It was another tough Wimbledon for Rafael Nadal. For the fourth straight year the Spaniard was ousted by a player ranked 100 or below, yesterday his conqueror was German Dustin Brown in the 75, 36, 64, 64 stunner.
As his ranking continues to fall, Nadal’s slump in big events continues. He hasn’t been to a Slam semifinal since that 2014 French Open. After the shocking loss Nadal spoke to the media:
Q. What went wrong today?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, the opponent, myself. Combination of things that finally make me lose.
Accept the defeat and congratulate my opponent, and that’s it.
Q. How have your expectations of yourself changed over the last year and several months, if at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I know I am going to every tournament with the right motivation, working well. I think I made all the things well to prepare here this tournament.
Losing in Roland Garros, going straight to Stuttgart and Queen’s, then came here very early to prepare the tournament. So I lost. Sad today for that, obviously.
But end of the day, that’s sport. Good moments, bad moments. Obviously today is a bad moment for me. Just I need to accept these kind of things that can happen. I did all my career.
Keep going. You know, it’s not the end. Is a sad moment for me, as I said before. But life continues. My career, too. I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic.
Q. Do you see yourself ever getting back at Wimbledon to the form where you won? Do you ever see yourself being able to reproduce that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t understand very well.
Q. Your form at Wimbledon in particular is not very good over the last four years, from the high standards you set. Do you see yourself getting back to how you were playing at Wimbledon in 2010?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Is obvious that 2012 and 2013 were not an issue. I was not competitive. Too much problems on my knees.
Last year and this year, no problems at all with my knees. So I was ready to compete. I lost.
I don’t know if I will be back to the level of 2008 or 2010 or 2007 or 2006 or ’11.
Q. Does that worry you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. My motivation is try to be back to that level. But I going to keep working on that. But if I don’t make that happen — actually I played five times here the last day, had the trophy back home two times, so is not bad.
Q. How much was it about his unusual style of game and how much was it about the issues with your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in this court especially, you meet players that don’t want to play from the baseline sometimes. This opponent is one of these ones. You cannot have mistakes against a player like him with that big serve. You know, nothing to lose. Serving first and second almost the same speed.
Without having rhythm at all. I didn’t hit three balls in a row the same way.
Then when you need to hit that ball, extra ball, you don’t have the confidence to do it. So that’s what happened.
First game of fourth set was terrible for me. A very disappointing moment. Two forehands that I should not mistake. I did not play that forehand during the whole match. Arrive at that one, you lose confidence, you miss another. Then I fighted at the end, but no chance at all on the return. That’s it, you know.
This court give the possibility to these kind of players to play like this, with chances of success. I didn’t serve enough good. First set was important. Break, 15-30, easy passing shot with my forehand. Well, not easy passing shot, but for me should be easy. Mistake with that passing shot.
Then he played a good game, break back, then we arrive to 5-All. And can’t happen against a player like him.
After losing first set, you know, you are under pressure the rest of the match. That’s it. Good comeback in the second. But when the match looks better for me, very bad forehand, 30-15, three double-faults later, so…
Too many mistakes.
Q. You reached five finals between 2006 and ’11 in a row. Now it’s four defeats against players outside the top 100. How much of a disappointment is that for you? How much of a problem on your Wimbledon record is that?
RAFAEL NADAL: What problem?
Q. How difficult is it for you to stomach those defeats in a row in consecutive years?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am a good loser (smiling). When I am not that good, I always accept. Another thing is I am not happy, but accept that I am not enough good. I never considered myself that good to not accept when somebody’s better than you, no?
The last couple of years, I was not ready to compete well here. So I met some players that were better than me. Accept and keep going, you know, it’s the only way.
Q. You seem to be more disappointed than we’ve seen you in previous press conferences here when you’ve lost. Does it feel more disappointing this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yes. 2012 and 2013, I told you before, I know I was not ready to compete well. This year I was ready to compete well, and I was playing well before that tournament. Had the right preparation, all the things I thought were going to be fine to play a good Wimbledon.
So, you know, is a moment let’s say 45 minutes after the lose is not a good moment for me. But, as I said before, no, I am not a person that will be thinking about it for the next two weeks. But obviously today it’s tough.
Q. You said that you enjoy being at Wimbledon and having your big house and your family. I see your mother is here, your sister is here. Will you stay in London a little bit or you go straight back to Mallorca now?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t have more work here in London, so…
If you want to use the house, going to be free tomorrow (laughter).
Q. Years ago it was said that clay court players often didn’t come to Wimbledon with the sense that they will work hard, give everything to win on grass. You did that. You changed that whole tradition. Is that something that you think is an important part of what you have done in your career? Is that something you feel good about, your desire to win here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I did during all my career all the things that I thought will help me to be better player in all ways, no? I always had a big respect for this tournament. I always had the dream to play here one time. I did in juniors in 2002.
But then I wanted to do it again, no? When I came here and I felt that, you know, I was not that bad on grass, I always had the motivation to be here and to compete for big things, no?
Since 2005, you know, after winning first Grand Slam in my career, Roland Garros, was not easy to be here competing at my hundred percent. You know, too much energy with all the clay court season. That was the first time for me that I did that well.
But after losing here in the second round in 2005, I learned about. When I won Roland Garros in 2006, I was working hard the next day to prepare here Wimbledon. That’s what I did the rest of years of my career. Only two years I couldn’t do it was 2012, 2013, and 2009 obviously, that I had the problem. I had to retired from the tournament.
In exception of that three years, I did all the things I think are the right way to prepare one of the best tournaments of the world, like this one it is. And is something good.
I think is something that I did well because then the players from Spain and players from clay court specialists, let’s say, they didn’t see that surface that far from play well.
Q. If grass court tennis was a person, if it was a human being, how would you describe your relationship with that person?
RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot describe relationship with grass. You know, when you love one thing, and even last couple of years I didn’t have the best relationship possible with them, going to be in my heart and in my memories forever the 2008 final. That was probably one of the most important moments of my career, and was here, no?
You know, at the end of the day, today I lost. Don’t forget I played five finals here. I don’t know how many players did that.
You Might Like:
Rafael Nadal: Next Year I Will Not Play Davis Cup, I Don’t Want To Overplay
Novak Djokovic’s Father: I Don’t Know Why Roger Federer Is Still Playing, He’s Already 34!
Andy Murray On Who’s The French Open Favorite: I Don’t Know And I Don’t Care!
Ernests Gulbis: ‘I Don’t Care About Money, I Don’t Care About Fame’
Novak Djokovic: I Don’t Have To Do Anything Special To Win The French Open