Humble-sounding Rafael Nadal points out that the world does not revolve around people playing tennis

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A tough match tonight. Did you feel as the match went longer you just lacked a little bit of energy towards the end and that’s why Daniil was the winner tonight?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I don’t think that way, no. I think at the beginning of the match he was better than me. I was able to save my serves with troubles, but then I played well to have the break and then to close the set, no?

In the second a little bit the same story at the beginning, but at the end of the set I was playing a little bit better than him, and then in the 5-4 I think he played a good game and I didn’t. I played a bad game. That’s it, no? But I had a big opportunity. I lost a big opportunity.

Well done to him. He’s playing great. I wish him all the best.

Q. Are you okay physically? Looked like maybe something happened towards the end of the match.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, it’s all good. Thank you (smiling).

Q. Just to go forward a bit, Australian Open, we don’t know when that’s going to take place. You didn’t travel to New York this year. Are there any circumstances where you wouldn’t travel to Melbourne to play in the Aussie Open next year?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know what’s the situation gonna be yet, no? We need to wait about what the government there in Victoria says. We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait. We have nobody to say what they feels is better for his country, no?

We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing. That is difficult for everyone. We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year, no, to continue with the tour, to try to help the tournaments, to help the players, the lower-ranked players to keep having job, and at the same time all the staff that they are living from our sport. Not only tennis players, no? All the people who are around, no?

So let’s try to be flexible in all ways. Players, tournaments is a special situation. Hopefully with the vaccine that ends soon and we can come back at least to close to normal in a couple of months, but now is a difficult situation. Just hopefully the situation gets better and we can come back to a normal tour.

Q. Bad luck. After one hour and 24 minutes you were serving for the match. Is a player also like you feeling a lot of pressure in a situation? How do you explain otherwise how you could lose a Love game when you’re close to make the final? Is that the pressure?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I think I achieved enough to not find an excuse about the pressure.

I know I won enough matches and enough tournaments in an even more difficult situation than this one and even in more important matches than tonight. So I don’t feel that way.

I feel I played a bad game. Of course you are nervous to win the match. But not me. Everybody. Is normal to have the tension. I think he played some good points and I make a couple of mistakes.

And that’s it, and then he played a good tiebreak. Yeah. And I played, I should be winning my serve in the third, the one that I lost. I had easy volley to close the game.

Small details makes a big difference. Just well done for him and not enough good for me.

Q. Do you ever think it’s a bit unfair that the Finals are always being played on hard court? Because maybe like if they would be played on clay once every three years you would already won the tournaments? Do you ever get frustrated about that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Now is not the moment to talk about that. I am a player to accept what the surface it is. I have my personal opinion, but is not the moment.

I just lost semifinal. I had my chances. I was close to play another final here. I was not enough good in the moment to close the match. That’s it. Other stuff doesn’t matter (smiling).

Q. Could you just reflect on the season you have had? You won the 20th Grand Slam at the French Open. Given all you have achieved, does that make it easier or harder to set goals for yourself in the next year?

RAFAEL NADAL: The same as always. Not easier, not harder. No, no, my goal is always the same: to go to every tournament and to give myself a chance to compete well and to try to win it.

That’s the goal of every year. My motivation have been always the same. Next year gonna be an important year. I hope to be ready to fight for the things that I want to fight. I’m going to work hard during the off-season to be ready for the beginning.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

44 comments

  1. Nominees have been announced in the 2020 ATP Awards for all player-voted categories.

    Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award:

    Rafa Nadal
    Diego Schwartzman
    Dominic Thiem
    John Millman

    Most Improved Award:

    Diego Schwartzman
    Andre Rublev
    Jannik Sinner
    Ugo Humbert

    Fans’ Favorite and the Arthur Ash Humanitarian Awards will be announced later this month.

    Coach of the Year Award voted by member coaches:

    Juan Ignacio Chela [Diego Schwartzman]
    Nicolas Massu [Dominic Thiem]
    Gilles Cervara [Daniil Medvedev]
    Ricardo Piatti [Janik Sinner]
    Fernando Vicente [Andrey Rublev]

      • I am not familiar with Millman but I am not surprised about Rafa, Diego and Dominic’s nominations. Rafa got my vote.

