Rafael Nadal Interview - Indian Wells, Mar 15Posted on March 16, 2008
PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 15, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How much of a problem was the wind out there today for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Whew, big wind for me today. With these conditions, it's always very important, all the wind, so maybe today I win, and that's it, no? I can't do too much.
Q. You set a really wonderful pace for two or three years and you helped bring a lot of players up, and now it looks like they're going to force you to go up another level here. Is that accurate or inaccurate?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, right now it's -- I think when when I arrive on tour it was a lot of big players, too. When I arrive, it's Roddick, Hewitt at the top, I don't know, some more. So it was tough for me to come to No. 2. Right now I have three years of already being the No. 2 in the world.
The true is right now there is a lot of young players coming well, but the same age like me. No more.
Q. But they owe you a lot.
RAFAEL NADAL: What?
Q. They owe you a lot.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, going to be difficult right now. But I going to try my best for continue being in the top positions. I know if I am playing good, I'm playing fine, at my best level, I have chances for do this, no?
Q. What are the most difficult weather conditions to play in? Is it wind? Is it heat? Which is the most difficult?
RAFAEL NADAL: The true is only difficulty is the wind. Because if rain, we stop until another condition that we can play.
Q. Your thoughts about your next match? Could be Feliciano or Donald Young.
RAFAEL NADAL: You know what's the score right now?
Q. When I came in, it was about 5-5.
RAFAEL NADAL: There, it's there. Can you tell me? Behind you.
Q. First set to Young and second set is 6-5 Young, on serve. So 6-5, Donald Young is serving for the match.
RAFAEL NADAL: Young is serving for the match? Okay, so we don't know yet. (laughter.) Donald Young, I don't know him. I saw him one or two matches in my career, but I don't know him very well.
Feliciano, for sure I know him a lot. I practice, for example, today. So both. Both players are going to be tough. I am focused on me, no? Try to play my best tennis, and if it is like this, and Donald beat me, congratulations.
I am focused on try to play. Better if not the same wind as today.
Q. If you were to play Feliciano, do you approach the day any differently? Would you still practice with him, or would you just keep away from each other until after the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I play Feliciano, I'm going to start to win the match tomorrow in the golf course. (laughter.) I don't have many problems, no, for this, no. I know it's going to be -- can be the next opponent of me and anyway I practice with him today.
In Dubai, I play the first round against Kohlschreiber, and I practice with him the day before. I think some players have -- don't like these things, but I think we know each other not perfect but good, and one practice before not going to change nothing.
Q. Who is the better golfer out of the two of you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, right now I don't know. But I think -- I only know the Spanish players, and, well, in this tournament I am little bit, no? Two loss -- two wins, he lost, zero lose, so Ferrero have to improve little bit. He was at the range yesterday. I have to practice in the afternoon, have to go to the range. Maybe today, too.
Q. Which courses do you like playing out here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think every one is very nice.
Q. You've played all the courses out here?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?
Q. How many courses have you played out here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played on one, two, three, four.
RAFAEL NADAL: But not this year.
Q. Not this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: This year only one.
Q. Your greatest strength as a golfer? Playing golf, the best part of your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Depends at the moment. Sometimes the drive. Sometimes the irons. I lost the drive right now.
Q. Which is a tougher game: golf or tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult to compare, no? But I always say the same. Mentally I think both are very tough, because in golf you can't have any mistake. But in golf you play very good shot you are going go birdie, no?
In tennis you do very good shot and you can lose the point. So I think on golf you play against yourself. In tennis you play little bit against yourself, but especially against opponent, so that's difficult to compare for that reason. I prefer play golf, no, because all the time depends on you, no?
Q. Do you play right-handed?
RAFAEL NADAL: I play right, yes.
Q. The theory is that left-handers grow up playing right-handers and they have a mental program for right-handers. They have their toughest time against left-handers. That's what Laver once said. Is that true for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't understand that. (Spanish interpretation.) Whew. Can you repeat, please?
Q. You're left-handed.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.
Q. And when you grow up playing tennis --
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.
Q. -- you play mainly against right-handers.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, okay. I understand that.
Q. But now you have to change the mental approach because you're playing a left-hander, maybe. If you're playing a left-hander, do you have to think differently? I'm only quoting Rod Laver, who said for him the hardest player for him to play was left-handed. (laughter.)
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it change a little bit strategy, because the normal shot is crosscourt, not against the backhand of the other. But you play against left-hander you have to change little bit and put little bit more on the backhand of the left -- you have to play more -- I don't know in English. Down the line, yes.
So, but for the rest I think is not many difference. Really, we play a lot of times against left-handers, we practice. I think this doesn't matter.
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