Reuters interview

Rafa

Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

an interview with Rafa for Reuters news. Excerpts:

REUTERS: The U.S. Open is only grand slam event that you have yet to win. How does it feel going in to the tournament, especially since you were out of action for more than two months with your knee injury?

NADAL: “I think I am going to have more options in the next few years. The important thing is to feel confident with my knees and when I feel confident with my knees, I’m going to be able to practise harder and find my best performance as soon as possible.

“It’s tough to say if I am going to be ready 100 percent for the U.S. Open. It’s normal, isn’t it, because after a long break and major injuries, it’s difficult to be ready. But I will try.”

When he feels confident with his knees he will be able to practice harder.

REUTERS: How does it feel back to be on court after the long break you had to take because of the tendinitis you suffered in your knees?

NADAL: “It seems like my knees are much better. But you never know. I have to play at the top level to see how it affects my knees.”

Yep, still not confident. *sigh*

REUTERS: How far do you think this is going to affect your long term career?

NADAL: “Not at all.” [snip]

That sounds good.

REUTERS: How much is the ATP Tour and its schedule to blame for what happened to you? Do you think the way the calendar is packed with tournaments puts a lot of pressure on players?

NADAL: “Well, it’s clear that the calendar can’t be perfect for everyone but I think that we—the players, the ATP—are working hard to try to develop the best possible calendar for the players and for the tournaments.

“I think that everyone knows that starting on January 1 and ending on December 5 is too long of a calendar but it’s not easy to fix because there are many tournament interests at play and everything is very difficult and you can’t scorn any tournament. We must try to find the best possible solution that more or less pleases everyone.”

REUTERS: What needs to need to change?

NADAL: “Things need to change. What is bad about the calendar is not just that is starts on January 1 and ends on December 5. I believe the bad thing about the calendar is how it is made and obligates you to play tournaments all year. If you want to achieve the most you can (and) go as high up (in the rankings) as you can, you have to play from the start to the finish because there are important tournaments from the beginning to the end.”

Dear Rafa – I agree with you, the schedule is brutal. But if you want to make this argument, you must never play any optional tournaments, no? I know you get pressure from different fractions (including yourself) to play some tournaments, but…stop it! ;)

REUTERS: Three months ago you were the defending champion at three grand slam events and the world number one. Now you only have the Australian Open title in your possession and are no longer ranked number one, has that changed your outlook going into the U.S. Open?

NADAL: “I am not number one right now but I always say the same thing. My motivation and aspiration is the same, being number one or being number five. So that’s the truth. And my goal is the same—it’s to always be happy playing, it’s to enjoy the game and improve always.

“That’s what I work on—improving my tennis. And to be happy playing because if I’m not happy playing, it’s very difficult to play well. I need to have the right attitude. I am going to play the next tournaments with the same aspiration and motivation as last year. Doesn’t matter.”

Always the same; never matters.

REUTERS. Was this break good in any way for you? Did you enjoy taking time off from the game?

NADAL: “It was tough because with this injury I couldn’t move a lot. So the doctors told me to relax and I am a very productive person. I like to always be active and playing a sport, and well, I did important things like travel around Majorca in a boat. It was unbelievable. Very nice.

“But mostly, I didn’t do much because I had to be on the sofa more than ever. I was going through more than five hours of treatment everyday.”

Around the whole island on a boat? That sound wonderful (and important).

REUTERS: Although Roger Federer won the French Open and Wimbledon titles this year, some people said his victories might be devalued because he did not beat you at the two tournaments. What is your opinion on this?

NADAL: “The important thing is to win the tournament. It doesn’t matter who you win against in the final. For me a win against Roger is always very, very special but I would love to win any grand slam against someone in the final. (laughs). Doesn’t matter who the rival is.”

Heh.

17 Responses

  1. loverafa4ever says:

    I wanted to know the exact status of his knee. Is it perfect, or is he still in the process of figuring it out. And he is saying that his knee is not goin to giv him long term problems. IS dat really true? I hope it is. Nice interview, tho nothing is really new.

    • Carol says:

      Surely Rafa’s confidence as well as the knees must have taken an incredible hit when he fell out of RG. So that’s as much a part of the recovery as the physical and only he can deal with that.

