RG 3rd round presser

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The 3rd round post-match presser video and transcript are up on the official Roland Garros site.

Q. That was a really great match today from your side. Are you close to maybe your best? What are your thoughts about that? How did you feel on the court?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I feel, yeah, I feel much better today than the other days. I improved a little bit every day. I play better the second day than the first. Today is important improve, no? Always a win against Lleyton is a very good news. You must be playing well.
So I won 6-1, 6-3, 6-1, so is amazing result for me. Very happy for being fourth round right now.

You must be playing well.

Q. I know you’re not happy with some of the rules from the world anti-doping agency. Could you tell me again why you think that these rules are so problematic?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always the same, no? Always when I say something, later you write. I am the first one who wants the sport totally clean, no, the tennis totally clean.

But I think, I don’t know if it’s — well, I don’t know, no. I know that’s not correct. Have to reserve one hour every day for the anti-doping, no? I think it’s not nice they are at your room at 8:00 in the morning. They call you and say, We are here, and you have two more hours for sleep, no?

I think that’s not nice. And the second thing is we have to work in another matter. That’s what I feel, no? Because I against this new rule, no? (Through translation.) It would be better, but never mind.

Oh, dear. They aren’t going to let this go are they?.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.

Q. What were you saying in English? Could you repeat this in Spanish?

No, they aren’t going to let it go.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yes. You know, people write all sorts of things, and, you know, things were written in the papers here in France. I wouldn’t say stupid things, but I would like this sport to be as clean as possible.

There’s no doubt about what I said. You see, of course there are those who cheat, should be punished. This is all. When you practice this type of sport, what is important is that, you know, they have to find me and know where I play.

These guys have to know where I play. I was on Monday in Madrid. I was with my friends. Then I have a bath. My mother called me. She told me the guys were in my house in Madrid. It was my only free evening. I have to take this anti-doping control. It was the same several days ago. Ferrer and Fernando were tested as well, at 6:00 a.m. because they had to play from 6:00 to 7:00, or they had just played, or rather they had played a five-set match. It’s crazy.

Wait, so they had a test 12 hours after their match was done? Is that what he’s saying? I’m not clear on the am/pm thing here. If the match was done at 6 PM and they still had showers/massage/press/transport to do, they probably didn’t even get back to the hotel until 9 PM and then they have to wind down, have some dinner, etc…and then a 6am test? Why not just test them right after the match instead? Or later that day? Nothing’s going to show up at 6 AM that won’t show up at those other times.

I don’t know if, from the legal point of view, this is correct. That is,to know where you are every single moment of your life, and to account for this. This is what I think.

I don’t think this is a right thing to do. It’s wrong. It’s a high price to pay to practice your sport, to play tennis. I want tennis to be as clean as possible, of course. This is crystal clear. But there’s room for maneuvering. You see, there’s a certain type of leeway.

I know these guys are pros and that this is part of the job and that some people probably get better test times than others (just like match scheduling), but this just seems stupid in a sport with no set times like tennis. Why not just make the testing part of the pre- and/or post-match process? Most players play so many weeks out of the year, just testing them in-season would reveal any kind of doping that would enhance performance, wouldn’t it? I don’t know. Maybe I don’t understand it all that well.

Q. In Australia, during a press conference you’ve talked about this, and I realize that nothing has changed. It seems that nothing will change.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I have the impression that all the players say the same about this. I don’t know if there’s one player who says something different, but I don’t think so. The vast majority are against this rule.

Q. How could players be against this?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, that’s not what I meant. And I don’t want to keep on talking about this during the whole press conference. You know, we’re all players. That’s all it is.

I know that drugs is not an easy matter to deal with, but we’ve paid the price for this. And, in fact, the ITF should take measures. I don’t have the impression that it’s good to put so much pressure on us. They harass us, I think.

The ITF should do something about it, otherwise we could perhaps come up with another solution, another remedy, another solution for us to play tennis in a more tranquil way.

You know, if I lose tomorrow, I’ll go back to Mallorca, and who will know where I am if I have no access to Internet, if I don’t send e-mails to my family?

Now, if they knock at my door in Mallorca, they’re going to give me a warning. It’s happened to Carlos before. They sent him a warning, and this is most unfair.

It’s this part that ticks me off. One of the Bryan Bros got a warning because he wasn’t home (where he said he’d be) at the appointed time. Where was he? Stuck on the highway with a flat. It seems that the warnings aren’t appealable. That’s not right. That’s presuming guilt.

Q. I promise it’s going to be the very last question on drugs or anti-doping. This year it seems that there are more tests. In addition to the international federation, there are more tests. What do you think about this?

RAFAEL NADAL: More analyses?

Q. Yes. More than what is done by the ITF. It seems that the French agency has decided to carry out more tests. What has happened to Gasquet, for instance.

