Rafael Nadal by Ike Leus
Rafael Nadal by Ike Leus

Rafael Nadal: “I think I played very well with my forehand. I think was important to serve the way that I served today”

TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – R. Nadal d. A. Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. An interview with Rafael Nadal

Q. Have you played better this season? That was quite an amazing performance?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well. I say the other day that I was practicing better than a long time ago, so that’s why the result today, no?

Normally when you are playing well, then you are able to play with the right position and go on court with the right intensity. You can do it. You can play at the same level that you are practicing, so I think something that I did today.

I think I played very well with my forehand. I think was important to serve the way that I served today. Is true that for a player like Andy   he’s a big returner   that he make more mistakes than usual on the return.

But is true too that I made a lot of times serve, and the first shot with my forehand starts to be very positive because I am able to take the advantage from the first shot.

And then if I am able to hit a few forehands in a row    probably not one month ago, but today if I am able to hit a few forehands in a row is true that normally I have a lot of chances, have had good success.

 

Q. Were you expecting one month ago when you were losing some matches which you normally don’t lose to be able in one month to recover so well and to be so strong? Also, did you expect that Murray didn’t make more than seven points on returning your serve until half of the third set?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I didn’t see the statistics, obviously. Is difficult to talk about statistics for me. I talk about my feelings. Is true that I lost a few matches, but playing the way that I played today probably I will not.

But another thing that is true is every week on the clay court season I was doing something better. So if I was able to start a little bit before with that improve    not talking about the level of today, but if I was able to play a little bit like I did in Rome few weeks before, probably we will be here talking about a great clay court season.

But the problem is always the same. The problem is the past. Problem is comparisons, because for everyone that in the clay court season make quarterfinals in Monte Carlo, quarterfinals in Barcelona, winning Madrid, final in Rome, and final in Roland Garros, will be a very positive clay court season.

But probably comparing with the last eight years will be a little bit more negative. For me, still a very good clay court season. Important thing is that I played at very high level today. I finished well the match the other day. I played again probably my best match in the clay court season today.

So happy for that. Very happy for that. Seriously. Very, very happy to be in the final of Roland Garros again. That’s something very special for me, and I’m happy that I am.

 

Q. Do you attach some significance to the fact that you might be in a position to win a fifth straight title of Roland Garros, and what would that kind of achievement mean to you to win five in a row?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me the only motivation is Roland Garros. Doesn’t matter five in a row, four, or one. For me, always when I have a chance to win Roland Garros is a special thing.

The rest of the things are less important.

 

Q. It was interesting that you said during the clay court season each week you learned something.

RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t say I learned something. I said I did few things better. But not I learned. I can still learning a little bit, but…

About the world, about life, yes. About tennis I am trying to still learning every day, but always is a challenge, no?

 

Q. Okay. So what things did you do better?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. The things that I did better, first few weeks with my forehand I was not able to create winners. I was not able to take advantage when I was hitting with my forehand. I was losing court. I was playing with more mistakes than usual. My position on court was not a good one to compete against good players.

I was playing with, you know, more nerves, more anxiety than usual, because was a little bit new feelings for me on clay that I was not able to find my real game on clay.

Playing better or worse, but always I had that feeling that    playing better or worse, but I was able to do the things in one way, no? Now a mistake with a forehand, now a mistake with the backhand, now I am defending, I am not defending enough long.

So now I am running and I am not arriving with the right position on court. So strange feelings for me that I needed to accept and work on it to keep improving.

Sometimes that’s a good thing of the sport, no? Always the effort and the work to improve, to recover, to find solutions for your problems, and that’s the beautiful thing about the sport in general.

That’s why the sport in general is popular around the world, because the sport is always a real thing. When you are playing well, you win. One win, one lose. One player is playing better. One is playing worse. That’s the real thing? What you are watching is what is the real thing.

 

Q. The weather was very good. It really helped your topspin today. When you play Djokovic on Sunday like the weather is also expected to be quite sunny. Do you feel that will have an impact on how you play him? Also the fact that you have lost four matches in a row to him, but you have never lost to him in Roland Garros. How confident will you be going into the final on Sunday against him? And also, a little bit about the weather conditions, like how it’s going to impact or whether a good start is essential for you on Sunday to win the match.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, always I repeat the same every day, no? For me is much better when the weather is like today. My ball creates more topspin. The ball goes quicker in the air, and with my forehand I am able to create more with less.

It’s obvious that with days like today, helps my game. And confident or not on Sunday doesn’t matter. I gonna go on court. I’m going to try my best. I need to play aggressive. I need to find my best level, and I gonna try.

Talking about confident or less confident because he beat me four times but he never beat me here, is true that I prefer to be in a position that I beat the opponent that I gonna play four times than in another position, than in the other position.

So probably he will come to the match mentally a little bit better than me because he beat me the last four.

But at the same time, my feeling is I am doing the things better and I am playing better again, so that’s a positive feeling for me.

I gonna try. I don’t know.

 

Q. What helped you dominate this match? What made the difference between this match and the match between David and you?

RAFAEL NADAL: Okay, we can try and analyze details and analyze each point, but the truth of the matter is that I played better than my opponent. These are the facts.

Today I played better than Andy. Andy made a few mistakes, especially on his return; whereas I made very few mistakes. I played quite well. So these are facts. I succeeded in developing my strategy.

As for Andy’s strategy, he didn’t manage to implement it. These are facts. I’m sorry for him, but I think at the end of the day, well, he’s a player I do admire quite a lot. He’s a player I like. He is a player who is just recovering from an injury, and he’s had very good results.

He’s somebody I know very well on a personal level. He’s a beautiful person. I’m sorry for him. I think he’s achieved very good results despite this loss today, but I think I played better than he did.