Q. You have now played Roger twice this season, and so many times in the past. Does he seem this year to you, from how he’s played in those two matches, more relaxed than he was in the past on court?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. In Australia was a very close match. I had good chances to win. Today, not. Today he played better than me. I didn’t play my best match, and he played well.
These kind of matches, when you’re not playing your match, is impossible to win.
Q. The way he’s hitting his backhand, and you sort of changing your serving variation a bit, has that changed the way you two match up?
RAFAEL NADAL: The way what?
Q. The way you two match up. The way he’s hitting his backhand and you changing your serving patterns a little bit, has that changed the matchup?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I think was always that he returned well. But at the same time, it was obvious that I didn’t have the right answer for his returns, no? I needed to neutralize the points. I needed to neutralize his two first balls, and I didn’t.
So then playing two shots, he’s better than me today. And five years ago, ten years ago, always was better than me, no?
I was a little bit better than him in general when I neutralized the first two shots, and then I can manage it a little bit better the point, no?
So I was not enough good tonight to make that happen, and he deserved the victory, for sure. Very easy.
Q. On this court with high bounce it would be an advantage for you. Were you surprised the court wasn’t helping your game more than with this?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is always the same. You need to play well.
The court or doesn’t matter the surface. You need to play your best if you want to have chances to win, and I did not play my best. It’s obvious that I have to congratulate him because he played a great match.
But I have to think from my side, and I think I can do it much better, and I think I gonna do it much better next time.
Q. Do you see a certain difference the way Roger plays against you on the backhand side since he has a bigger racquet, racquet size?
RAFAEL NADAL: You have to speak to him. I don’t know about his racquet. I don’t know about these things.
He’s always played well, very aggressive, and his backhand was enough good to win the match.
But at the same time it’s obvious, as I said before, no, I need to hit longer and I need to hit higher, longer to create him problems, no? Continue reading “Despite Loss To Federer In Indian Wells, Rafa Confident Heading Into Miami Open”