WFT: RR1 presser & interview

Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images

There’s an interview up at And there’s a transcript up on

Q. Straight sets today, but a close match. Do you think the loss was more to how you played or how he played?

RAFAEL Nadal: Well, I think I didn’t play really bad. I played okay. But in the important moments, I didn’t have this necessary calm, no? So I had few mistakes. I play shorter in the important moments. That reason he beat me, no?

He is a big player in this surface, so is difficult. If you are not completely calm and playing very well in that moment, it’s really difficult to win, and today I didn’t play in this way in that moments.

Q. What do you feel you’re lacking at the moment? It’s more confidence or technical problems?

RAFAEL Nadal: No, I think, you know, I said 100 times, but is the true, no? The second half of the year was difficult for me, and probably I lost little bit this necessary out of confidence and this necessary calm in that moments.

But I am working really hard to come back at my best level. I think I’m not far away from my best level. But I need little bit more confidence and more calm in that moments, no?

So, he was nervous and I wasn’t just imaging he was tight on a quite a few points.

So I don’t know, this year is going to be extremely hard to finish really well. But I gonna work very hard to start next year very good. I believe in myself, that I can come back playing really well next year.

*fingers crossed*

Q. You’re speaking as if you were not thinking anymore of No. 1. Is it true?

RAFAEL Nadal: If you think. I think the chances I have are not here, not to be No. 1. If you want to still talk about me be No. 1, I can, but I think is not the right moment (smiling). My level right now I think is not to be No. 1, no?

My level is to be still fighting and practicing hard to be ready as soon as possible to compete another time with equal conditions with everybody, no? Going on the court, with the full confidence in myself against everybody, that’s what I’m working, no?

I think I am working really well, practicing to improve different things on my game, like every year I did. Is normal, the sport is like this. Sometimes you have some best moments; sometimes you have little bit worse moments. This probably is one of these moments for me right now. Just accept and work to improve the situation.

No one can keep winning as much and as often as he did in 2005 or 2008 – not even the mighty Fed.

Q. How did the court feel today?

RAFAEL Nadal: Yeah, it’s okay. The court is okay, no? Not big bounce. But the court is not really fast. It’s normal. It’s okay.

So, it’s bounce more than speed that’s causing him problems. I kind of thought this. I think it’s why he was finding it a bit easier to play closer to the baseline.

Q. You said you lacked a bit of calm. Physically are you a hundred percent back after the injury problems?

RAFAEL Nadal: Yeah, I’m very well. I am very well. Thank you.

Good to hear.

Q. By the sounds of it, you’d be quite happy to see the end of this year, 2009, and get started for 2010. Is that the way you’re feeling?

RAFAEL Nadal: No, no. Probably I not happy to finish this year, no? I am not tired. I had a long time outside of competition. So, no, for me the season, this year, the first year, the season, I am not feeling tired and I don’t want to finish the season. But the season finish this week. For us, the Davis Cup final next week. That’s what is.

I know to be ready next year, I gonna have one month, and these two matches – maybe more (smiling). I have this one week of year, one week of Davis Cup, and after, one month of practice in Mallorca. That’s what I have to recover my hundred percent level to start next year with good level and chances to win in every place that I play, no?

Just because he’s realistic about his chances to achieve a near impossible goal (year end #1), he’s done and ready to move on? Sheesh.

Q. What went wrong today for you?

RAFAEL Nadal: I said. It was the first answer question. You didn’t hear?

Q. No.

RAFAEL Nadal: Okay, I repeat.

Heeee! Oh, Rafa. That’s so perfect.

Q. I know it wasn’t a particularly happy experience, the match today. What do you think of the conditions in the stadium, the support of the British crowd?

RAFAEL Nadal: Very well, no? I think the atmosphere was unbelievable. Is doing a good work, the tournament is. All the time the full court, so that’s very nice for the tennis, that’s very nice for the players, very nice for everything, no? The conditions are good. Only the weather conditions can improve. Doesn’t affect on the game (smiling).

But the tournament is really nice, and I happy to live this experience here in London. And, sure, the crowd was really nice with me all the time.

No multi-day match rain delays. That’s one thing indoors has going for it.

Q. Did you think about the match you played at Roland Garros at all today? Did that make you want to beat him any more?

RAFAEL Nadal: No. I said 100 times, I don’t believe on revenges, nothing of this. Every match is a different match. I went on court, try my best what I did all my life. I didn’t thought, no one second, on the Roland Garros match. Is completely different conditions. The moment is completely different, too. So doesn’t affect nothing, the Roland Garros match.

Hear that everyone?

25 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    awww Rafa he never gives any excuses – what a guy!

  2. Rafangel says:

    “I believe in myself, that I can come back playing really well next year.