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know anything about this. I think that this is not yet clear. Okay, Gasquet has been tested. I support him. I’m certain that he’s not taking anything. He’s not taking cocaine. I know him. He’s a good friend of mine, and I discussed this with him last week.

No, no, impossible. He’s most certainly not taking cocaine. You know what the world is like today. You know, when you go to a party, anything can happen these days. If you kiss a girl who’s taken cocaine, anything can happen, and that’s the truth. That’s reality, and this can destroy your life or your career, rather, and this is most unfair.

You know, I wanted tot ell him again that I support him fully. He’s got my total support. I told him on the phone, and sometimes I think these measures go too far and they’re most unfair.

He’s really going out on a limb here for Reeshie. I hope it doesn’t end up biting him in the butt.

Q. Now, let’s talk about the match. I suppose you’re happy. Your game is developing nicely, and we’ve seen that since the first round. You’ve changed. You’ve evolved. What about your feelings? Is it like last year’s?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, last year I didn’t play that well during the third round. But what is important is what has happened so far.

Each day I play better, and I think, you know, this is what it’s all about. I have to improve daily. I’m happy, really. My backhand is good. To start with, I played good shots. My drive is better.

You know, when it was 3 to 2, I was up 3-2, and then Love-30, that was good. I managed to fight back. But at the end of the day, the result was good, which is excellent news.

Excellent news indeed.

35 Responses

  1. kefuoe says:

    I agree with you and Rafa, miri. I think there is room for compromise here. Seems like he always used to show up at press conferences with a band aid on his arm from a doping test (I assumed?). Have they stopped doing that?

    I thought that too, about Gasquet. In this presser, it sounds like Nadal is saying that he’s taking Gasquet’s word for it. Not that he shouldn’t, but he might be setting himself up for a disappointment.

    I swear they (the press) are going to keep pushing his buttons until he snaps one day! (but I must say, he was looking quite delightful in the press conference today)

    • miri says:

      Seems like he always used to show up at press conferences with a band aid on his arm from a doping test (I assumed?). Have they stopped doing that?

      I think, and I could be wrong, the blood test are done when you are about to leave a tournament – either when you lose or after the final. I think that, before that, they do urine tests.

  2. strobi says:

    The translation is shit. They got it all wrong when he tells about his past testing. I read the interview in a spanish newspaper and he doesn´t say he was in Madrid. He was in Majorca the Monday after Madrid, on his day off and he had to run back from the beach because he got a call from home saying that they came to test him. Madrid doens´t have a coast, so i don´t really know who actually translated this (duh!).
    About the Gasquet incident, I am pretty sure that it was secondary contact since nobody is that stupid to take cocaine days before a tournament when you know you will be tested. Still, one word of advice, chose better who you hang out with. I hope Rafa and all the other players learn from this.

    • miri says:

      I was wondering about the Madrid thing – that made no sense to me since he should have left the tournament by then. Thanks for clearing that up!

      And….maybe this is weird, but I totally don’t get why cocaine is on the “punishment” list. It seems like it would hamper your sports performance instead of improve it. The kind of penalty Gasquet could get for a party/non-performance enhancing drug doesn’t make sense to me. It seems more like a legal matter than a sports one.

      • strobi says:

        I kind of agree in a way that recreational drugs should be restricted in sports. But the penalty should be different. Sure, nobody wants sport starts to be junkies like McEnroe in his day, but for example, an occassional joint in their time off shouldn´t be a cause of suspension. Nor a one-time cocaine positive test that could have been completely accidental or due to plain stupidity. They should get a warning and if they are caught a second time, then they should be punished but not as hard as if they had been caught with EPO. But i guess these people are prudes…

        • natch says:

          This is one of those areas where cocaine technically (i.e., the medical definition) could be used as a performance enhancer, but in real life terms, it’s recreational. It would be like if Rafa drank six cups of espresso before today’s match and told everyone that was why he won. There are so many other illegal drugs that are used that using cocaine as an enhancer would be incredibly stupid. But since by definition it can enhance, it stays on the list.

  3. skyejaden says:

    I think he’s definitely right. They need to get some sort of pre-match, post-match thing going on or something set. Tennis players shouldn’t have to get up at six a.m. on match day to do a drug test. Or like Andy Murray said – they showed up at his house at dawn and made him do it right then and there on the spot in front of them. I mean, there SURELY has to be a common ground they can reach. It’s getting a bit out of control. Also, if he says end of subject, they could learn to move on! Geez. Journos. *shakes head*

    Unfortunately I bet the press is going to twist his words and try and turn everything negative, like he doesn’t want the tests done at all or something.

    • miri says:

      Unfortunately I bet the press is going to twist his words and try and turn everything negative, like he doesn’t want the tests done at all or something.

