In a press conference today, ATP World No. 1 Rafael Nadal said that winning a calendar Slam – something that hasn’t been done since Rod Laver – is impossible.
“I hope to have the chances to win four titles next year, no? I know you are talking about the Grand Slam,” Nadal told the press today at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. “For me, that is impossible. But I will try to keep playing well and to try to win four titles next year. But the Grand Slam is not the case. That’s for sure impossible, I think.”
I don’t think it’s possible either. Nadal has won the last three Slams so he’d have to win seven straight to pull that off!
Nadal also said that he’s healthy though mentally tiring and he understands the complexities with the length of the tour season.
Nadal plays tomorrow against Stanislas Wawrinka.
Here’s the rest of the press conference and his video interview.
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. How do you feel physically? Are you very tired, all these trips and games and matches played? How have you recovered?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am fine. Physically I don’t have any problem. I’m lucky for the moment.
Mentally, you know, the season is always the same, no? When you are in this part of the season, seems like is never gonna end. But that’s our sport. I am fine.
I probably am a little bit more tired mentally than a few months ago. But the victory of last week was very important for me.
Remain three tournaments for me. Last effort, last try to be as good as I can in the last three tournaments of the year. After keep practicing for next season. That’s it (smiling).
Q. Is today the national day of Spain?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yesterday, yeah.
Q. Did you do anything to celebrate? Is it an important holiday in Spain?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I was here, no? I practiced a little bit. Not a lot of things. Not a big celebration.
Q. When you are feeling a little tired at this stage of the season, how important is it for the atmosphere, the same as you had in Japan, and are bound to get in China, the fact you have so many supporters and fans in the two countries?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s good. That’s always a very nice feeling. Bangkok was amazing for me two weeks ago. Probably is one of the tournaments that when I went I felt I really had to win here. I was playing well. I had too many chances. The crowd was fantastic with me. The people waiting me at the hotel in Bangkok, in Tokyo last week, and here too.
Everything is important. When you see that people supporting you like this, that’s give you more power to keep working hard and to try to do it a little bit more, no?
But, yeah, the season is long. I’m fine. I’m happy to be here and happy to be healthy. For sure, I’m more than happy how the season goes, no?
Now remain the last three tournaments. Sure is more tired every day, practice every day, the concentration to prepare the match than probably the match, because the motivation, the feeling when you go on court, full stadiums, these things, everything is easier.
Q. You always say that the latter part of the season is the toughest part for you. Maybe you’re more tired, physical reasons, especially compared to the last couple of years. This year you’ve been doing very well. You won the US Open. Now you won the Japan championship. What was the key this year and what do you expect yourself to do for the rest of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it’s true, normally I am a little bit more tired than usual. But is because I played probably sometimes more matches than the rest, no? This year I played a lot, but I had my breaks during the season, too.
But you can be tired or you can be no tired. But finally, if you are playing well, you have chances to win. If you are playing bad, you have less chances, no? That’s true, if you are less tired, you have more chances to be playing well than not.
But, you know, probably this year, the same time I played very well almost all the year. I was healthy. I am with more confidence than before, no? So that’s why I am keep playing well in the last part of the season.
But I have to try my best here, try to go to the limit in this tournament. I know tomorrow I gonna have a very difficult start against Wawrinka. So try my best in this tournament and we will see what happen later because after this tournament, the last two tournaments of the year are the more difficult ones for me. When you playing indoor, the ball is like that. It’s not like here, the ball have life. That’s the most difficult thing for me.
Q. As we know, this year is a fantastic season for you now. You captured three out of the four Grand Slam titles. You secured your yearend No. 1 early. Share some experience about your performance this year. How did you do that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Always, well, is difficult to explain. But probably I was able to be almost all the time at my hundred percent because last year and the beginning of this was difficult and hard for me, you know. So maybe for that reason I was able to push hard in all the tournaments, play with my hundred percent of motivation and trying my hundred percent in every moment because you know when you have some difficult moments, how difficult is to win.
If you are winning, you want to keep winning because you never know when this gonna stop. So you have to do your best. When you are healthy, you have to enjoy the moments when you can because, for sure, gonna come back the difficult moments, no?
Q. Maybe for next year, fans ask about the four.
RAFAEL NADAL: The four what?
Q. The four titles next year.
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope to have the chances to win four titles next year, no? I know you are talking about the Grand Slam. For me, that is impossible. But I will try to keep playing well and to try to win four titles next year.
But the Grand Slam is not the case. That’s for sure impossible, I think.
Q. You’re a very important person now, you and Roger, on the Players Council. You make decisions. If you had Adam Helfant job, how many months off would you give the tour in between the end of the Masters and the start of the next season? How many months off would you like?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I am Adam Helfant, I think I can’t. I don’t going to do more things than what he is doing because is impossible, no? If you see about the players’ part, the thing can be a lot of different situation. But if we see from the other side, from the tournament part, maybe we gonna have less weeks off, no?
Is difficult. Is difficult job for the president of ATP because players and tournaments are together. The ATP, the players and tournaments, this is difficult to make the decision when so many interests are far away from both sides, no?
I think Adam is doing a great job. He knows the season is too long. But even for some players, maybe not for the top players, but for other players, they prefer play during all the season because they have more chances to keep winning money and to keep playing.
The ATP is not only the top 10 players. There are a lot of important players on the tour, not only the top 10. I always say the same: for me the perfect schedule is if you have the chance to play and you have the chance to not play. For example, my feeling always was and everybody knows that because I say it in the council a lot of times after US Open you can play here in Asia for two weeks or three weeks maximum. You play the Masters and that’s it. That’s it for the season.
You can keep having tournaments if you want until the 30th of December, but not 1000 tournament and 500 tournament because this make too much difference on the points, too much difference on the rankings. If you want to be in the top, you have to play. But if you have the chance to choose, I was injury, I was not playing that well, I didn’t play a lot of matches, I want to play for the rest of the season 250s, you can play. But if you want to stop, you can stop.
Everybody can be happy. The tournaments can be happy about that. The players must be happy because probably not outside of top 10 players, if they want to keep playing, they going to have chances to keep playing for money and keep playing for points. If the top want to play, if they want to stop, that doesn’t gonna make big difference on the ranking.
But is not easy. Everybody thinks similar than me, but at the same time a lot of people thinks that can be a good solution, but at the same time is very difficult to make changes on the ATP. I know where we are working now, Novak, probably Federer, me and other guys who are on the council, we are working for the next generation, not for us, no? When these changes can start probably don’t gonna make a big difference on our career. But maybe for the next generation can be better, I will be happy for that.
Q. In the US Open, the Spanish players had a very wonderful performance. In recent years, Spanish tennis also got great achievements. In your opinion, what is the reason for your success, Spanish tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: Spanish tennis? For a lot of years we are there. We are a lot of players in the top hundred, a lot of players in top position. Maybe because in Spain always is a little bit of everything: a little bit of lucky, we have the right weather to play tennis in Spain, and we have a lot of tradition, a lot of academies, a lot of people working around the tennis.
It’s true, we don’t have a very rich Federation like another ones, but probably we have another things. Probably the money doesn’t make the big players. But the illusion and motivation to work, maybe yes. Maybe that’s why for the last 20 years we were there, no?
Q. You mentioned you thought the Slam was impossible. Do you look back to Melbourne now and think what might have been but for injury this year, if you’d been able to complete that tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe I gonna lose that match against Andy Murray in that moment. That’s what I think, no? I was playing enough well to win the match, but I didn’t have enough calm to win the match. So that’s what I think.
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