Rafael Nadal Interview: “First Goal is Qualification for London Next Year” [Video]
Rafael Nadal was his gracious self following a tough loss yesterday to Roger Federer in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Below you’ll find Nadal’s post match presser and video from his ATP interview. In it, you’ll hear from Rafa on his WTF tournament, his season and his thoughts on 2011.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Could you give us your thoughts on today’s final.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he played unbelievable. I think in the beginning was unplayable I think this first set. I still having chances in the second, and the beginning of the third, so-so.
But, anyway, my though is he played better than me, he beat me. I just can congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him. He played unbelievable during all the week without losing a set, being in the final. So his level was very high.
I try my best this afternoon, but he was better than me.
Q. Yesterday almost nobody believed that you were tired, because you’re never tired, but today you seemed to be tired. You were a little slow. Did you feel that in your legs, apart from Federer playing well, or not?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is not the right moment to talk about that. The thing is everybody saw the match of yesterday, so everybody’s free to think his own opinion.
But I don’t gonna say I lost the match because I was tired. What I gonna say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer in one of his favorite surfaces. And when he’s playing like this, is very difficult to stop him, no?
I had little bit chances. I was there, but wasn’t enough.
Q. On what level did you find it difficult or the most difficult, most demanding, to play against Roger today? Was it on the physical, tactical, or mental level?
RAFAEL NADAL: He played very aggressive. He played great. His serve was good, with good percentage outside in the important moments, wide in the deuce. The forehand was unbelievable. And he was playing really well with the backhand, too, no?
Was difficult to play because he played very close to the baseline, going to the net. He tried to don’t play very long points from the baseline, no? He’s trying to play inside and play very aggressive. He did well, no? So everything. Roger is probably the more complete player of the world.
When he’s playing well, is difficult to find solutions. But for the moment, I found it. I am happy about my match of this afternoon if we think about the global conditions. Was very difficult final for me. I still won a set. So in general I’m very happy about this afternoon.
But I am more happy about all the week. Was a fantastic week for me. Four top-8 players in the same week in a difficult surface for me. So I think never happen that in the past. So that’s very good new for me.
Q. How has your rivalry and your relationship with Roger changed over the years?
RAFAEL NADAL: All the time? Another time you want to know?
I think everybody knows about our relationship, no? We have a great relationship all the time, no? Our relationship didn’t change a lot since the beginning because was all the time very respectful. The only way the relationship can improve is being closer and closer because we spend more time together, always being in the council, being on court, playing exhibitions together.
Right now we going to have these exhibitions in December, one in Zurich for his foundation, one in Madrid for my foundation.
So I think is not a rivalry. We were playing lot of important moments together. So I think that’s makes something like (speaking in Spanish).
THE MODERATOR: All these moments in tennis makes you appreciate it more.
RAFAEL NADAL: We never had any problem in all of our careers. So being a lot of hours on court, a lot of tension moments, never had a problem. I think that’s not easy. That says that we always had a really good relationship, no?
Q. Can you tell us what you’ll be doing over the next three or four weeks until you play those charity matches.
RAFAEL NADAL: This week I gonna work with the sponsors. I have to do some TV spots. So I have to work almost every day, tomorrow till next Monday. So that’s going to be my holidays (laughter).
After that, practice. I gonna start to practice next Monday. Practice as good as I can to be ready for January. That’s what I gonna try, try to repeat the same like last year, that I practiced all well in December and I arrived to the beginning of the season with very high level, but without calm to don’t win in a long time.
My opinion now, if I arrive with the same level like last year in the beginning of the season, the situation can change, because the calm going to be there after this probably more emotional and good season of my career, no?
Q. This is a time when we’re all perhaps a little tired, but we all like to reflect on the year that’s gone by. What would you say were the images that most come to your mind when you reflect on 2010?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everything, no? Was a lot of important moments for me during all the season. I think was a very emotional season, no? Was difficult for moments in the beginning, but after a tough time probably, because I had this difficult time, I was able to play with ambition all the season, no? All the time trying to convert the options, the chances to win and keep winning and keep playing well because when you spend 11 months without a victory, when you pass some difficult moments, you really know how difficult is win a tournaments, how difficult is be there, how difficult is be competitive every week.
So when you are there another time, for me the only thing that I was thinking all the time is, Be focused, don’t lose this dynamic, don’t lose this level, no, because with this level I was feeling I have chances to win in every tournament, no?
In general, was fantastic, no? For me the first two tournaments of the year — well, first one was Abu Dhabi. Was an exhibition, but everybody wants to play well there. Was fantastic level. In Doha was probably one of the best sets of my career, the first set against Davydenko. So after that I say, Well, I am here. I am playing well another time. I am ready to try to win and compete for the important titles another time.
It happened. Was very hard, very difficult to accept for me the Australian Open injury another time. But I was lucky because I had to stop three weeks, but after that I arrived to Indian Wells and Miami with another time a very high level. That was the key of the season: feel that I was playing really well, but don’t win.
So when I started to win the first time, first tournament in Monte-Carlo, everything was more easier, no, because I pulled out all the pressure, all this anxiety. After that I started to play really well. Roland Garros, without losing a set. Wimbledon, very difficult Wimbledon victory, with so many difficult matches, but finally the win. And the US Open the same, no? Don’t lose a set before the final.
You must be playing really well to be in two Grand Slam finals without losing a set, no? So in general was a very emotional season for me. I am very happy for everything and just can say thank you very much all the people that support me all the time when I had the difficult moments, when I was winning, all the sponsor that keep having confidence in me, and everybody was seriously really fantastic with me last year.
Q. Obviously you wanted to win this tournament, but you can’t complain because this season was absolutely fantastic. Next season you’re going to have to work a lot on how you’re going to deal with expectations. I know Roger is still there. A lot of the eyes are going to be towards you. A lot of people will think, Is he going to repeat what he’s done this season? How are you going to handle this, work mentally to prepare yourself for what’s going to come?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is not the first season of my career. Going to be right now six seasons being in the top two of the ranking. So for me doesn’t make any differences if I won three Grand Slams this year or if I won one or two. It happened in the past.
When I start the season, everything starts. You know, I don’t think if I have to defend 100,000 points or if I have to defend 1,000 points, no?
In Australia or in Doha when I start the season, I have zero points. So we start from there. First goal is qualification for London next year, and after we will see. For me, every day and every season start, and I gonna work to be ready and be competitive to try to be in the top positions and to compete to keep winning titles.
But the pression for me gonna be the same. When I go to the tournament, going to be the same pression for me to play in Australia than to play in the US Open, doesn’t mean if I have to defend 2,000 points or 350 points, because the goal is the same, try to play well, try to compete against everybody, and try to be in the final rounds.
Here’s the Nadal video interview:
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