    *fingers crossed*”

    I have absolutely no doubts at all that he can get back to his 08-09 level, and better. I just think it may take time – as the thread on the ‘Tight’ post said, he’s got to change the foundations of his mentality. More likely to drop the rankings than climb them in the next few months – but he’s gonna come back…better…. :)

  3. patzin says:

    There is a comment on the Tennistalk blog – re: the emotional strain of Rafa’s family situation; and how his family are his strength and brings confidence to him. Without it he is prob a bit lost; I think it takes a while to recover from this “trauma” to his core beliefs. It will take time for him to be the “old Rafa” again on the court. He has glimpses but can’t deny he is stressed. Physically he looks almost a shell of his former self in those pics the other day. He looks vulnerable and one news article called him frail.

    • miri says:

      I don’t think he looked frail at all – unless you are comparing him to 2005 or 2008 Rafa, but then The Terminator would look frail compared to him then. Yes, he looks unsure, but I won’t go all the way to frail.

      As I was kind of talking about in the match post comments, he’s had two things he’s used to depending (his body, his family) taken away from him this year. (He’s getting the body back, but I still feel like he’s afraid to trust it.) These were the things that helped him be “with colm.” No matter what, win or lose, he had mom, pops and sister to return to in their happy house. I truly feel that the playing through all that ridiculous pain earlier this year was a way of avoiding going home and facing the reality that his home wasn’t the same anymore.

      The breakdown of those two things had lead to the breakdown of a third thing – perhaps the most important thing for his tennis – his ability to live in the moment on the court. He’s lost the ability to easily connect the dots on the court. That’s often what separates the top players from the rest. Until he can get that back in a solid fashion, he will struggle against the best even when his play is good.

      Anyway, I’m feeling rambling and introspective tonight. In short: He has to re-learn how to be calm and confident on the court in the new grown-up world he’s living in now. I think he can do it, if he (and tennis) gives himself enough breathing room.

      • mary says:

        miri your head must be very clear today as I think what you are saying is right on the mark. Rafa had to grow up hard & quick this year. Like most typical males it was easier to avoid emotional turmoils than to face them. However, in the end it got to him & the impact was greater than we had anticipated.
        Rafa things can only get better, you have to just go with the flow & enjoy your tennis again

      • Denizen says:

        “I truly feel that the playing through all that ridiculous pain earlier this year was a way of avoiding going home and facing the reality that his home wasn’t the same anymore.”

        Well put. Rafa had an extended, privileged, pampered adolescence, and his transition into young adulthood this year was compressed and shrilly unpleasant. Hopefully between the end of this tournament and the beginning of 2010 he can both relax in his home environment and train hard to regain his form and confidence.

        • mary says:

          “Rafa had an extended, privileged, pampered adolescence”
          And you know this for a fact?
          I know what it is like to have a rotten childhood & I know what I have observed to be a privileged, pampered lifestyle. Rafa had a very disiplined & focussed childhood. He may have had all the comforts but he didn’t have the luxury of time to spoil himself. For someone who grew up in comfort compared to me, I am amazed & love the fact he has remained so grounded & humble. He has a great family. This is why with his parents split it’s been that much harder on him. That stability at home is dysfunctional now. It’s not something that happen when he was a child that he could grow up & get use to it. It happened when he was numero uno!!

          • miri says:

            All of these athletes live in a state of perpetual adolescence to an extent. Yes they work hard and have to deal with pressure and expectations, but they also get away without having to learn “real world” lessons that most kids do.

            • mary says:

              I wonder what that would be like growing up in that state?

              • Denizen says:

                No idea, Mary, but I’d LOVE to know. miri, thanks for understanding the point I was trying to make.

                Does Rafa live a pampered life? When discussing buying the Aston Martin, Rafa commented that he doesn’t have many expenses. People and companies give him computers, clothes (Hugo Boss gives him everyday clothes, for example), basically everything he needs or wants. He stays in the finest hotels in their Presidential suites with valets and concierges who are ready to cater to his every need or whim. He gets into the VIP areas in clubs to hobnob with the Real Madrid stars. He doesn’t do his own laundry (just attempting it at the Olympic Village made him think he was a man of the people), do dishes, etc. (this is documented). Basically, he has staff to take care of all the mundane stuff so that all he has to do is focus on tennis and honor his sponsorship and professional obligations. This is not exclusive to Rafa, of course – it’s how it works with the creme de la creme.

                All of these privileges are being accorded to a high school dropout, which most of the top players are except for Blake and Ancic and perhaps some doubles specialists, due to tennis players’ peaking at such a young age.

                Uncle Toni has tried very hard to keep Rafa’s feet on the ground, but that has to be difficult when you’re the “rock star” of the tennis world, no? I think Rafa’s done as good of a job as possible given his status at the top of the tennis world. But he’s been protected from a lot of unpleasantness and a lot of life experiences that most of us had between 17 and 23, so his parents’ splitting up must have been especially jarring.

      • sia says:

        Miri, here I go with my own psychoanalysis of the situation (feel free to let me know if I’m out of line). Rafa, eldest child, highly successful … one can only wonder how this part of the family life has affected Mom and Dad’s relationship. For a child to feel like it is his or her fault for their parents’ divorce is certainly not a new notion. If our Rafa is feeling guilty (young men … men in general … sometimes can make life choices based on their guilt)!; I wonder how this is affecting his tennis life?
        If it is his professional tennis career (or if he thinks this is the case), that has hurt his parents’ marriage then he may be subconsciously sabotaging his game. I know this is a lot of conjecture, but something is obviously still holding him back. Whatever it is … Rafa get well soon.