        Rafa is up for a sports award in Spain called Premio Deporte AS [or something like that] for his 13th Roland-Garros win, his fundraiser with Gaso for the Red Cross, and for his off-court persona. If he wins this one he will have beaten a slew of other famous Spanish sports stars. I hope he does.

      • My mistake, I voted for Rafa for fans’ favorite. I think players vote for the Sportsmanship Award.

  2. jas_uk, this is what I found on the US CDC website.

    • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

    • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

    Regarding isolation, please bear in mind that Premier Andrews is treating everyone who enters Australia as a potential COVID case or carrier. There were even suggestions that isolation could be shortened to ten days but Andrews would not budge from his 14-day requirement. He has repeatedly mentioned the spread of the disease in the US, Europe and other countries that are seeing an exponential number of infection rates.

    I hope this helps because it helped me to better understand the difference. I was not aware of the distinction between them.

    • Correction: “ There were even suggestions that isolation should be” is incorrect.
      It should be quarantine and not isolation.

  3. Just in from The Age:

    L’Equipe reported that the government’s proposal to manage the Australian Open quarantine included:

    Arrival in Australia between January 15-17.

    Be subject to “bubble” quarantine, to last until January 31 for all, regardless of arrival date.

    No one can spend more than five hours outside their hotel room and this time would be restricted to training on court, gym work or receiving treatment.
    At Melbourne Park, a player can only be escorted by one person (but not necessarily the same person each day).

    Training pairs to be formed, with two players (and their two accompanying staff) to train only with each other throughout the two weeks of quarantine. If any of those four then test positive for COVID-19, they will be quarantined in their rooms for 14 days following the positive test.

    Coronavirus test would be scheduled for the first, third, seventh, 10th and 14th days of their stays.

    I did read that [unnamed] players have yet to agree to the quarantine requirements. I guess they don’t want to play? They all talk about wanting to play but it seems as if they want to play by their rules. Pretty sad I think.

    • I read that the training pairs are for the first 7 days only and that in the second week of quarantine, groups of four can practise together. No matches are allowed though, so I guess that rules out the possibility of any other tournaments in Australia taking place.

      Most of the rules sound perfectly reasonable, but I don’t understand “Players will be arriving via chartered flights between January 15-17 but quarantine won’t start until the last player arrives” – as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. I presume that “quarantine” refers to the AO bubble, as surely anyone arriving from overseas needs to quarantine anyway.

      I’m happy that a date has been set at last and we can start looking forward to some tennis – and especially seeing Rafa again.

      • Jas_uk, your info is most likely from an updated article after L’Equipe’s. Thank you.

        No matches will be played during quarantine but that first week in February will see pre-Open tournaments. That’s why the date was pushed back from February 1, to February 8, for the start of the AO. One or more of the lesser tournaments may be canceled but no news about that yet.

        “A February 1 start date would not have allowed any matches [health authorities rules out matches in the bubble] and also would have been unfair to players who may get infected during quarantine – as it would’ve ruled them out of the AO,” Tiley continued in the letter to players.”

        Does the following clear up your uncertainty about “but I don’t understand “Players will be arriving via chartered flights between January 15-17 but quarantine won’t start until the last player arrives”

        I don’t know for sure, but I imagine because initially the plan was to have players arrive between January 1-7, and time of arrival was shortened to 3 days there would be less time in isolation.

        “Players will be able to train during 14-day quarantine, but only after testing negative to COVID-19 on the second day of isolation.

        Testing will take place in each player’s hotel room on days one, three, seven, 10 and 14.”

        It appears that “quarantine” and “isolation” are not being used interchangeably.

      • I won’t be surprised if there are an above average number of first and second round upsets with players going two months without competitive matches. Scheduling tournaments that first week of February will help but it won’t be enough. Here’s hoping Rafa is in top form when he arrives in Australia.

    • Wow, I suppose players will arrive January 1 or so and then quarantine until about January 15. Will they have access to practice courts during quarantine? I also wonder which warm up tournaments will be held and how many matches Rafa will need to be ready.

      Not ideal for anybody.

  4. Good news for Roger. He has regained the rights to his RF logo after having lost it when he switched from Nike to Uniqlo. He had without the famous logo since the summer of 2018.

    • Thanks Margo for all the good information you pass along.

