos: Physically, yes. But you have to factor in his quality of play and what his opponent brings to the match as well. Nothing is guaranteed. It does not assure you anything, but Rafa is arriving in Paris both physically and mentally prepared.”

    ATP: You sound optimistic.

    Carlos: More than optimistic, I’m always realistic. I know Rafa as a player, I’m conscious of the state he’s in when he enters an event, I have a sense of what he’s capable of doing and I’m always optimistic about his chances. But I’m realistic as well. I’m positive he can come through victorious but I’m aware he can have a bad day and end up losing a match. On outdoor hard courts, you can have a 10 or 15-minute spell of less-than-spectacular play, recover, and go on to win the match.

    On a fast indoor surface, you’re punished for any lapses by dropping a set and possibly the match. That puts the pressure on Rafa to perform at 100 per cent throughout the match and retain control of matters at all times. Of course, the level of an opponent’s play factors into the outcome, so it’s important we control everything within our power.

    Best of luck to Rafa and staying healthy. Wishing him a Paris win.

    RAFA ROCKS

    Like

    • Thank you, Margo! I loved that interview and of course the one of Rafa himself. Rafa knows how to respond to b.s. questions in a very polite way. And doesn’t he look fabulous?!! The best ever. I’m so happy for him! I wish him all the best (forever)!

      Like

  4. Rafa and his bride took their honeymoon before the wedding according to Carlos.

    He also stated Rafa is tournament ready both physically and mentally. This is surely great news.

    Like

  5. Winning Paris Masters would be incredible for Rafa as no one expects it and Rafa will clinch #1 for 2019 . Yes , that’s alot of pressure on Rafa but he is well rested and coming off a US Open win and just may surprise the pundits . Vamos Rafa !

    Like

  6. Unfortunately, Rafa’s refusal to answer the question about his hand, in this interview together with the one with elmundo, leave a lot of room for speculation.

    He gave a nuanced response to elmundo in an interview dated October 25.

    Q. Vamos Rafa! Where are you headed now?

    R. I always go day-by-day….. Now I am trying to recover from a small problem in my hand. I am starting to train little by little, with hope and the intention of ending the year in the best possible way. That is the only thing I am thinking about now. Afterward we will be planning the beginning of next year. Day by day.

    Like

  7. Always a very Good and Geniune Opinion Given by Rafa. Most Honest And Humble Person on Tour along with Goat. Vamos Rafa For Bercy Title #1

    Like

  8. VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!:) YOU OFFER SUCH GREAT INTELLIGENT ANSWERS……AND WE LOVE YOUR VERY FIRST ANSWWER REGARDING THE FACT THAT IT IS NOT BY GOOD LUCK YOU EARNED 12 RG TITLES !!!!!!!!!!!!!:) YOUR ENTIRE BEAUTIFUL SUCCESSFUL TENNIS CAREER IS FOUNDED ON YOUR EXCEPTIONAL BRIGHT WORK ETHIC!!!!!!!!!:) YOU ARE ALWAYS PREPARED AND READY……KUDOS AND VAMOS SWEETHEART !!!!!!!!!!!!!:) YOUR FANTASTIC MAGICAL SUCCESS IS ALWAYS DUE TO YOUR BRILLIANT TENNIS AND POWERFUL TOP TOP TOP FITNESS, YOUR FEUSTY FIGHTING ABILITY, AND YOUR HEORIC EXCELLENT PHYSICAL AND INTELLIGENT ENDURACE. YOUR HARD WORK, ALONG WITH YOUR IMPACABLE SPORTSMANSHIP ARE BY FAR DEAR RAFA NADAL EARNING YOU THE GOAT HONOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) EVERY DAY…. EVERY POINT….. EVERY MATCH YOUR EXTRODINARY EFFORTS LEAD TO YOUR BLESSED BRILLIANT TENNIS VICTORIES!!!!!!!!!!:) GO RAFA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) MILLIONS OF FANS LOVE YOU AND YOUR PASSION AND ADMIRE YOUR BRILLIANT SOLID TENNIS CAREER!!!!!!!!!!!:) YOU ARE AN AMAZING CHAMPION AND WATCHING YOUR MATCHES IS TRULY A SPECIAL TREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) XOXOXOXOXOXO

    Like

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