Rafael Nadal met the press today to discuss his opponent tomorrow in the French Open final.
Here’s what Nadal had to say about Novak Djokovic, his chances and the match:
Q. There are a lot of talk about the weather tomorrow, that maybe it is going to rain all day, and the final could be moved to Monday. Have you been said anything about it? What do you think?
RAFAEL NADAL: What I can think? What can I think? If rains, rains, then we play Monday. That’s all.
Q. Nobody told you anything already?
RAFAEL NADAL: I heard things, that there is chances to rain. But I cannot think about that. I have to think that I gonna play tomorrow and be focused for tomorrow. Then if rains, wait, and if not, come for Monday.
Q. Novak describes this as the ultimate challenge for him, the final tomorrow, because there is so much riding on it more than just the title, with all the records that are attached to it. How do you see it?
RAFAEL NADAL: For him? To win four in a row?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it’s good. Is an opportunity for him. He’s the No. 1 of the world. He is doing fantastic season. We’ll see tomorrow.
Gonna be a difficult match for me; hopefully for him, too. I will try my best, as every day.
Q. The Melbourne final was the toughest, most brutal tennis match most of us had ever seen. Do you foresee even greater physical endurance and strength being needed in this final?
RAFAEL NADAL: Before the final is difficult to imagine another match of six hours. Difficult to imagine a match like this.
But I will be there fighting every ball. We cannot predict what’s going on. The only thing that I have to predict that he is playing well, he is playing with confidence, and I have to play aggressive, I have to play my game.
Try to keep playing the same way that I am playing. We will see what is happening then during the match. Try to find solutions if the things are going wrong. But I don’t know what can happen.
Q. Do you feel more pressure this year because you can break Borg’s record, or is it pressure as usual?
RAFAEL NADAL: I had the chance to break the Borg record because I won already six. The pressure is the same every year. I am here because I try my best every day and because I have a lot of motivation, the illusion to try to win the tournament, not because I said it almost every day not because it’s the seventh, because it’s Roland Garros. It’s one of my top tournaments of the year, if not the most important.
So seriously, extra pressure for me for being the seventh is zero. The pressure is the same because is another final of Roland Garros, and that’s the most important thing for me.
In the end, if finally happens, gonna be another thing that maybe is important, maybe not that much important like the people say. For me, the important thing is Roland Garros.
Q. Does your solid match from yesterday makes you maybe a bit more relaxed?
RAFAEL NADAL: You cannot be relaxed against the No. 1 player of the world. The match of yesterday just give me confidence. That’s confirm that I am playing well. I play well almost every day. That’s the most important thing for me, no?
For sure, I will have my doubts for tomorrow. For sure I have to respect the other opponent. He beat me a lot of times.
But I am here to fight every ball and to try my best in every moment. We’ll see.
Q. Can you talk about what the rivalry with Novak means to you since last year and this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, tomorrow is another match. You know, we played a lot of important matches throughout our careers, both of us against each other, so that makes the rivalry, no?
With Roger we had important rivalry because we played a lot of important matches for us in our careers against each other.
So with Novak, you know, we start to have a lot of ones, too. So that makes these confrontations probably very special, too.
THE MODERATOR: Spanish questions, please.
Q. Yesterday after he lost his match to Djokovic, Roger said you were the big favorite on the tournament. What would you say about this?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I want to thank him for his nice comments. That’s all I can say.
I don’t feel I’m the great favorite, as he said, because I’m going to play against No. 1. Eliminate the words “big favorite.” You can keep the word “favorite” if you want. But even that, once again, I want to thank Roger for his confidence.
Q. What will be the key for this match, to win this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the key to win this match is there is just one: It’s playing well, playing your best tennis. It’s the only way you can win a match. There is no other thing you need to do. I mean, you don’t want to try and find the magic recipe.
You want to play very well. You want to be aggressive, you want to change the rhythm. You want to make him uncomfortable. You want to be able to defend with very deep balls. You want to have a very good serve, fast serve, and I guess the rest will follow.
Q. You’ve seen the weather forecast for tomorrow. Do you think that there will be delays?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, if there are delays, delays will be for both of us, so it’s going to be difficult for both of us.
Q. Can you explain the technical difficulties you have when you play Djokovic from the baseline?
RAFAEL NADAL: What exactly do you mean by that?
Q. Well, you try and play very long balls and open angles.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don’t know how I can win if he dictates his game. I have to dictate my game. I can’t let him feel comfortable. I want to make him move on the court.
If I just return the ball I can’t win. But if I manage and vary my shots and be aggressive and I don’t allow him to attack too much, the match is going to be different.
Q. Even if you have to play a very long match in five sets, do you think there will be similarities with the match you played in Rome?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Rome was a very difficult match. The first set was very complicated. Sometimes he was imposing his game.
I played well, but it was not my best tennis. That was enough. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow if I just play that level of tennis. I intend to play even better than in Rome.
Once again, there are very positive things. It’s very positive that during difficult matches I had the opportunity to play well in a very aggressive way, and I managed to win because I was attacking.
That was the only way I could win, thanks to my forehand, my volley when I had to come to the net. That’s what I’m going to try and do tomorrow if I succeed, of course.
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