      Exactly what I fear will happen – especially since he’s a player people like to spread doping rumors about.

  4. tiemyshoe says:

    I totally agree with everything Rafa has against the WADA rules – and so do what seems to be the majority of athletes (the European football leagues are up in arms, it seems). The rules are Draconian. It sucks, though, that Rafa’s always the first one quoted on his opposition to the drug rules – I think he was trying to complain about that, but he couldn’t quite express it in English.

    Also, props to Rafa for sticking up for Gasquet. A very small amount of cocaine was detected in Gasquet’s tests – almost little enough to pass the one given by the U.S. military, I read somewhere. A lot of people have pointed out how unfair it is to punish players for recreational drugs the same way they get punished for performance-enhancers. Players are hesitant to speak up about it though, so good for Rafa. He seems very loyal to his pals (and he stuck up for Michael Phelps after that pot incident, too).

  5. johanne says:

    Why can I only think about Rafa taking that bath? Lucky bathtub. (unless of course the translation messed that up that part too and the bathtub was really the beach, lol). Rafa looks smoldering here, btw.

    I like that Rafa has been vocal about his support for Gasquet. He doesn’t hesitate just because the press might try to burn him with it later – he just supports his friend. Period.

  6. patzin says:

    I get the impression the testers treat the athletes as guilty, in advance, of such testing; and they are prob trained to not trust anyone in order to deal with those less honest. Rafa is one of the more outspoken about these issues and clearly resents the way these things are handled, not the fact that they are necessary in the current culture.

    • natch says:

      If by “testers” you mean the people who show up at their doors to get a sample, they are very fair to the athletes. The don’t treat them one way or the other. They just have to abide by strict rules. The lab techs, if you are referring to them, who actually do the testing have no idea who’s sample they are testing. All sports have a different system, but the most common is issuing a number to each name. The lab techs never see names, only numbers. Usually the governing body is the only party who has names/identities and numbers (or whatever system they are using.)

      • strobi says:

        I think the problem is the ones that send the people to make the tests. They woke up Ferrer at 6 am after his match with Kiefer (long match) and he had only slept 4 hours. The same with Murray the day he arrived from Australia after the open. Seems like there is absolutely no consideration on the schedule of the players, and the fact that they have already been tested in the tournament. When a player loses a match or wins the tournament they take a test (blood and urine as far as i got it). So why wake up a player at 6 am in his rest day during a tournament? He is going to get tested anyway.

        • tiemyshoe says:

          A lot of seems like it’s about intimidation and puttin’ the fear of God into the players – which I’m guessing is why Rafa feels like he’s being “harassed.”

          Gah, you know, it’s all baseball’s fault. And cycling.

        • natch says:

          Well, they woke him up because they were told to report to his home/hotel/wherever at 6am. They sure can’t bend the rules or they lose their job. The follow-up test is done…I can’t remember the exact times…but it’s somewhere between 12 and 24 hours after the first test. There is a specific amount of time they let go by, and no more. Why? Because so many athletes know how to cheat. It’s also an ensurance, to make sure they get the same results.

          I work with professional athletes for a living. I have seen a ton of these tests done. (I also know the ways they can cheat.) Well…haven’t *seen* them, but been there when it (the required sample being taken) happened. I don’t see it like the majority of people here have expressed, or even Rafa for that matter. In my mind, you signed up for it when you became a professional. Sure tennis is one of the most extreme in testing, but as a result, the sport has remained mostly clean. There is no time in your life when you are able to recover more than when you are in your early 20’s. Is it inconvenient, and a pain? Of course. But everyone goes through it. They don’t play favorites. You get over it if you are awoken at 6am and have an important match that day. I do think the rules could be altered a bit – for example, that poor Bryan brother that was stuck in traffic or whatever – that was a shame, but for the most part, I don’t have a problem with the testing.

          Now, if you were waking forty year olds at 6am…that’s a COMPLETELY different story. ;)

          • miri says:

            Right – the people conducting the tests did nothing wrong in showing up at 6am. They were doing their job as assigned and had to do lest, as you said, favoritism could creep into the system.

            I’m for thorough testing too, It’s the notification rule and the way missed times are treated that I don’t get (and that, I think Rafa is objecting to.) As I understand it, the reason they showed up at 6am was because the players are required to give WADA a location they will be at for 1 hour a day. They have to give them this schedule in 3 month bunches. Tennis isn’t a sport where they will know where they will be during the day at a tournament. They don’t know when they will be scheduled to play or when they will have required pressers or strongly encouraged promotional appearances to make until the day before (for matches – and even that doesn’t give you a set time) or shortly before for promo stuff. So, in order to insure they don’t have to constantly update WADA with times throughout the 3 months (or day, for that matter), they often give them a very early time and their hotel as the time/place. Otherwise, if their schedule changes last minute (or they get a flat tire) and they don’t get their notification to WADA in time, they are given one violation. Three violations and you are given the same penalty that people with positive drug tests are given.