  4. dk says:

    I am concerned that he is not winning. From the highlights, he seemed desperate to get the ball back more than placing it in a good spot and with speed. I hope that he can get back to his original self. It’s been a few tournaments now that he has been struggling and I understand that he went through some upheaval but how long will it take for him to get back to winning?

    • mary says:

      My sentiments exactly. Rafa has lost some Pizzazz!!!! He needs to let himself go & enjoy. I think he is being too business like & stiff in his approach. He needs to lighten up. Sure it’s been a hard year & I cant’ say how I would be handling things right now if I were in his shoes (thinking somewhere else preferably :) ).
      Rafa’s seems to have a mental blockage, or he is overthinking.
      I have a few techniques that might loosen you up Rafa. But I don’t think I could openly discuss without getting a restraining order. Oh Rafa you are truly missing out. :) ;) ;)

  5. GB says:

    “If you want to still talk about me be No. 1, I can, but I think is not the right moment (smiling).”

    That. That’s why I flove Rafa. Cause, even when he has to feel like crap, he’s lovely to the core. He comes to the presser and isn’t in any way pissy when people ask him questions that he has to think are just ridiculous.

    And this breaks my heart:

    “But I am working really hard to come back at my best level. I think I’m not far away from my best level. But I need little bit more confidence and more calm in that moments, no?”

    I flove Rafa’s fight so much –but working and working some more isn’t necessarily able to give him ‘confidence’ and ‘calm’. Must be so hard to be doing everything he can and still not getting what he wants, no?. It’s almost like the more he wants it, the harder it is to conjure up.

    He’ll get there, but I wish his crappy year didn’t have to get worse, and something could click now.

  6. Dolcefuga says:

    Has anyone read the article on timesonline? Could it be that our dear Rafa is too commercialized now and it’s affecting his game? I am beginning to wonder because it seemed like he is spread too thin between practices/matches and his sponsor commitments. What do you guys think? So sad for the loss and more for Rafa because his confidence took another beating.

    • mary says:

      No I haven’t read it yet, but I did write the following in another thread:-
      “He needs to chill & quite frankly fuck off the media & concentrate on his game. I know I always love to hear & see him anytime, but I’d rather see him out there putting all his energy into kicking butt.”
      So I don’t think for one second he is
      “too commercialized now and it’s affecting his game”. I think he is maybe not focussed enough or his focuss is elswhere or just overthinking his points. I actually think miri summed it up quite well, when she stated:-
      “A friend of mine who’s a Nole fan said Rafa’s play has been bi-polar lately and I think that kind of fits.”
      And I also mentioned in anothere thread:-
      “He didn’t take chances, he didn’t mix his game up & he didn’t come into the net like he could. I noticed that the tourneys he has won on hardcourts, he took risks. He would come into the net, serve & volley & generally mix his game up. I agree with Robby K, Rafa has locked away some of his excellent talent. He needs to find that fucking key & open up his game.
      He is better than all the other players but he has to remember this. And I’m not talking arogance but just knowing who his is & what arsenal he has got!!!”
      His confidence isn’t there & he has admitted it. He just needs to relax & enjoy. He’s forgotten for the moment thats all!!

  7. dk says:

    What will a month off in Dec change? I don’t see it and while I hate to say this, perhaps we are seeing the demise of Rafa Nadal. :-(
    He used to play without fear, where every point was like the last.
    Not anymore…

    • mary says:

      Hey somethings take time. Tennis is as much a mental game as it is physical. Rafa’s had some harsh things impact on him this year. He is not done & dusted, he is trying to find himself again mentally. Fed looked done & dusted this year but found his way back & I believe Rafa is made of tougher stuff than even Fed.
      Don’t despair dk. Lets send some spiritual love. The real thing is much more appealing to me but it’s not possible at this time!!! :(

  8. miri says:

    Scroll down to the bottom of this page for an audio file of the presser.

    • mary says:

      Love his realism & his attitude!!! He knew his match wasn’t where he wanted to be. Rafa you gotta find your “in the moment” again.
      Hey miri great new logo for a T don’t you think?

  9. Atch2 says:

    Rafa sounds like he’s honest with himself, knows where he needs to improve.

    And are the reporters sleeping through his pressers, asking the same questions? Rafa’s gonna start swearing in pressers soon. Now that would make headlines.

  10. Atch2 says:

    Sod’s nice in his presser. Still don’t like him though.

  11. CC says:

    The year end number one question is beyond annoying! Journos are so one dimensional it’s unbelievable… You show them Rafa! ;)

    The interview on Tennistv is luvely. Just when I thought Rafa couldn’t get any more adorable, there he is being just that. Love the hair so much. :D

    “The game can improve sure and gone improve…” Vamos!

  12. Kim_Rafa says:

    You can do it Rafa!! You will improve and come back stronger again! VAMOS!!!