Current World No. 1 Rafael Nadal spoke to the press today in Madrid, here’s the interview which comes from Nadal’s website and seems to be translated from Spanish.
Q: Hello Rafa can you tell us a little bit of what you did since Barcelona or if you had a day off or if you practiced very hard each day? What was your planning between Barcelona and here
A: I went back to Mallorca that Sunday after the final, had 3 days off; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. This year I played Barcelona so I needed a few days off more than usual because the season/weather is very hot so I had 3 days off golfing in Mallorca with friends and practicing physical performance but not tennis and begin with family friends and then I arrived here Wednesday afternoon and since Thursday I’ve been practicing every day.
Q: This year in the Godó, it was full due to your presence everyday, I hear Madrid expects the same? The fact of playing in Spain and the “Nadalmania”, does it generate any pressure for you?
A: Not really after so many years it doesn’t generate so much pressure playing in Spain. Its always a good feeling to play in front of your people, I have all my supporters and everyone is here with me. Its a real pleasure for me to compete here in front of the Spanish audience. The objectives are all the same in all the tournaments and the pressure doesn’t change.
Q: The draw has been a bit bad because Cilic, Feliciano can come out, but you in Madrid you are like in your house, despite the altitude nor lowereness.
A: Well there is altitude and that’s always a bit more dangerous, that’s a fact. But the draw wasn’t very good, it was a bit negative but one week gets better, the next worse. So you’ve got to play, and you think the draw is really bad but actually it isn’t that bad sometimes. Other times it can actually seem to be a good draw and then it´s not that good. I’ve got to play all my matches and obviously I have a difficult draw, I have to play my best on my level on a tournament like this one where the best players in the world are. You cannot ask for an easy draw because its complicated for it to happen. Its not impossible but very common. So this week is a bit complicated for me but tennis is this way and I need to get over it.
Q: Talking still about the draw Rafa, obviously won our team very early on Roger, possible the semi’s and them we remember the incredible semi finals you had with Novak for 4 hours a couple
years ago so certainly not easy.
A: That’s what they say, no certainly not easy but lets focus on the first round. That’s the most important for me now Baghdatis is the qualifier I think and hes a fantastic player and if he is the qualifier its gonna be difficult too but the conditions here are not easy and they came after after winning 2 good matches because the qualifiers here are fantastic players so lets be focused on the third round, we will see later about the draw.
Q: Who is the opponent that can give you more problems on clay here and also how are you adjusting to the height difference here? What do you think will be more complicated?
A: There is no problem with the height except for that there is a difference here. It just makes the matches a little bit more out of control. For rival there no easy rival. We have the best 48 of the world here. The most complicated rival is the one I have on the first round because I won’t have another one. I am just focused, day after day and the other rivals are complicated when you go out there and compete in tournaments like this one. From the first day if you don’t win, you are out. With respect to both things that can happen well to focus is the most important. The challenge is to play well and to get over these circumstances that I have.
Q: Two questions: How do you see the conditions on the court, are you more at ease than last year with relation to the clay courts? And between Djokovic and Federer, Djokovic said yesterday
that he could be number one by the end of the year. Its going to be difficult now but hes going to try. Who do you see will hold this position now?
A: I don’t know, I have no idea. I’ve been training quite well. I like the courts, they’re adequate, there are always problems that generate when making a clay court at the last minute. I understood that the Basketball team of Madrid played here a few days ago so obviously to transform the court to a clay tennis court and make it hard again, its normal that the clay moves a bit I know its difficult. It takes longer than usual to fix but I think they have done a good job. And as for Federer and Djokovic , I don’t know, thinking about myself, I don’t know who will be number one by the end of the year, but I hope to be at least one of their rivals. It would be a very good sign, I know that they are both going to be on the top fighting hard for the most important things. I hope to be there as well
and we will see what happens.
Q: Rafa do you think play and win 2 masters 1000 in a row in 2 weeks like Madrid and Rome, do you think its the most or one of the most difficult challenges of the year?
A: I see a lot of very difficult challenges in the year so I don’t know if that the most difficult of the year, maybe in the past. Not in a row right, not enough fit! I think its difficult for sure but especially if here to Rome or Rome to here because the conditions change but doesn’t make a big difference than if you play Monte Carlo and Barcelona next week. The biggest difference is that you have the altitude here and in Rome you don’t have this problem. The important thing is that if you have a very tough first tournament and you have a second tournament, but if you have an average first tournament, why not, you can play well in both tournaments. I don’t talk about winning because beating anyone is very difficult. To win a Masters 1000 series everyone knows how difficult it is. The first rounds are more difficult than the grand slams because you have to play the best from the beginning. I don’t know if its easier to loose in these kinds of tournaments than the Grand Slams because its 5 sets. I think every tournament is very difficult but these Master Slams are especially difficult.
Q: Rafa what do you find more tiring, playing in the Master Series or the Open? Because you get more rest in the Open, you get a day off in between.
A: No when you play 5 sets your always more tired but at the same time you have every other day off so it depends how long the matches are and how difficult they are.
Q: We are going to get off topic here a bit but do you think on Tuesday Real Madrid will win ? Do you think there will be some miracles here, in tennis you have made some miracles. Are you going
to follow the match?
A: Of course I’m going to follow the match, I’m a supporter of futbol above everything and a match like that possibilities well I I’ not going to loose it. And possibilities, I don’t think it has to be a miracle for Madrid to pass but the situation is quite complicated. As a sportsman when you go out there and compete in a competition as important as the Champions’ league, you go out to die and to try your best. Even though the result is quite bad for Madrid and better for Barça I think both think that any action can change the score of the match. If everything is OK and if its a good match anything can happen, but its complicated.
Q: Its been almost 2 years since you’ve lost a match on clay. You must have immense confidence every time you step onto a clay court.
A: I don’t think that when I go onto a clay court. Every match is tough and my feeling when I go onto a clay court doesn’t change a lot. I know its not forever, what happened in the past and I don’t know how I started so I don’t know when this unbelievable yr is going to stop. I always try to be focused everyday, try my best, fight every ball and accept its impossible to win everyday.
Q: The growth of Djokovic in this first month of the season from previous years, he won in the Worlds, in Miami, Italy can u analyze the difference between Djokovic 2 years ago and him now?
A: Well in 2 months you cannot evolve a lot, its impossible. And secondly, it can happen when u are very young and your moving up. When you are a player like Djokovic and you’ve been here a while there are no miracle. In 2 months you are not another type of player but Djokovic was already a really good player last year and the previous one. Hes playing very well, I think its more of a confidence things, hes moving better than before and from my point of view he’s playing a bit more aggressive then before, I don’t know if this is good or bad but its going well for him now. Lets see in the long term. He’s a very spectacular player, now hes winning, we all know the potential he has. My congratulations to him for what hes doing which is
spectacular without any doubts. Especially for having gone months without playing, it can be very difficult and hes doing it, he’s achieving it.
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