Rafael Nadal talks to the media ahead of 2022 Roland Garros.
THE MODERATOR: We all want to know if you have recovered from what you had in Rome.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yes. No, of course. There is nothing to recover, by the way (smiling).
I mean, what happened in Rome is something that happened very often in my practices, no? But yeah, I was, yeah, suffering after that for a couple of days, but I feel better, no? That’s why I’m here.
But what happened there I think everybody knows, and I talked after the match very open about what’s going on. But at the same time I said is something that can be better in the near future, no? And I hope that’s the case here.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. You said before that the pain from the foot, it comes, it goes. Is it possible being optimistic that the pain could disappear for the next two weeks?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think so in that way. But I don’t think is the real goal. I mean, the pain is there always, no? It’s not about gonna disappear now. It’s about if the pain is high and strong enough to allow me to play with real chances or not.
But, I mean, I answered of course the questions, and I will answer the questions, but I will not be talking all the time about my foot even if I understand that it’s something that’s normal, because after what happened in Rome.
But in my case, is something that I live every day with that, so is nothing new for me and is not a big surprise. So I am here just to play tennis and to try to make the best result possible here in Roland Garros, no? And if I don’t believe that this thing can happen, probably I will not be here.
So I am just working as much as I can, and practicing as good as possible. My real goal is just put me in a position that I am healthy and playing enough good tennis to give myself good chances.
Q. You talked a lot this season about the great joy you have experienced being able to be back playing for the biggest titles in the sport in good health. I wonder if that joy is still there, though things have changed a little bit for you injury-wise?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I mean, I just enjoy and I just enjoyed all my tennis career to be where I am, and I always feel very privileged and lucky guy to have the chance to enjoy all the experiences that I am enjoying and I am living because of this sport.
And here I am in Roland Garros, no, another year. It is a place I know well. It is a place that I consider the most important one in my tennis career, without a doubt, and with a lot of positive memories.
My real goal is just practice well, put myself in a position to be competitive since the very first round, and then let’s see what can happen.
Q. Sascha was in here earlier and he said he was watching you practice. He said just watching you on these courts, he felt like your ball was coming off your racquet 20 miles per hour faster and that you’re a 30% better player here than almost anywhere else. Do you agree with that? Is that how you feel when…
RAFAEL NADAL: 30% better player here than in the rest of the places or the rest of the players (smiling)?
Q. That would be nice?
RAFAEL NADAL: Actually, I was for a while, but not anymore, I think (smiling).
No, I don’t know. I think I won 12 Barcelonas and 10 Romes and I think 11 Monte-Carlos, so probably is not the big difference between here and the rest of the places, no?
No, it’s true that here I won maybe a couple more than the rest of the places, no, but I think my level of tennis on clay have been high during a long period of time in my tennis career, without a doubt. That’s what the number says.
Unfortunately here I didn’t have the preparation that I would like, and unfortunately that rib fracture stop a little bit the great moment that I was having since the season start.
But in the sport, things can change quick, and only thing that I can do is try to be ready if that change happens. No, today looks difficult and looks that there are players that are in better shape than me, without a doubt, and is true today, but you never know what can happen in the next couple of days.
Same happened in Australia, and I put myself in a position to have a chance. And here is no different. In the case that that can happen, yes, difficult, yes too, but only thing I have to do is believe in my chances, believe in my daily work, and then stay positive and believe in my real chances.
Q. There is a very big, very conveniently located football match next Saturday. We don’t know what half of the draw are playing when yet. Wondered if you had made any request or were planning to make any request to be available on that day.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am here to play Roland Garros more than anything else, no? But of course I have my tickets already (smiling).
Q. I know you spent a lot of time around a lot of different champions in your career. I’m wondering, you spent a bit of time recently, you were just seen with Iga Swiatek who has won five tournaments in a row on the women’s side, curious what you make of her, what qualities you see in her as a champion.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, she’s winning very easy. That’s special and very difficult. I saw her play couple of matches and seems like today she’s over the rest. That’s what the results says, because when somebody like her is winning the tournaments and is winning with these results, I mean, is something special, no? Happy for her. She’s fresh. She’s natural. She’s young.
I mean, was a big surprise probably the first time that couple of years ago when she won here, but the way that she’s playing this year looks unstoppable, but let’s let her play with calm and without an extra pressure, because probably for her after the last results will be an important one here.
Q. A question very easy, but are you the favorite this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, but, I mean, for sure not, because the results says that I am not, but is something that never worried much to me, no? Probably when I was a favorite, I never considered myself the favorite, no?
Of course one of the candidates. I considered myself during all my tennis career one of the candidates here, because I achieve tournaments before here, and now on Friday, before the tournament start, I don’t think I am the favorite at all. But you never know what can happen (smiling).
Q. I wanted to ask you about the draw. Some players say they don’t want to know anything more than their first opponent. Some players will look at the full section or maybe even the full draw just to see what’s possible down the road. For you, how much do you look at a draw when it first comes out here, or at any tournament? What was your reaction if you saw the full draw for here to seeing that top half of this tournament’s draw?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, yeah, I would like to not know the draw, no? I don’t have these kind of issues honestly, no? I mean, mentally for me it doesn’t matter. In terms of tennis, of course the top of the draw you see the names, of course is a very tough one. But we are in a Grand Slam, and you never know what can happen, no? You know, remain a lot of things to happen, to probably arrive to the matches that you are thinking, you know.
I mean, the only thing that I can say is of course I know everything. For me never have been a problem that. I am probably humble enough in that case to just be focused on my first match. Doesn’t matter if I know where I am exactly and what, you know, possible opponents I can have.
But I mean, let’s see. Only thing that I would like is be the player that, one of the players that you think can face these other great players.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Great to see Rafa laughing and joking, despite the uncertainty about his foot. Good on you champ.
Go for it Rafa❤️