      But just as he plays each match at a time, he’s not making any rash statements and I reckon he’s gained a lot of maturity over the summer and his mind has always been a big part of his game.

      The same old questions… just a charitable thought (odd for me) – could it be because so many people really care about seeing Rafa back?? Answers on a postcard…

  2. killian says:

    Great interview, and love your comments, Miri. Especially about “saying ‘NO’ to extra tournaments.” Otherwise, our Rafa is such a little Zen-meister. Wish I’d had his perspective on life at the tender age of 23. Just one more reason [on the ever-growing list] to LOVE him.

  3. faeaki 7 says:

    Rafa was put on the spot here a little but as usual he handles it with class.
    I agree with your comments too on NO extra tourney’s, lets hope Rafa agrees also!!
    I so want him to get a win over a high ranked (top ten opponent) in this tournament to get his confidence back, and to silence the critics. Comon Rafa!!!

  4. aRafaelite says:

    Maybe the argument he’s making about the schedule is that there should be less COMPULSORY tournaments (i.e. Masters serious) spread throughout the year, leaving players more freedom to pick and choose the tournaments they WANT to play, and schedule some rest time inbetween? In Rafa’s case not playing e.g. Miami and Madrid would mean be able to play tournaments he loves like Monte and Barca without exhausting himself before RG. For example.

    • miri says:

      That’s a good point.

    • mary says:

      I think thats exactly what he is saying. You’re right on there. It’s a no brainer that if your forced to attend the mandatory amount of master events, your body is going to tire & the the likely hood of injury is going to increase. The trouble is Rafa has to have others that are prepared to back his way of thinking. Surely he can’t be alone on this!

    • loverafa4ever says:

      dat wud b so awesome. I don’t knw why the ATP people are hesitant to make that change. Every players choices will b different. Like Murray will play Miami even if Rafa doesnt. Roger might play Madrid even if Murray doesnt. So one or 2 of the top players will b der at all the master tournaments. It shud b like, all the top players shud play 6 of the 8 master tournaments. Dat wud b such a relief..

      • Carol says:

        “I don’t knw why the ATP people are hesitant to make that change.”

        Moolah comes to my cynical mind…

        • mary says:

          It’s moolah & so much more. It’s prestige, advertisements, probably political in some cases & the list goes on. I don’t think they need to shorten the masters just make several more, optional & not mandatory.
          Here at the Brisbane International, Andy Roddick is coming probably along with Nando, Nole & a few others. Neither Fed or Rafa will attend but the event is still big. It’s only a 250, so really the ATP can make changes, big names will still attend.
          There just complete dicks!

  5. Atch2 says:

    “And my goal is the same—it’s to always be happy playing, it’s to enjoy the game and improve always”

    That’s what Rafa’s always said, and they’re great goals to play tennis by. The wins and ranking come when u play well and play happy.

    And spreading the Masters Serious events is a good idea, e.g., there’s a big gap btw Wimby and Montreal/Toronto, so have a gap btw that and Cincy.

    And it was nice that Rafa didn’t belittle Fed’s wins at Wimby and FO, bec they were wins.

    And Reuters have revised Rafa’s replies, no? The English is not Rafaenglish.

  6. mary says:

    From what I fathom, Rafa hasn’t been truly tested with his knees. This is what he is saying. But gee Rafi what is an acceptable level of strees on your knees that will convince you that your knees are good? If I kiss them will that do it? :) ;)

  7. ally says:

    rafa’s answers are always the same..they can just cut and paste

    • mary says:

      It’s only bec the questions are always the f****g same. Maybe they should cut & paste them as well. Glad Rafa will be blogging from the USO. At least the fans know what questions to ask him. Looking forward to it.

  8. CC says:

    They always ask the same, no? In every interview. And he always say the same, no? In every interview. ;)

    Knees still a bit worrisome, it’ll take time.

    Schedule, oh the schedule. Is something actually being changed, or is it just talk?

    Rafa, let’s just go and live on a boat and travel around Mallorca every day. You and I, no? I promise, I’d be so good…
    *crosses fingers behind back*

    • Carol says:

      Hee, hee, you’d have a fleet of boats following you, I think… ;-))

      (And fully subscribed classes for learning Mallorqui)