Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after his quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros.
THE MODERATOR: How much did the crowd support help you tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, a good night. Well, the crowd have been amazing since the beginning of the tournament. I don’t know. I think probably they know that I not gonna be here for a lot of more times (smiling).
Yeah, I mean, the feeling about playing in the most important place and the most special place personally in my tennis career, I feel the support of all the crowd is just something very difficult to describe, no? So just can’t thank enough everyone here in Paris for making me feel that way, no?
Have been one of these unforgettable nights. So thank you very much, everyone.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Did you honestly believe that you could play 8 hours and 30 minutes in 48 hours, 8 hours and more than 30 minutes in 48 hours’ time after all the injuries, the problems you had with the preparation, against two players like Aliassime and Djokovic?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I told you that in Rome that I gonna have my doctor here with me, that having the doctor here you can do things that helps, no? So it’s not the moment to talk about that. I said that we are gonna talk about that after the tournament when my tournament finish.
But, yeah, I am putting everything that I have to try to play this tournament with the best conditions possible, no? I don’t know what can happen after, honestly, but here I think I gonna be fine.
Q. I just wondered, obviously this is a match that’s finished at 1:15. You have won tonight, but do you think it’s maybe still too late to be playing tennis at this time?
RAFAEL NADAL: It is, without a doubt. I can’t complain because we have two days off now, but if you only have one day off, or like Zverev had in Madrid, and he had to play the final the next day, then is a big issue, no?
Of course I understand the other part of the business, without a doubt, that televisions pays a lot of money to have matches that late, then the tournament makes money and then the players make money, no?
We need to find a balance, the right balance to make the things the best way possible, no? Is true that start the match here 9:00 in the evening playing on clay, best-of-five can be very long. These kind of things can happen. But that’s it.
Q. That was an incredible match. It was the level of a final. It felt like a final for the public, and I suppose for you too. But it was not a final. How do you then mentally refocus? Because you still have two matches if you want to win the title. How do you do that after such an incredible match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I have some experience on that, no? (Laughter.)
In the end it has been a very emotional night for me. I still playing for nights like today. But is just a quarterfinals match, no? So I didn’t win anything. So I just give myself a chance to be back on court in two days, play another semifinals here in Roland Garros means a lot to me.
If I am not playing good or if I am losing in that semifinals match, not gonna be because I’m not gonna be focused on that semifinals match, no? I have experience on that. I am not the kind of guy and player that emotionally goes high and low. I am very stable, I think, emotionally.
I know how the things works, no? Is the moment to enjoy today, because have been a beautiful night for me, without a doubt. Very emotional one. But tomorrow gonna start thinking about things that I need to do to be ready for that semifinals, no? The main goal is be focused on all the level that I have been playing today.
Q. I was just wondering, you said you were a bit emotional today. Could you tell me what went through your head when you hit that match point? Is there something extra special about beating Novak in a quarterfinals here?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, of course we have a lot of history together, no? A lot important moments playing against each other. That’s the true. In that case always is a special match, play against Novak, no?
I become emotional because, of course, the last three months and a half for me, the only thing that I can say is haven’t been easy. So that’s it. That’s it. Not gonna be talking about all the things I went through last couple of months anymore now because I have to keep going, but of course haven’t been a fun three months.
All the things that me especially, but the rest of the team help me to keep going, no, makes this match more special, without a doubt.
Q. You talk a lot in here and in your on-court interviews about how you are aware that this Roland Garros could be your last, any one match could be your last. Is that something you are conscious of when you are on the court? Is that an additional emotional burden for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I can’t say another thing, no? I am very clear about that, no? I am, as I said, I am old enough to not hide things or come here and say a thing that I don’t believe.
No, I don’t know what can happen. I think, as I said before, I’m gonna be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what’s gonna happen after here.
I mean, I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it’s becoming super difficult for me, no. So that’s it.
No, no, I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen on the future, no. Of course I’m gonna keep fighting to find a solution for that, but for the moment, we haven’t (smiling).
So just give myself a chance to play another semifinals here in Roland Garros is a lot of energy for me.
Q. You and Novak have played some incredible matches over the years. What does this sort of series of matches, what does the rivalry mean to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, this is one more episode, no. That’s it. We played, as I said before, in the most important events, in the most important matches for a lot of years, and it’s always special to play against each other.
Tonight have been just a quarterfinals match, not the final. So that’s different, no.
But still a super classic match and in a big scenario. So yeah, between Novak, Roger, myself, we have an amazing story together facing each other in the most important matches for such a long time. So that makes the things more special and more emotional.
But as I said, from my perspective, of course there is always a conversation about the player who finish with more slams or who is the best of the history, but from my perspective doesn’t matter that much. We achieve our dreams. We make history in this sport because we did things that didn’t happen before.
So from my perspective, doesn’t matter much which player going to finish with more slams or the best of the history because from my perspective, the level of our three is very equal. Is not much difference so doesn’t matter.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports