Video and transcript at the Official RG site. I can’t really make any snarky comments on this. It’s just proof that the best man didn’t win. So, here it is:
Q. It was a great four‑year winning period. All things had to end, and it happened today, your series of wins. Did you expect such power tennis fromSoderling before the game? Were you surprised during the match of the way he hit his ball consistently so hard,especially on the forehand, but also in general?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, no. He didn’t surprise me,because I know how he play, how dangerous he can be. Yesterday I didn’t play my best tennis. No, I didn’t attack in no one moment. I play very short, and I make him very easy to play at this level.
So when one player bad,must lose. That’s what happened today. I have to accept with the same calm when I win than when I lose. After four years I lose here, and the season continue.
Q. Were you surprised that he was able to sustain the level of play that he did throughout the match? Did you expect him, at some stage, to perhaps have a little dip, which he never really did?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, when, for ‑‑ I played very short, you know. I play very short. I didn’t play great. I didn’t play with calm at no one time during all the match.
That makes him easy to play at this level during all the match, no? So was my fault, and more than ‑‑ well, sure, he did well. He did very well, but I didn’t ‑‑ yeah,I think I didn’t play my best tennis. And I didn’t play not my best tennis, no? I didn’t play my tennis, and for that reason I lose. That’s it.
I congratulate him and keep working hard for the next tournament.
Q. Andy Murray said to us earlier that the wind was a lot trickier. The wind was a lot more difficult than perhaps it seemed. Is that the reason perhaps that you were playing a little too short today in the conditions?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no, no. The wind is there for both players, so no,no? I not going to put any excuse rightnow. I think I played short because I played short. I didn’t have my day.
Q. Do you think you maybe played too many tournaments lately? How are you going to prepare for Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, when you lose, always everybody starts to analyze if I play too much. If I’m tired. The true, I won four years in a row playing the same. That’s the true. This year I play the same and I lost. What happen? I lost. That’s it.
That what happened. I lost another opportunity to win a big tournament here. Always is a big loss for me. But in the end is one more match, yeah.
Q. What about the preparation for Wimbledon? Are you going to play Queen’s?
RAFAEL NADAL: Right now, my preparation is for the swimming pool of my house. (laughter.) Yeah, give me three more days to think about preparation for Wimbledon.
Q. You looked tired. Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel tired physically and mentally?
RAFAEL NADAL: No.
Q. You look a bit tired.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I feel okay.
Q. You’re handling this with humor, but how much really did this hurt, your first loss at Roland Garros, honestly?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is not my best day today, no? I am not very happy. That’s true, no? You know, is tough always losing in a Grand Slam, especially in one Grand Slam where you have the better chance to win than the rest than the others.
But I did. I did very well on Wimbledon and in Australia,and semifinals last year in US Open. I have to be confident on myself to keep going, keep working.
If I lost today, it ‑‑ well, the preparation mentally, I don’t know, it wasn’t perfect, no?
So I have to work harder to be ready for the next big events.
Q. You had to know this day would come. Are you surprised it came so quickly?
RAFAEL NADAL: What? (Through translation.)
I don’t know. If you think it’s soon after four years? (laughter.) Why do you think, no? A lot of players won four years here in a row? Is only another one, no?
Q. You were so enormously strong last year in Paris. If you compare yourself, your level today and the last years, are you mentally not that strong as in the last years, or physically? What’s the difference?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, guys, I lost. That’s what I can say. I lost. I didn’t play my best tennis today. I have to analyze why I lost today, but I think that the things are more simple than if I am less strong than before, if I am less prepared mentally than before.
I think today I didn’t play my tennis, and I wasn’t ready to come back over a good player like Soderling. We have to analyze that and be ready for the next confrontations in big, important tournaments, no?
No, I think I was ready for everything. If I wasn’t ready here, I don’t know when I gonna be ready after winning a lot of tournaments and being my best at start of the season, no?
Q. Now that you’ve been knocked out, would you say Andy Murray or Roger Federer is the favorite to win the title?
RAFAEL NADAL: We will see. I don’t know. Davydenko or Verdasco is there. Del Potro I think is there. We will see. Federer is the favorite, in my opinion.
Q. What is it like playing against Soderling, and do you think he willr each top 10 in the future?
RAFAEL NADAL: How old are him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he can do it. Why not?
THE MODERATOR: Spanish questions, please.
Q. As from the second set, some of us thought that you would be able to win the match. What made you lose your calm?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I never was calm; that’s the truth. Instead of losing my calm, the match started off very badly for me. I mean, the second set, I should have won it 6‑4. Then there was wind, and that wasn’t good.
