Post semi-final presser

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Transcript is up here.

Q. What happened in the first set when you got broken twice in terms of was there something about his game that threw you off?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think he played good. He played really good with very good intensity during all the match. In the last games I think he decrease a little bit more than the rest.

But I think he played really well, no? So I told you yesterday, no, it’s another step. Physically and mentally it’s difficult for me be ready. But I think this match gonna be a good experience for me right now to try to be in this step in the US Open.

It also doesn’t help that Nole doesn’t mind high balls – that’s why he’s often been a tough match-up for Rafa.

Q. Despite the result tonight, you played great tennis after being two months out. What we can expect for the US Open?

RAFAEL NADAL: You never know. You never know. I expect play really well and try to win. That’s what I expect, no?
But tennis is difficult, and all the players are very close and gonna be really tough in one tournament like the US Open, no? Five sets, so we will see how I am physically to play the five-sets matches.

But this week is very important for me, no? These two weeks, winning three matches here and two matches there, six matches, five matches win and seven matches in total, so it’s enough matches I think.

I am happy for everything: happy to be here and happy to be more ready for the US Open than what I expected before came to this American tour.

I hope he can concentrate over 5 sets better than we saw him do over 2.

Q. You’ve talked this week like you didn’t expect to win the tournament. Do you feel like you’re ready to win tournaments again?

RAFAEL NADAL: We will see, no? The No. 3 of the world normally is ready to win tournaments.

No answer answer!

Q. Does any ranking change affect maybe your mentally, the drop from 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, a lot. I am really sad. (Laughing) No, sure, speaking seriously that’s normal. I didn’t play for the last two months and I was — I had the season under control before Roland Garros. I was No. 1 on the race by far, by a lot of points.
So remains the end of the season, and I expect be there to try to be 1, 2, 3, 4, you never know. But I gonna be there to try to fight for the top positions.

Heh – always a good sign when he’s joking about it.

Q. What was the strategy, your plan of attack going into the match? Djokovic actually had is 4-3 edge against you in hardcourt matches, even though you led overall. What were you trying to capitalize on in the match?

RAFAEL NADAL: I tried to play aggressive, no?

You did?

Q. Do you feel you did that?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. My feeling on court was he always was in the middle the court and I was always outside, two meters behind the baseline. That’s the feeling what I had.

So I told you before, I think I wasn’t 100% ready to play at this step. So it’s another level, and I need to play at this level more than one time to be ready to compete another time with this level, no?

I know when I am playing well I can play at this level. But these matches, you only can win the matches against these top players at your best tennis.

Ah, tried was the word there.

Q. We miss your Uncle Toni. Where is he now?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, probably he — well, right now he’s probably sleeping, (laughter) but he’s in Mallorca, no? I think he’s enjoying more than us.

Q. Is he gonna be at the US Open?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he’s coming there.

Nothing against Cincy, but given the option, I’d probably take Mallorca too!

Q. Djokovic had you running around a lot and staying in a lot of long rallies. In terms of the long rallies you were playing and hard hitting rallies, how do you feel physically after that?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I feel well, no? But Djokovic played with very high intensity, and for me it was a little bit hard to keep at this intensity all the time, no?

I can play some points, but remain a little bit more, I don’t know exactly how to explain in English, no? A little more concentration, a little more…

Q. Focus?

RAFAEL NADAL: Not focus, no, but be ready to play at this level, no? Don’t have to do something special to play at this level, no? So right now my feeling is I had to do a little bit more than usual to play at this level.

When I’m okay, I play at this level and it’s a normal thing for me, no?

So…

I don’t care if you ever learn how to explain it in English, I just hope you can start doing it again on the court.

On to NY, people!

13 Responses

  1. Atch2 says:

    I feel more relieved after reading this. He is able to joke about his ranking and sleeping Uncle Toni, so he’s not sulking and looking ahead.

    I think there’s less pressure for Rafa going into the US Open now, more on Murray and Fed who appear to be the favourites, which is good. Rafa and Nole can prepare quietly for their sneak attacks.