      I just read on the Tennis.com site that the AO could be delayed by a week or two or longer. Players will be required to wait until January 1 to arrive and thus would have little time to prepare after the 14 day quarantine.

      Elsewhere I hear that the fires are back in Australia. It was those fires that first introduced us to the realities of 2020.

      Please keep us posted on when we might see Rafa play next.

      • Thanks David, but there have been so many different “leaks” that I was reluctant to post anything today.

        The recurring themes are that players and their entourages will have to be in Victoria no later than January 7 and that the AO will “probably” start on February 1. According to reports, any delay of the AO will have an effect on the entire 2021 calendar.

        Everyone is to be tested when they arrive and twice more during their quarantine time.

        Players will be able to practice during quarantine and will stay at two designated hotels during quarantine. NO ONE will be staying at any private homes or elsewhere. Poor Djokovic!

        I was surprised to read that there won’t be any security personnel at the hotels.

        The number of support staff for each player has yet to be decided.

        The time left after quarantine but before the Open will be spent on the “warm-up” tournaments. I don’t see how all the warm-up tournaments can be played in a week.

        Fans may be allowed up to 50% capacity. The AO website will announce when tickets go on sale.

        The above has to be verified, of course.

        Another very important aspect of what is driving the AO is the bucks to be gained or lost.

        Premier Andrews is looking out for how best to keep his people safe. I am with Rafa on this one.

  5. “Karen Khachanov, his wife and son who are in Dubai have all tested positive for the coronavirus and are self-isolating. He is doing pre-season training.”

  6. Hello everybody, I was wondering what you are doing since the end of the ATP ? Are you only Rafa’s fans or are you also fans of other people ? What about the lockdown ? about Christmas ?
    Have a nice weekend.

  7. A breakthrough in players being able to practice during their quarantine may be one hurdle crossed.

    “Local media reported on Friday that Tennis Australia (TA) has been given permission by the Victoria State Government to allow players to train during their 14-day quarantine ahead of the Australian Open.“

    Information on the AO is coming out piecemeal.

  8. Tennis Channel has three Nadal matches on today: 2012 Rome, 2013 FO and 2018 Rogers Cup.

    I just watched the 2018 Rogers Cup (it may be repeated-not sure). Rafa beat Tsitsipas in two sets. Rafa failed to close out the second set on his own serve at 5-4 and he won with the tie breaker. Watching how tight that second set was really emphasizes to me how close the talent is among the top players. Today we have six of the eight players from the ATP finals that could win against one of the others and any given day, plus Rublev and Diego who are also very good and other players who have yet to come back after the break like Nick and Roger.

    2021 is going to be the best year yet if Rafa can remain healthy. Lots of great matches.

    Not sorry about the ATP Cup though. I thought it detracted from the AO last year.

    • David, I agree with you about the ATP Cup. I thought it was an unnecessary additional to an already congested season, so I won’t miss it next year.

  9. Rafa’s year end ranking since 2005:

    2020-2
    2019-1
    2018-2
    2017-1
    2016-9
    2015-5
    2014-3
    2013-1
    2012-4
    2011-2
    2010-1
    2009-2
    2008-1
    2007-2
    2006-2
    2005-2

    Wow!!! How amazing 👏🤩😍
    Congratulations to Rafa and best wishes for next season!🍀❤️

  10. The Madrid Open will be a two-week tournament starting in 2021, April 27-May 9, 2021. It is usually ten days but has been extended to 13 days.

    According to the Herald Tribune, the 2021 ATP CUP has been canceled.

  11. According to Tennisnet.com, FAA has announced he will go to Rafa’s academy to prepare for the new season. Maybe Rafa and FAA will train together? 🤩😍

    Good luck to both in 2021! ❤️

    • Hi there Mimi, hope you are feeling better after Rafa’s loss.

      Felix has separated from his long-time coach Guillaume Marx so I am hoping for him to find a coach who will be a good fit for him and Frédéric Fontang.

      My concern is for his health. He has had an ankle injury and a heart-palpitations incident despite his young age. During a match against Shapovalov he grabbed his chest and needed the attention of a medic. He had to retire from the match. I just hope it was only the heat as he stated.

      Wishing him good health and a climb up the rankings for 2021.

