Rafael Nadal Interview - US Open, Sept 5Posted on September 5, 2010
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Are you feeling better about this place? You haven't done really too well here.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I did two semifinals in the past.
Q. Oh, yeas. That's not bad.
RAFAEL NADAL: For me that's not bad. (Laughter.)
Well, I think I am playing better, a little bit better, every day. So today was a solid match, I think. The serve is still good, so that's a very important thing.
From the baseline, I think my movements and my shots start improve, to be better every day.
Q. I'm writing a book on Marcelo Rios. Do you have any memory? Talk about him a little bit.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry, but I wasn't on the tour when he was on the tour.
Q. What about the way he played.
RAFAEL NADAL: If I say you something I gonna say some lies, because I didn't remember. So is better not say nothing.
Q. The improvements we're seeing in your serve, is this a result of a change in your technique or your motion, or is it more a matter of confidence and attitude?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, seriously, I wasn't serve -- I didn't serve very well in the previous tournaments. But I started to serve well the week before the tournament, a few days before the tournament start.
I changed a little bit the grip, but that's all.
Q. You haven't had a five-set match here yet, but you are 14-3 in fifth sets. Why do you think you're so good in them?
RAFAEL NADAL: 14-3? I don't know. (Laughter.) Every match is different. I don't know. The important thing is when you are in the fifth set, first thing be healthy, be in good form physically.
And second thing is be in the right position mentally, no? So that's the thing, the more important thing.
Q. Do you like best-of-five over best-of-three?
RAFAEL NADAL: Different. I don't know. I think for the Grand Slams is okay best-of-five. But, for example, for the other tournaments I think is better best-of-three. Because if not, gonna be an unbelievable season.
For example, for the Davis Cup, I think that can be a change, because three sets gonna be easier for all the players.
Q. Pete Sampras always said that Andre Agassi raised the level of his game and made him a better player. Do you feel that way a little bit about Roger, too? Does he raise your game more than any of the other players?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know if that was the right thing. But for sure if you have in front of you unbelievable player like Roger.
You know, for me the most important thing for me to copy of Roger, I think when he started to be No. 1, he always improves. So after two years being No. 1, he was better player than before. I think he improved during all his career. That's very important thing.
For me, that's something that I really need to do, too, no? So if I want to be here more years - I already have six in the top two - I was for the last six years in the top 2 because I always improved, too. That's my feeling.
And if not, well, you always lose something, maybe lose a little bit more the inspiration than when you start. So you have to work in other things. If you lose something for one part you have to improve for another part. So that's it.
Q. How much do you think about the importance of adding this slam to your résumé? How much do you think about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I think about the practice of tomorrow. If I say the serious thing, is that. That's the true. Is very far, the victory of this tournament.
I am in fourth round. That's good news for me - without losing a set - but remains a lot.
I am happy where I am, but is only fourth round.
Q. What parts of Roger's game has he improved over the past few years? What parts of your game have you improved?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, when I played against him in Miami 2003 and when I played against him another time, 2006, 2007, I think his serve improved a lot, his backhand improved a lot.
So that's probably for that reason he was the No. 1 for a long, long time.
Q. It's harder to take advantage of his backhand now?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, because I didn't play him for - only one time in Madrid this year, no?
But I am not speaking in that way. I think the way that I speaking is for all the players probably when in 2003 he was very good. But anyway, everybody says he always had not very good backhand. But after that, he starts to improve and improve the backhand, having amazing slice backhand, very good topspin backhand, too.
So for sure every time is more difficult to play against his backhand, because he always try to find a solution with the slice, going to the net. So for sure he is always better and better.
Q. Simon said he was pretty anxious to get back to France to see his newborn son. Could you tell that he mentally checked out in the third set because he wanted to leave? What did you say to him at the net in the end?
RAFAEL NADAL: I just congratulate him because he is father now. For sure is good for him to come back home and see the son and everything. That's for sure gonna be nice for him. Just congratulate him for that.
Q. There was a report this afternoon that the other day you didn't want to take one of the transportation vans that had a picture of Roger. Can you describe what happened?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, well, if you know me, you know that I not gonna do. This is very stupid thing. I was in a van of the picture of Roger, both sides of the van, like 15 times these two weeks. (Smiling). So that's very stupid thing. That's never happen.
Speaking seriously, is better the other side. I want this car because is bigger, and I am more comfortable with this car than with the others. You can see the car of Roger's photo is there, is outside, is a van. So is much bigger than the other ones.
Roy know, the manager of the transportation, that I always want this car. So it was good.
Q. Did you get out of that car that had his picture or you stayed in it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I thought my English was better. (Laughter.)
I said I went with this car 15 times.
Q. Did you say you thought Davis Cup should be reduced to best-of-three?
RAFAEL NADAL: That's what I say before. For me, the Davis Cup is always too much for the players because is every year. That's something that maybe can change in the future.
But at the same time, for the players have three sets and not five can help a little bit for all the players.
Q. So far four Spanish people made it into the next round. Tommy still has a chance. Looks a little bit like Spanish Open.
RAFAEL NADAL: Already one Spanish player going to be in semifinals. That is positive news for us. Especially is very positive because I think, for the ball and for the court, is probably the most difficult tournament for us, no? So that is very important news for the Spanish tennis.
Just congratulate my friends. Best of luck for everybody.
Q. Why is this court the most difficult for you personally, and how have you begun to overcome that?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, the ball. Not the court, the ball. The ball is softer than the rest of the balls of the tour. Is the ball that is getting less topspin. The ball stays lower than the other ones.
But I won Olympics with that ball. Seems like is not impossible for me to play with this ball, no? I did two semifinals. I won in Beijing 2008. But if I have to say something for me to change to play this tournament, gonna be the ball.
Q. So how confident are you at this point with that ball on this surface without having a US Open championship before?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe the same like when I was in fourth round. Happy to be in fourth round. For sure, the important thing for me is I played better today than two days ago; and two days ago I played better than five or six days ago.
So that's always important, and very good news be improving during the tournament. So that's what I did, and I need to keep improving if I want to have chances.
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