Then not being calm enough to face the important points, so I had to fight. But sometimes it’s not enough fighting. You have to play a good level of tennis.
And sometimes people think I win because I’m physically fit, but, no. When I win,it’s because I play well, and that wasn’t the case today. I must say that at key moments I couldn’t take the opportunity because I was losing my calm, and I didn’t play well.
Q. You already answered this question in English, but can you do that in Spanish? Now that Djokovic is out and now that you’re out, who would be your favorite for the final?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, all those in quarterfinal have an opportunity, but Federer is my favorite.
Q. This defeat makes your victories even greater?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, defeats never make you grow, but you also realize how difficult what I achieved up until today was, and this is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give value to your victories.
I’m 22. Well, 23 in a couple of days. But unfortunately, it’s the first time I’m not going to celebrate my birthday in Roland Garros. I hope I’ll be able to celebrate more here and be back next year and try and win.
Q. Two questions: Apparently you never felt comfortable during that match. How did you accept to walk in this room immediately after the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you don’t think about this, you know. I’m not saying this because of your question, but with ‑‑ I’ve stopped playing in altitude two weeks ago,so this is what ‑‑ I need to face the fact I didn’t play well this week. When I practiced this morning I felt good, no? I felt very good, but it wasn’t the case during the match.
Well, that’s the end of the road, and I have to accept it. I have to accept my defeat as I accepted my victories: with calm. So I have to stay calm and stay cool‑headed to try and analyze what I did wrong.
I need to learn, and you learn more when you lose than when you win. I need to work on those points on which I wasn’t good, and from there try and do better for my next tournament.
So as I said, this is not a tragedy,losing here in Paris. It had to happen one day, and this is an excellent season for me.
Of course it’s a bit sad, but I have to overcome this as quickly as possible.
Q. Was it the wonderful game level of Soderling on this surface, or because you were on a bad day or any other phenomenon, like you played in Barcelona then in Madrid? Maybe you played too many tournaments.
RAFAEL NADAL: Stop it. Stop it. Had I played my best level against Soderling, maybe the results would have been different. But he played a very good level of tennis and I didn’t play well, so the results are what they are.
I didn’t play at my best level. I have days like this, and this was one of those days. I had someone playing very well in front of me.
I’m not going to modify the way I prepare,because I’ve always prepared in the same way for the last four years. So that wouldn’t make sense.
Q. 6‑0,6‑1 when you played Soderling in Rome. That was the last result. So is it because he was very aggressive today? Was it having an influence?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not at all.
Q. Were you surprised by the level of his game?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not at all. I’ve seen him playing quite a few times, and that was not a surprise. It was my game level that was a surprise to me today.
Q. A minute ago you were saying that, well, this day had to happen one day. So were you prepared, or are you surprised by this defeat?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, all of us athletes, we know that when we walk on the court we can either win or lose. I know it for a fact anything can happen, and I have to accept them both in the same way.
You cannot collapse either because you’ve won a match or because you’ve lost it. This is sport, and you can have victories or defeats. No one remembers defeats on the long run. People remember victories.
So I have to move forward. Well, I have little time left to prepare for Wimbledon, but I have to move forward and try and prepare the best I can.
Q. When the crowd on the central court was supporting you in such a wonderful way, what did you feel?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I didn’t feel anything, because I’m used to hearing the names of players being shouted, whether the crowd supports me or supports my opponent.
But it’s a shame. I mean, this tournament is so important, such a beautiful tournament for me. Well,that’s the way it is. Maybe at one stage they supported Soderling more than me, and that was a bit sad.
But I wish when I’m back they can support me a bit more in key moments.
Q. Isthis the worst defeat in your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, please. I never lost a final. I never lost here so far. It’s my first ‑‑it’s the first match I lose. It’s the round of 16. So once again, people remember about victories and not defeats. So it’s not the worst in my career. Not even close to that.
Q. You said that now that you’re out, your favorite player is Federer. Now, tell us, who would you like to see winning the tournament, if you could pick one?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, no. Always one of my compatriots, a Spanish guy.
Q. If there were no one from Spain, would you like Federer to win?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, that would be great. He’s tried to win it for many years, and he was very unfortunate losing three finals and one semifinal. If one guy deserves it, that’s him.
Q. Rafa, could you please describe the moment when you met at the changing room and what you said?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, what we say in the locker room stays there, and we said nothing. I mean, you walk in there, you sit on your bench, and you’ve lost and that’s it.