How many matches will Rafael Nadal play at the ATP Cup?

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Team Spain’s pre-tournament press conference in Perth.

THE MODERATOR: The captain will introduce the team, and we will open it up for questions.

FRANCIS ROIG: Good morning, everyone. I’m Francis Roig, captain of Spanish team. I’m going to introduce you to my players. No. 1, Rafael Nadal. No. 2, Roberto Bautista. No. 3, Pablo Carreno. No. 4, Albert Ramos. No. 5, Feliciano Lopez.

Q. So how has practice been so far for your team?
FRANCIS ROIG: Well, I think we are happy with the practice. Obviously the jet lag was a little bit difficult at the beginning, but we could practice. I think we are happy with the level. We still have a little bit of time to be used to the time, to the courts. Let’s try our best these two days to be ready for the first match.

Q. Rafa, for yourself, you said yesterday the jet lag was an issue for the team. How are you feeling now heading to your first game on Saturday?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, good. Remain a couple of days. I am improving in terms of to be ready, and the timing has obviously have been a little bit better. Today is the first time that I slept more or less okay. First couple of days have been tough.

I think we are practicing well. So remain two more days of practice for us. We hope to be ready for it.

Q. Francis, how much do you think you’ll be involved in on-court coaching? How much do you think you’ll interact with the players during matches?
FRANCIS ROIG: Well, I will try my best. Obviously there is the team and the captain, but we have coaches also. In the case of Rafa, I’m his coach also, so we used to, we know how we work during the matches.

When the other player is on court, the coach will be next to me. We will have a dialogue. We will see. Is something that we will see during the match, but we want to do our best.

Q. Roberto, how are you doing after flying in, a few training sessions? Are you looking forward to a big 2020?
ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT: Yes, I think we did well coming as soon as we thought, and the jet lag is not easy here. The practice has been working well.

We are getting ready and getting the feeling of the court, and I hope all the team will be in a good shape for play on Saturday.

Q. Pablo, how important has it been to get off to a good start in a tennis season before and the fact you could potentially have three guaranteed matches this week?
PABLO CARRENO BUSTA: Well, for me, like No. 3 of this team, I don’t know if I have the opportunity to play singles matches, so I am (indiscernible) this week in case that I don’t play singles matches, but I think that probably I have the opportunity to play some doubles.

So for me I play as more matches as I can. It’s important. I need to get rhythm for the season, and I believe a lot in my teammates to be in the final rounds of this ATP Cup.

Q. Rafa, do you plan on playing every day you possibly can, all the singles and the doubles if needed?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I am just focused on try to play the first match, my singles match on Saturday. Then that’s the team. And there is different strategies possible.

Is a captain here that has the power of decide what’s better for the team, and I am just here to help in all ways possible, to try to have the better result possible.

Q. Rafa, you are a very proud and passionate man. What’s it mean for you to play for Spain and for your country?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is always a special feeling. Have been great to share a lot of great moments during all these years with a lot of good friends on the Spanish team. I am playing for my country since 2004 if I’m remembering.

So this is a special feeling. This is a new competition, so is a little bit new for everyone. We don’t know how the thing is going to go, but the format is not very different about what we played a month ago in the Davis Cup, so we know how the things works. We know that the way that the tie is going to go, you need to be ready for everything, because every single mistake put you under pressure position, so we hope that we can start in a good way, and we really hope that we can be very competitive from the beginning.

Q. Mr. Roig, ultimately it’s your decision. How much will you play Rafa?
FRANCIS ROIG: I think he answer pretty good. We never even start the competition. We have to see, if we want to try to do it good, it’s a long competition, so we will see during the matches.

I think we have a great team. Not only we have to think that Rafa has to be in all the matches, so we will decide.

Q. Spain are favorites. Is your expectation to win this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: My expectation is enjoy a new competition. My expectation personally is to try to be ready for the first match that probably will be against Basilashvili. For me, that is a tough start of the season. That’s my goal today.

The great things, the only way to build important things is with the daily work. So we need to take care about our first tie now against Georgia, and that’s the only thing that is in our mind, just try to be ready for this one.

What can happen, we don’t know. Of course we have been winning the Davis Cup a month ago. We have a good team around. All the players that are next to me are great players, and all of them have experience on team competition.

So we are excited, but we have a lot of respect for every opponent. We want to have chances to be successful.

Q. A Canadian tennis player, Denis Shapovalov, has questioned the timing of the ATP Cup so soon after the Davis Cup. Do you see that as a problem, especially leading into the competition later in January?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me?

Q. Yeah.
RAFAEL NADAL: Personally, yes. Yeah. Is confusing to have like two World Cups of tennis in one month. For me personally that’s not the ideal situation for our sport, but that’s how it works today, and I am very excited that we can change that in the future.

Q. Just to follow up, he suggested maybe if the ATP and ITF could combine to one single World Championship, do you think that would be better in your eyes?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that tennis deserves something like this.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

3 comments

    • Lucky you Shirley Nan! Did you get to see our Rafa live? I’m so jealous! Lol. But not really. Happy for you! How was the experience?

  1. “Down Under” is a faraway country n I do hope the cool waters of our wonderful beaches have helped you n the team overcome your jet lag. Rafa, I’m so excited – only a few hours more n I will be seeing you in person! I am hoping to be able to get a selfie with you n your autograph – wishful thinking as I am sitting in “Row S”!! – also 84 yrs old so cannot be rushing around! Vamos Rafa n Team Spain. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. 🐂🏆🏆🏆🏆👑👑👑👑🎊🎊🎉🎉💥💥

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