Rafael Nadal Interview - Wimbledon, June 22
Posted on June 22, 2010
RAFAEL NADAL: Hello (laughter).
Sure, it's always special to play on this court. Very happy to come back to this tournament and play in probably the most beautiful and emblematic court in the world.
Q. Did it feel different after missing last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. Just happy to come back. Always the feeling is amazing. Was amazing all the time come back here after the victory in 2008 always, sure, is a little bit more special.
Q. In your own mind, was this the start of the defense of your title, the title you couldn't defend last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have to defend nothing, no one point. All the points are in positive for me in this tournament. I go day to day. For me was a very good victory today. Was difficult opponent, I think. And, sure, next round it will be very difficult against very dangerous serve like Robir Haase.
I don't feel like a defense of the title. Roger has to defend that. I have the chance to defend 2008. I didn't play for the knee. So that's the sport. Right now I gonna try my best.
Q. Was that as comfortable as you've felt on Centre Court? You looked straightaway into your groove.
RAFAEL NADAL: I played well. I think I played very good match. To be the first match here, I'm very happy.
Q. How long does it take you to fully adjust from the clay to the grass? How far in the tournament do you think it takes you to get to your peak on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think I am okay, no? Sure, every day is important. Maybe for the experience that I have here, if you win more matches, you can finish playing better than you start because in the end of the tournament you play similar than clay, no?
No, for me, first matches are very difficult. Always very important to pass. After that, I can start to play much better.
But I tell you, I am very happy how I played today. Was a very good match for me.
Q. What part of your game do you feel you have to adjust the most going from clay to grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is not one part of the game. Is the game in general, you know. Is the time of the ball, the way that you have to win the points, the serve. So that's the most important things, no? The movements.
So is a lot of changes, no? Is not the forehand or the backhand, no? Is a little bit more general the way that you have to play, no?
Q. Did you feel special memories on the court, Here I got the trophy, or, Here I lie on my back?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have enough work to think about two years ago. When I go on court, I think about the opponent and about play my best tennis. No, I don't have time to think about another things, no.
Q. What did you think of Spain last night?
RAFAEL NADAL: Much better, I think. Well, much better. I think the first day we had probably not our best match. But we didn't play bad. And we lost, no? We were, I think, very unlucky.
Q. Did you watch Roger's game yesterday?
RAFAEL NADAL: For moments. Not all the match.
Q. What did you think?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it was close, so... Sure, always the first round I tell you is very difficult. Normally for him are easier than for the rest of the other players because he plays like his normal tennis here on grass. He needs to adapt his game less than the rest of the players.
But Falla is a great player. Well, he had his chance. I think he wasn't play his best tennis in the moment that he need to play his best tennis to win. You know, you play against probably the best of the history on this surface, and for sure going to be a very important win for his confidence, I think.
Q. Which one of his records do you think is his most impressive?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every one. Every one is amazing. If I have to say something, 23 semifinals in a row of Grand Slam.
RAFAEL NADAL: Because is five years, almost six years, playing all four Grand Slams. You can have no one injury, no one bad day, so is amazing. That's my feeling, no? So 23 semifinals in a row, in my opinion, impossible to do it another time.
Q. John McEnroe was saying if you stay fit, he thinks you can get 12 or 13 Grand Slams, if not more.
RAFAEL NADAL: I have seven. Thank you to John. I have seven. I play Robir Haase the next round. I will see when I finish my career, no? I am very happy to have seven. That's more than what I dreamed a few years ago.
So, sure, for me I feel very lucky to be here another time. And to have seven Grand Slams already at home, keep fighting to play well. If I still playing well, if I still improving my tennis, I think I hope have more chances to win.
But the important thing always is the same: have enough motivation to keep improving, enough illusion to go every day when you wake up on court and practice at your hundred percent. That's the way. That's what I did all my life. I hope to keep doing for a long time. If not, I don't gonna have a lot of chances. Is very difficult to win every Grand Slam.
Q. You said the win today was the condition to play in front of the Queen on Thursday. You will be in front of her on Thursday. Is it a pressure or an extra motivation?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, believe me, just for me, is just can say a pleasure to have the Queen here in Wimbledon. That's very good for the sport. And for me is not an extra pression, for sure. For me, just an honor watch the Queen in the Royal Box. So I would love to have the chance to say hello to her, but that's it (smiling). That's it.
Q. You spoke about what you felt was Roger's most amazing record. Of your tremendous accomplishments, what do you think your best achievement is?
RAFAEL NADAL: 81 matches straight on clay. That's a lot.
Q. In a certain way is that showing consistency, day in, day out being able to raise your game even under bad conditions? Is that why you're proud of it?
RAFAEL NADAL: The 81?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that's the most impressive of my record, this one. Because, you know, in a lot of matches you have difficult moments. And not all the tournaments, not all the matches you are playing well. That's for sure. And you still winning. You still winning very difficult matches.
81 is a lot. A lot of days finish the match with the victory. And for me, that's, well, very difficult to repeat, too.
Q. What was the moment that came closest to losing to break that streak? Did you have one moment where you were close to having that streak broken?
RAFAEL NADAL: In this 81?
RAFAEL NADAL: During this 81, I have matches close to lose?
Q. Which was the most?
RAFAEL NADAL: Lot. 3 0, 40 15, double break against Coria in the fifth set of Rome. Against Niemenen in Barcelona I have 6 4, 4 1. Against Roger in Rome, 4 1 in the fifth, 6 5 or 5 4, 15 40. So two match points.