    Rafa’s Challenges:
    – playing at high level and intensity as rest of Top 5
    – keeping it up for possible 5 sets

    • Carol says:

      “I think there’s less pressure for Rafa going into the US Open now”. Good point – the targets are on the backs of Murraymint and Fed.

      Let’s hope he gets down to it over the next week and even better, enjoys himself again and kills the knee bogeyman.

      “and for me it was a little bit hard to keep at this intensity all the time, no?” I’m sure Rafa realises that it’s going to have to be much less than “a little bit hard” for a 5-setter. (And if he doesn’t, Tio Tony, will certainly remind him!)

      • Atch2 says:

        Do u call him Murraymint bec he smells minty?

        • Carol says:

          I wouldn’t know…

          It’s my personal joke – Murray Mints are the name of a mint flavour sweet / candy with the tagline “Murray Mints, Murray Mints, the too good to hurry mints” and yes, *whispers* I do like watching his tennis, but not, of course, as much as Rafa.

  2. CC says:

    “You never know. You never know. I expect play really well and try to win. That’s what I expect, no?”

    Great acktitude Rafa, you go for it!

  3. Atch2 says:

    For those who still want to see Rafa-Nole pairing for a doubles match, from Nole’s semi-presser:

    Q. I heard that there was a possibility
    for you and Rafa to play doubles here in
    Cincinnati; is that true?

    NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, that’s true.
    Unfortunately he wasn’t ready physically to play
    singles and doubles, so he just decided to play
    singles. Maybe we have chance in the future.

  4. Atch2 says:

    Also fm Fed’s semi-presser:

    Q. If it’s Rafa tomorrow, did you expect
    to face him so soon after his comeback, or
    does it seem like a long time since you played
    him?

    ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, we
    played in Madrid. That’s not that long ago. That
    really got the streak going for me, beating him on
    clay and then going to win Paris and Wimbledon.
    Not that surprised, you know, that he’s
    doing so well just because — I mean the guy’s only
    lost like six matches this year. It’s not like he
    already lost like 20. I know he’s coming back from
    injury, but the injury wasn’t ten months. I mean, it
    was two months. I know that’s a long time as well,
    but it’s not too long after all.
    I mean, of course he’s looking for his
    game. I hope he’s feeling well now. At the end of
    day, he’s a great player and an unbelievable
    competitor. He’s got that image, too, which the
    players know about. He’s obviously going to make
    visit our archives at asapsports.com
    R. Federer – 08.22.09.doc 3
    it hard for the opponent.
    It seems like things are coming back
    together for him, which a great to see. Of course I
    would like to play him, but that’s not something that
    I think was playing in our heads, of Rafa and
    myself, that we’re gonna play in the finals here.
    He’s still got some work to do. I’m there already
    waiting. Maybe it’s gonna happen.

    • aRafaelite says:

      Federer seems to find it hard to give an honest-to-goodness compliment about his rivals, there always has to be some qualification to it e.g. “the injury wasn’t ten months”. I hope he’s not like that with Mirka… can you imagine? “It was only 9 months Mirka, it’s not like you gave birth to an elephant” (African elephants have a 22-month gestation period, in case you’re wondering)! He doesn’t cope well with being asked about his rivals – I can’t forget how dismissive he was of Roddick after the Wimbledon Final. I’m not a big fan of Roddick, but I’d actually quite like to see him get his revenge at the US Open and take the title. Only assuming of course, that he’s not up against Rafa.

      • Carol says:

        Yeah, I agree totally aRafelite.That’s another thing that raises my hackles about him. And he hasn’t got the excuse of being a poor English speaker. We need Rafa back to make him go through the RG, Wimby & AO experiences a few more times.

  5. mary says:

    “When I’m okay, I play at this level and it’s a normal thing for me, no?”
    Hope you get to that level real quick Rafi. Bec Fed head’s head is growing expedentially. I hope it all of a sudden implodes same with his mouth.
    “I’m there already waiting”. Them’s fighting words Mr. Fed head. Hope Rafi does meet you when he is 100% & shows you that you should stop pissing in the wind with that mouth of yours.