Rafael Nadal Interview - US Open, Aug 31

Posted on September 1, 2010

Rafael Nadal Interview
US Open - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you prefer to have a night like tonight to start a tournament: a very difficult match to get under your belt? Or would you rather play for an hour and 10 minutes and get it over with?

RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer play one hour and 10 minutes. Win easier, no? Everybody wants win easier. That's no excuse about that, no?

I think that no one wins easy, no? Roger did last night. Djokovic, very tough match today. Soderling five sets win yesterday.

So no one match is easy, especially in a big tournaments, no? The pressure's there. You play against players that they don't have much to lose, so they play aggressive. This is difficult to stop.

I had a difficult match, but I think I did play well.

Q. Did you feel like you played well other than the serve? Were you happy with all the parts of your game?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, my serve worked very well tonight. There have been a few aspects. The concentration was high all the time. The forehand is working well. The backhand is not that bad that I had last weeks. So improves a little bit. Just remains a little bit of this confidence to have a little bit more, you know, to improve a little bit that level, to go to the next step.

That's the only thing for me, to remain, to play with a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more calm. The basic things I think are in the really right way.

Q. You said on court you know you have to serve well to win here. Have you been working on that a lot this summer?

RAFAEL NADAL: All my life I worked a lot on my serve (smiling). Not this summer, no; all my life.

Q. When you go out in a first‑round match against a guy who could be dangerous, do you say, I don't want to play too crazy because maybe I can get into a bad situation, so maybe I'll play a little more safe and see what happens?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, is difficult go first round and play crazy and play aggressive and play like if you are playing the final, no, because you need this confidence during all the tournament to play like you do in one final, no?

So you go on court. I know Gabashvili very well. You go on court knowing he gonna play aggressive. He gonna go for the big shots. So I just tried before the match to think that I have to play regular all the time. I have to be very focused on my serve and I gonna have chances on the return in a few moments, no?

If I gonna be well with my serve, on the return for sure I gonna have my chances. I had, and I had a few terrible mistakes with the breakpoints. So I went for two tiebreaks. Is important for the confidence. I played well the two tiebreaks, I think.

Q. You were hitting 130 miles an hour on your serve. Is there a change on your serve, or it had to do with the conditions or what?

RAFAEL NADAL: And wait. Wait for the next one, I going for 135 (smiling).

No, I am trying to serve a little bit more like Wimbledon because the ball here is very soft. Is not getting a lot of topspin. I try to play a little bit more flat. And for that reason, I am serving faster, I think. That's it.

Q. Talk about playing Istomin. He's played pretty well the last few weeks.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he's playing well. He had a very good tournament in New Haven. Yeah, sure is difficult opponent, good player. I played against him in the second round of Queen's. I had a very difficult match, 7‑6 in the third ‑‑ 7‑5 in the third.

Well, is really close than the match of today, I think. But he plays a little bit more calm than Gabashvili. So, I don't know, I just have to keep playing like I did today, a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more confidence. That's it.

Q. Are you as comfortable at this Grand Slam as you are at the others?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is the more difficult for me, especially I think because the ball. The ball is the more difficult thing for me because the ball I think is more easy to play that ball for the players when they have the flat shots, no? That's much easier for them than for the topspin players. That's the only thing.

But I won Olympics with this ball. I won in Beijing in 2005 with this ball. I can do it.

Q. You're about ready to unveil your new, big, flat forehand?

RAFAEL NADAL: That's almost impossible. The thing is play with topspin, but play very aggressive all the time, play with very high rhythm. That's the way.

Q. There's a doubles player here who is playing with a two‑handled racquet.

RAFAEL NADAL: I met him.

Q. Does that strike you as crazy?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me, yes (smiling). For me, yes. For me is no reason to play like this, yeah. Is add the complication on the game, you know.
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