After a controversial week in Madrid, Rafael Nadal met the press at the Rome Tennis Masters on Monday. Nadal, who lost the 2011 final to rival Novak Djokovic, discussed a wide range of topics including his fishing, the blue courts last week in Madrid and his ranking/seeding thoughts.
Nadal will play Florian Mayer in his first match.
His unedited transcript from Rome below:
Q: Rafa, how was your fishing day the other day.
NADAL: Good. I had a day off in Majorca the other day. My first feeling after the match was to come to Rome to the next day but after talking to the people around me we decided to come home for some days and spend some time with my sister. She lives in Barcelona and I don’t have a lot of time to see her so I spent some time with her and with my family and fishing on Friday morning early. Being in the middle of the sea with fantastic weather and I was able to swim a little and so it was fantastic for me.
Q: What do you expect form your fishing week here in Rome?
NADAL: Just the same. Try my best – try to play my best and if I am able to do it then I will have the chance to have a good result…..but just to do the same and try to play like I did in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and we got back to normal conditions and that makes the ….. readapt to play and I have 3 practices in the clay – once in Majorca and yesterday here — today is was very windy and difficult to practice but the feeling is there and I am happy how I am playing.
NADAL: I didn’t understand nothing.
Q: Do you compare your opponent to a type of fish.
NADAL: A lot of history about my fishing day. The fishes are there – I cannot see nobody when I am there – and I can see the opponent – it is a different history – I don’t understand rivals – we are here in the same tour and we are colleagues and we have to play against each other and I try my best to compete and beat as many as I can.
Q: Before coming here – you met Novak – did you talk to him about soccer or about the blue clay the other day.
NADAL: We have always a good relationship with each other. We always talk about things but when I talk about someone I don’t say what I talk about …. The blue clay is past and I said what I had to say in Madrid about my feelings about that. My feelings are there .—– my goal now is Roma and I don’t think about blue clay I think of Roland Garros. I lost and I didn’t have the level that I needed to win. I am here in Rome and it is one of my favourite tournaments and I love playing here – I always have a fantastic feeling playing here I love the crown and its always a big emotion to come back to this fantastic place – I am motivated to play my best.
Q: We has such a fantastic final with yourself and Novak..
NADAL: For him
Q: Well, it was a great match to watch.
NADAL: Well, 64 64 – it wasn’t such a great match to watch.
Q: I’d like to know what you have to do to beat Novak or whoever you might have if you want to win this time.
NADAL: I will think about Mayer – I lost him in Shanghai last year and so let me think about the first round. It is stupid to think about the final now –I don’t know any tournament that starts with the final. You know – here we are in a Masters 1000 and so you have a lot of good players and every point is difficult but I will try my best since the first round and if I am able to play my best I will go to the final.
Q: Given that the conditions were so different last week, was it that Federer was able to adapt better that a lot of players and does this show how the conditions can affect a tournament.
NADAL: I said before about last week – its over and I think about Rome ……..Federer is a fantastic player – probably the best in history and probably the best to adapt to every court but that is the sport and tennis… That is the real thing and the problem is not to adapt to the court but the conditions have to be similar to every court. If we think about changing the balls to play every tournament with the same balls for the clay court season and then this is possible but then we play on different courts. How strange is that. I don’t know why we are talking about the tournament. I want to congratulate Roger and that’s it.
Q: Now with the Olympics, you are the only current player to have a gold in the singles. Would it be particularly special to win another at Wimbledon.
NADAL: No – Wimbledon aren’t an Olympics.
Q: No, I wasn’t going to say. Would the gold medal be more of a priority that winning another Grand Slam.
NADAL: I am thinking of Rome now and that is the real thing. Every tournament is very important. Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics and to win any of these is fantastic and so I cannot say I prefer the Olympics so Wimbledon and I will be there and try my best in every moment and have the right result to compete then this will be a dear form. Wimbledon is difficult because you play the best of five sets and you play on a surface where sometimes the match is decided in a few balls – you can imagine how I will be playing the best of thee in the Olympics. It is the perfect tournament for surprises and for perfect scores and so it is going to be a big challenge for everyone. The Olympics are probably the most important event is sport – in tennis we are lucky to have a fantastic tour – Olympics are probably the most difficult event to win for a tennis play. When you start your career you can probably have one change or two change to win the Olympics – you can have three but you have a very long career and the timing has to be good. This is why it is difficult and I am lucky to have won.
Q: Is it important to get into second place before Roland Garros.
NADAL: I don’t know how things are in the race. I know I am 100 points behind Roger with is like 500 points or 550 behind Novak. My positions not bad – I had a good start of the season – 2 or 3 hard matches – the final in Australia – that made a big decision with 100 points and semi finals in Miami I didn’t play for an injury of the knee and last week with the conditions. That is a tournament which is usually a favourite for my game. That is why I am number 3 in the race and not number 2. I am happy I am in Rome to keep playing as I play – to arrive with number 2 or 3 isn’t going to change my game. If you are number 2 or 3 then that doesn’t change. You just have to win. You have to win in the semi finals – even if you are number 2 or 3 doesn’t make a big difference and I want to keep playing and end the clay court season and start the grass court season.
Q: Rafa – you seem to track the rankings. You seem to know what points you have and what the other players have. Do also the other players do this?
NADAL: I think everybody follows. I don’t know much about the entry – seriously but the race says what you have been doing during the season. When I start the season in January I see it like a league – a soccer league – you start and then you finish and the entry is there bit the race is when you know how you are doing – but the race is the real points that you are playing …. That is the real thing that I follow. You start from zero and you finish at number 6 or number 5 and then you come back to zero again, that is my way of seeing sport.
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