      • Thank you so much, Margo 🙏😘
        I am feeling better, but still need more time to get over this one……

        It seems like FAA has had to deal with a cardio problem since he was a kid, but he underwent surgery back in 2018, and hopefully the problem is behind him now🤞

        Yes, wish him good health, and hope he find a good coach to join his team who will help him reach his goals in 2021!

        Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving, Margo! 🦃

  12. Glad he played some great matches which would help him in AO 2021.. But great opportunities are missed both in Paris and Tour finals. He was in a good position to win both.. It is sad that he couldn’t win tour finals in his 16 years of tour.

  13. The only difference between Rafa winning or losing this match came down to 1st serve percentage . Rafa would have one this match if he had served like he had in his previous matches . Otherwise , a few more unforced errors on easy returns than normal and untimely double faults . . Credit to Medvedev for playing well but Rafa let this one get away from him . I am looking forward to Vamos Rafa in 2021 .

  14. Knowing Rafa, he and Carlos will be dissecting this past match within the next couple of days and then the work will begin again on the practice courts. We all know, he has a lot of those! 😉

    Here’s to all of you.,. who’s comments are both insightful and enjoyable to read… We all share a common bond in our love for an athlete from Manacor, Spain who’s talent has brought the thrill of victory to all of us so many times… I know for myself, when Rafa plays I live and breath with every hit of the ball as I find myself yelling at the TV. “Toss the ball higher on your serve Rafa!” as if he will hear me by osmosis! 😊

    January is around the corner. Hopefully we will have the enjoyment of watching our boy once again in Australia…

    Until then… stay well and stay healthy everyone…

    • I completely agree with you Marileena. I love to watch Rafa, and live and die with each point. If Rafa is going to be on T.V. I don’t make any plans because I don’t want to DVR it…. I want to watch it live! Not only is he a fabulous tennis player, but he is so humble and a wonderful person. He is a great example for young players just starting out. I hope he stays healthy and continues bringing so much joy to all of us. He is the best!!!😊😄

  15. As always Rafa is the consummate professional. Aside though would like feedback from other tennis fans on the constant,sometimes,inane chit chat between commentators.Particularily Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe .
    Actually interferes with following the game at hand. I , for one could do without it. How do others feel?
    Jean Palmer Winnipeg MB

  16. You can bet that Rafa has already put the Medvedev loss behind him and is looking forward to Australia. After the great win at Rowland Garris I can’t see any reason for fans to be glum about his performance. He won that first set yesterday on experience and pure intelligence. Rafa will always have that going for him even when he’s having an off day.

    Thinking back on the year as a whole the one thing I hope that Rafa and Carlos address is his bad luck on tie breakers. It’s amazing to recall that he’s lost five tie breakers in a row to Theim.

    Let’s hope the situation in Australia gets resolved soon so that Rafa can focus on winning number 21!

    • 21 or 22 for 2021 sounds great to me.

      I agree about Rafa, David. He himself has said he may be blue for a day or so after a loss but then he gets up and goes forward.

      • Me, too! LOL! Rafa’s responses in his pressers after a big loss always help me feel better. I admire and love Rafa as much for his good temper, positive outlook and just plain common sense and balance as for his tennis. He’s never selfish, always thinking about what’s best for everyone, always recognizes the other guy’s point of view and always polite in the face of inane and even insulting questions. These are very rare qualities in a champion.

  17. Excellentes Réponses Rafael dans ta communication et très bien pensé pour l’Open d’Australie 2021 à Melbourne, en attendant, il faut que tu t’entraînes avec Carlos et Francisco à la Rafa Nadal Academy à Manacor à Mallorca, tout en sachant te relaxer auprès des Tiens entre Porto Cristo, Manacor et Palma, et si tu en as le désir jouer au Golf! Tu as mon soutien entier et Fidélité en t’annonçant que tu recevras de mes nouvelles par Antonio et Mariabel ta soeur Adorée! Trés Sincèrement, Jean-Louis Ferreira. VAMOS!!

  18. Rafa you said it yourself, Medvedev played very well. You had some unfortunate misses, and looked very tired just at end. I know indoor playing is not very favourable to you, no matter what you still thrill your fans by undertaking to play all surfaces and conditions. It is gone. So its onwards and upwards now for next season. Stay safe and healthy. Happy Christmas and New Year to you and your family ….your no.1 Irish fan.☘☘🇪🇸🇪🇸

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