The transcript of Rafa’s presser can be found here.
Q. How would you describe your performance today compared to your first two matches.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it wasn’t bad. Wasn’t enough, but wasn’t really bad.
Yeah, you know, it was a match that I didn’t play for a lot, just to try to finish with not bad feelings. And I think I did for moments. I did some different things than I did the other days. I play some good forehands. I was serving a little bit better today. Outside serve on the deuce was really good, and some good serves to the body on advantage, too. I happy about how I served today, no?
For the rest, the same as the other days. Decisive moments, this necessary calm, for example, the forehand in 6-5 of the tiebreak, was an easy ball. And when you are playing good, that wouldn’t be a problem, that ball. But, you know, I had the mistake, I lose the set, and with that set the match.
IMHO, it was that serve to the body that won him is match against Nole in the Olympics. I think he has to feel good with his serve to do it, so I’m hoping the fact the was attempting it is a sign of progress.
Q. How disappointing is it to come to London and not win a match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not very disappointing, no. It’s disappointing if you arrive here with the feeling that you have a big chance to win. But I didn’t arrive here with that feeling. I know before the tournament that going to be really tough, difficult. But I tried. Every day I tried my best. Nobody can say.
I tried in every practice, in every match my best, and tried to improve every day. And I think I improved a little bit. But, you know, that’s tennis. I’m playing against the best players of the world. It wasn’t enough on this surface, no?
Just still working.
Still working. That’s the tennis.
Q. You requested the trainer during the second set. What was the problem with your back?
RAFAEL NADAL: I felt a little bit with one serve in one-game-all in the second. I felt then, no? I felt the back, the low back. With one serve, when I finished the serve, after, I put the forehand to the net, no? But with that serve I felt a little bit and was difficult still serving and a little bit more with the backhand, no? When I had to do the rotation, it wasn’t easy.
I hope it’s going to be okay for next weekend!
Q. In what way do you feel a part of Soderling’s success this year? First Paris that started off his climb to the top and now here in London.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, probably he’s more mentally focused than before. He always had the big shots, big serve and big shots. Nobody understand before why Soderling wasn’t in higher ranking than what he did in the last few years, no? So for me, that’s normal.
He finally connected the dots.
Q. Is this a tournament you want to forget or will you use it for the Davis Cup, as Fernando also lost three matches?
RAFAEL NADAL: No want to forget one tournament. I only want to forget the tournaments that I didn’t play for the injuries. For the rest, every tournament is important.
Anyway, if you lose, you have to learn with the victories and the loses [sic]. Better with the victories than to lose.
No, this tournament give me different feelings and give me probably the opportunity to see what I have to do to play better and to start the next year better. I not gonna say I not gonna start very well next year. I see the way what I have to do if I want to be more competitive in these kind of surfaces with that players for the next year, no? The goal is try to play hard and arrive generally in perfect conditions.
Always trying to find the positive.
Q. What do you plan to work on in order to get the confidence back for next season after the Davis Cup?
RAFAEL NADAL: Just work. Sure still working a little bit more with the serve. I have little bit more control of all the shots, no? Have the feeling that when you are playing a point you’re not going to have a mistake. That’s the first thing, you know. That’s, I think, gonna be very difficult. Because when I practice and when I am without problems, after you can win, you can lose. But the feeling you gonna have mistakes, that’s a good things that I have. In this surface, that’s one more difficult thing for me to play that way, especially against these players. But I think that not gonna be a big problem.
But the other thing is play more aggressive. For example, I have to be more aggressive on the first shot. You know, after the serve, when I touch the first forehand, I have to attack more than what I did in this last months, no? Sure, when you are with less confidence, is more difficult to do it. But the confidence gonna come back. And when the confidence come back, I have to be ready. I have to be trained enough to do it when the confidence come back, no?
That’s it. After the serve, play more aggressive with the forehand and recover my forehand winner and my intensity and my rhythm on the forehand. For the rest, when I am playing well with the forehand, the backhand gonna improve a lot.
Being worried about making mistakes? Yes. not a good place to be and it explains a lot.
Q. How do you feel before the Davis Cup finals? Are you confident enough after this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope. I hope, yeah. No, I am confident. I know gonna be a difficult final. The change on clay, gonna be a big change. Gonna be always difficult in the beginning.
But, you know, that’s a big motivation for me, finish the year winning. And I have the opportunity there, no, to play well, to play good tennis on clay, and to win, to win something important for my country and for the friends. Win together, that’s what we gonna try, no? I know gonna be difficult. But we are confident. If we are playing well, we’re gonna have a good chance.
Q. Until a few months ago, everyone was always talking about you as a very powerful player, a player capable of always playing close to the baseline.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. You think? I heard a lot of times I am a defensive player, anyway, when I was winning (smiling).
Love it. The press has just about always described him as a defensive player – one who could turn defense into offense quickly, but still mainly defensive.
Q. Attacking from the baseline was your game. Very deep, in general, very powerful. Now sometimes they are saying you don’t seem that powerful anymore.
RAFAEL NADAL: Finish battery (smiling). I need to charge a lot.
Q. You need to recharge?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Nodding head.)
I’ll bring a lot of battery rechargers to Barcelona in case you need a few spares.
Q. What is your feeling about it, apart from the batteries? Do you think you have lost a little strength somewhere?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. The battery sometimes finish and you have to buy another ones. That’s what I gonna do for next year, no? Charge and practice hard. Only practicing you can come back to your best level. That’s what I did all my life. I gonna still do it, no?
That’s the thing, no, practice hard to recover your physical performance a hundred percent. When you feel better physical, you can play more aggressive because you are not feeling tired after the points. That’s important. And, sure, recover the confidence on the shots, no? Later everything is easier.
Confidence = no longer over-thinking every shot.
Q. Back to the Davis Cup final. Who is the best player, Stepanek or Berdych?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every one. Every match will be difficult. Both players play well on clay. That’s not the final that if you play — anyway, sometimes you play at home, but you play against some players that they are not specialists on clay. But they have very good results on clay, too.
We are very focused and we know how tough gonna be the final. We know the Czech Republic wants to win the Davis Cup, too, no? But we hope be in enough well to win that final. We gonna have one week to play together there and to practice together, to work like a team. And I think gonna be a good week before start. I think every one of our team are emotional to play this final and we have a lot of motivation for that final, no?
Memo to the world: Don’t take a win for granted. A win is possible, but will require hard work. Go Team España!
Q. How much more do you feel you need to go up in your game to be totally satisfied with the way you’re playing?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think the sport is not mathematics. Is more difficult to say that, that answer, no? Sometimes that’s change with one victory.
Just the thing is practice enough well to be ready to win next year.
I think he needs to go up 10 meters.