            Now, I understand WADA can’t say, “Hey? In 2 weeks? We’re going to want to test you – show up here at this time and pee/bleed for us.” The tests need to be random and unannounced. So, I can understand why knowing where people are would be a good thing for them. But, the system as it stands seems like a logistical nightmare for both the players and WADA. How much of their time is wasted sorting through schedule updates from players? “Changed my mind – tomorrow I’ll be at dinner at 5pm. Instead, put me down as at home at 8pm.” (Hmmm…that might be an interesting way for them to protest this if they are allowed to do such things – I’m not sure.)

            I appreciate hearing from some one who knows about the other side of things. I admit, I’m clueless about this. Would it be possible for them to call a player (or their agent, whatever) and say, “6pm or immediately after today’s match, you will be tested. Be here” and still not get valid results? (a.k.a. – how long for any naughty stuff to leave their system) I’m wondering if that would be more feasible or just as much of a pain for everyone.

            BTW, I read that Ferrer didn’t get back to the hotel after the match/press/shower/massage stuff until 2am and that’s why he was grumpy about the 6am thing. Additionally, it took about 2 hours for, uh, his body to get around to making a sample. (Which is just part of testing and nothing that can be done about that – but I don’t think it added to his happy mood.)

            • natch says:

              ‘“6pm or immediately after today’s match, you will be tested. Be here” and still not get valid results? “‘

              If they do that, you’ve got that same problem You’ve already stated with advance warning.

              “how long for any naughty stuff to leave their system)”

              By no means am I an expert on this. But I’ve probably seen (using that term loosely here) a few hundred tests and listened to conversation about it between athletes (as well as been involved in conversations myself) for the past twenty years. How long it takes depends on the substance used. In all honesty, it’s not as much a matter of the substance leaving the system as it is masking the substance that’s already there.

              ” I’m wondering if that would be more feasible or just as much of a pain for everyone.”

              Athletes will always find a way to cheat. They’ll always be two steps ahead of the governing body. The dumb ones get caught, the smart ones beat it every time. Testing is always going to be a pain for someone.

              As for Ferrer…well, he acted the way any 20something year old would. But let’s see how grumpy he gets when he’s had two hours of sleep and his child wakes him up…and keeps him up.

              As for Rafa…can we really complain if we know his whereabouts every moment for the next three months? ;) God, what I would pay for that information…

  7. Nada H. T says:

    It is unfair to let him answer in English for question so

    sensitive like drugs thing where he doesn’t use English

    as he intends.

    • miri says:

      There are translators there that can help with the language.

      • strobi says:

        The last part was in spanish, but it was badly translated.

      • Nada H. T says:

        umm so he is expressing his opinion in Spanish that is

        translated to French or English. Thank you miri for

        the info. :) I thought that Rafa is answering in English

        as usual, which may lead to some misunderstanding of what

        Rafa says.

  8. faecoleman says:

    This shows how strong Rafa is sticking by gasquet like this! It takes guts to stand your ground like this infront of the press! and I agree, all these bizarre hours seems unfair..

  9. miri says:

    BTW, here’s a video of the Spanish part of the presser.

    • Denizen says:

      I believe that in two places between 1:30 and 1:45 he mentions “Monday in Madrid” and taking a bath. The Mallorca part comes later. I’m completely confused!

      • miri says:

        I thought I heard Manacor and Madrid, so I’m joining you in the confusion caboose.

        • Denizen says:

          Oh great – now I’m going to have to listen to those 15 seconds another 20 times. :/

          • miri says:

            Heh. I think it’s just something that sounds like Manacor but isn’t. You know, when you are listening to a language you don’t understand at all, you try and fit in things you do know.

      • strobi says:

        He said, “it was monday, i had just returned from Madrid…”

  10. nic says:

    One of the things I really respect about Rafa is that he is willing to stand up for something he truly believes in, and to bear whatever consequences or repercussions he will have in the media. He’s been really vocal about the drug testing practices, if only others would chime in. And really strong in his support for Gasquet.

    Well, the press is really jumping on him indeed. I saw this article in the telegraph uk which is really quite strongly worded by the writer:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/frenchopen/5410931/French-Open-2009-Rafael-Nadal-is-no-exception-to-the-drug-testing-rules.html
    Just because there are alot of perks to being a top athlete it doesn’t mean that their lives are owned by the sport, and that they should be subject to unreasonable expectations and treatment by WADA. Absolutely it feels like they are using scare tactics on players, and going in with the mindset of everyone is guilty til proven innocent. How very insensitive to intentionally disrupt a player’s recovery time after big matches. Wonder if the ITF will really consider a review at all of this.