Rafael Nadal couldn’t believe what he was hearing as a journalist questioned whether Rafa’s recent marriage had effected the way he plays tennis.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Obviously a tough first match against Zverev, and given the injuries you have had to overcome from the abdominal, are you confident you can complete more matches here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Yes, it was not a problem with the abdominal at all. I did not feel pain in the abdominal at all.
No, just Sascha, well played, and me, bad played, honestly. We can find reasons or excuses, but at the end of the day, what all really matters is I need to play much better in two days after tomorrow. That’s the only thing.
Yeah, we knew that going to be tough at beginning, because the period of time since the injury until today is very short, but we are here trying, and that’s it, no?
I stay positive. I stay competitive, something that today I was not. That’s the thing that I am more disappointed, because knowing that I will not be at my 100% in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way.
So that’s the thing that I’m disappointed with.
Q. At the end of the first set, you had a bit of a row with the umpire. You were expressing your unhappiness. Can you explain what that grievance was?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s fine. No problem at all, conversations that happens in the match, something that I really believe that he was not doing the right way, in my personal opinion.
I am not in the — I don’t have the truth. It’s just a personal opinion. And in my opinion he did much better in the second set. That’s all.
Q. Of course you’ve played against some outstanding servers during your career and have succeeded many times against them. How would you describe the serves that Sascha did today in such a fast court like we have here in London?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he served huge. Very, very fast. Difficult to read first, second. No doubt about that, about how good he is and how good he is able to serve.
Another thing is when you have break in front, things are easier, so if I am not able to resist the score and to hold the score 4-All, 3-All, 5-All, then the opponent is able to serve with much more confidence, no? Is not the same serving 4-All, knowing that if you have mistake, you can lose the set and if you have mistake you are under on the score, no?
That’s the main thing. That’s why I say before I am disappointed about my competitive spirit, because I was not able to bring the game to that moment that I needed, because I knew that I will not be playing at my 100% today, but honestly I needed to be close on the score, to have my chances, because I have been winning a lot. I think is the first match that I lose — well, after Rome, Roland Garros, I lost in Wimbledon, but I didn’t lose not one more match, no?
So if I am able to hold the score equal and with confidence, I know I have been doing a lot of things well. But especially in this surface, if you make mistakes, then it’s impossible.
Q. Can you tell us how your physical condition was tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good, no complaint about the physical condition. No pain in abdominal. That’s the only positive thing, honestly. That’s all.
Happy the way that abdominal hold, and hopefully I can continue like this, because it’s true that I was not able to create a lot of practice and a lot of effort on that part of the body since last Saturday.
So is a positive thing that I hold the whole match today. Hopefully I can keep going, and hopefully I can practice a little bit more tomorrow.
We had to do the things step by step, step by step being very, you know, big precaution in all the movements that we have been doing since last Saturday, and today I’m fine.
So the physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight.
Q. You obviously haven’t been able to play many matches since the US Open. How big of a problem is that lack of match fitness and match experience when you come into a tournament like this when you’re facing a top player from day one in every match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, I had my problems after the US Open. No, no, I couldn’t make the full calendar. But is something that have not been a problem, not playing a match, honestly, in the last few years, because when I came back on the competition after a break, I always have been playing well. In Paris was — I was playing great in Paris.
But is true that have been, after the US Open, have been some on and off in terms of my hand problems, had to stop for a couple of weeks. Then the abdominal, so I was not able to hold the regular practices the way that I would like.
But in some way, I did it enough well to play much better than what I did tonight. It was a bad day today. The opponent play well. That’s it.
We can think and we can find reasons or can find excuses, but the only excuse is, as I say before, no, he was much better than me tonight, and I was not enough good.
Q. Obviously it’s different this year because Davis Cup is next week, and because of the format, there are more matches in that than there would normally be in a final. Do you think you can really play potentially up to seven matches over the next two weeks, seven singles matches and maybe some doubles, as well?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I can’t give you a clear answer. I hope. That’s the only answer that I can give you.
Hopefully, yes. If not, so we accept it. But my goal and my determination is to make that happen.
Q. You have qualified for this tournament so many years, but it sometimes seems it’s at the wrong time of the season for you. Is there any reason do you think you suffered so much from injuries right at the end of the season, or do you it put it down to bad luck? I just wonder if there is any overall reason.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s not bad luck. We cannot think, even if it’s not good luck when we achieve important things, it’s not bad luck when you do negative things.
It’s part of my career, too. Not today. In the past make much more sense because it’s true that I have been playing long and tough seasons, playing a lot of matches and different style of game. So when I have been playing the last matches of the season, my body was tough to hold, no?
But this year I have been playing 11 events, not too many. Just trying to make the things the right way, to finish the season in the health way, healthiest way possible. And in this case, personally this case, I think was bad luck in terms of the abdominal injury because is an injury that is not like my knees are suffering and I am pushing. No, it was a bad movement, and at one point and I didn’t feel nothing before.
So is not bad luck probably in the past. This time about abdominal thing was a bad movement. I don’t know we can call bad luck. Bad preparation, I don’t think was that. But you can think about reasons, but honestly, I am not the kind of player — you can think about reasons, but honestly I am not the kind of person that I am complaining or giving me a hard time why this is happening or why this is not happening.
That’s life. Things happen. You need to accept. Sometimes the thing that are happening are very positive like most of the time with me. Sometimes negative. We need to accept both things being and staying calm at all times. That’s what I did probably all my career.
Q. Tonight you were playing very short many times. I don’t know why, because you’re not used to that. I’d like to know, for many people to get married is a very important distracted thing before the marriage, during the marriage, after the marriage. I’d like to know if somehow your concentration on tennis life has been a bit different even if you were going out with the same girl for many, many years.
RAFAEL NADAL: Honestly, are you asking me this? Is a serious question or is a joke? Is it serious?
Q. It’s serious. (Off microphone.) Is not something that…
RAFAEL NADAL: Okay. I surprise, is a big surprise for me you ask me this after I have been with the same girl for 15 years and having a very stable and normal life.
Doesn’t matter if you put a ring on your finger or not. In my personal way, I am a very normal guy.
Maybe for you was — how many years you have been with your…
Q. Wife 30 years this year.
RAFAEL NADAL: And before? Ah, maybe before you were not sure. That’s why (smiling). Okay.
Okay. We move to Spanish, because that’s bullshit. Thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports