[Updated] I need to continue to play well and win

Photo by Miquel Borrás

mary sends in this interview with as.com (Google translation). When asked if the knees and torn tendon were 100%, he answered…kind of.

I’ve been training hard three weeks, from which I was medically discharged for doing so. We’ve done as a pre-season work with the idea of recovering the early-season form, which was to reach Australia. I feel strong and knees do not hurt. Now it is competing.

He goes on to say that during Doha and the AO this year, he felt he was playing better than all of last year. (Even last year’s AO, Rafa? Hmmm) And when asked about the long term:

What happens is that I still consider young. I have 23 years. And in 2010 I’ll still 23 or 24 years. So, I have much to do. In the longer term, I do not know if the knee problem is something that should worry or not. Later it will be watching. Do not know. Now I do not I put it.

Knee problems rarely just go away, so I do think it’s something to worry about and take extra good care of.

He goes on to say that his main objective in the US hard court season is to play well and regain confidence for the clay season.

(In the attic of his home in Rector Square Ruby, in the depths of his private apartments, Rafa Nadal keeps his collection of trophies, something messy: the plates of many Masters Series, replicas of the championship crown at Roland Garros , Wimbledon and Australia … and a striking number of strollers Seat Ibiza, as models: “They were those who gave when he won the Barcelona Open Seat, now, as is the Sabadell Atlantico, no more cars …”)

Strollers? Huh?

He seems to indicate he wants to play the next round of the Davis Cup:

Our next series, in France, will be very hard to pass, we need to be all 100%. And I want to be.

For the rest of the interview, he refuses to say he has a tactical problem against big servers/heavy hitters and just says he needs more confidence and continuity. I’m not sure I 100% agree, but I hope so, Rafa. I hope so. (Of course, he could be saying that his lack of confidence and continuity meant he couldn’t pull off the tactics he knew he needed to employ, in which case I’d be more inclined to agree.)


Thanks to NadalNews lurker Ines, we now have a proper translation:

“I need continuity to play well and win”

AS WITH NADAL CHAPTER 1. Rafael Nadal is already in Indian Wells, USA, where this week he begins to defend his world number three, along with the title he won in Indian Wells in 2009. Before traveling, Nadal, who has not played since January, received AS.

Alejandro Delmas| 09/03/2010

How has all this time been without competing, six full weeks since you suffered a ruptured tendon in Australia? Are you totally ready?

I’ve been three weeks training hard , since I had the medical release to do so. We’ve done pre-season work with the idea of recovering the early season form which I had when I reached Australia. I feel strong and the knees do not hurt me. Now it is time to compete. Fishing? I’ve only been a couple of days, nothing that had much merit. So ,well …

(Rafa Nadal has his headquarters in his private residence in Manacor on the Torre del Palau, at Ruby Rector Square, near the Church of Virgen de los Dolores. La Torre del Palau has existed since the fourteenth century, and belonged to the ancient kings of Mallorca. Nadal is trained at home, in an ultramodern gym, under the command of his trainer Joan Forcades and his physiotherapist Rafa Maymo).

Mentally, Rafa, have you clarified doubts about the injury that knocked you out of Australia, do you think that it was nothing more than an accident? Do you think that you are going the right way to return to the top?

I have no doubt that everything until Australia was working well. Yes I was on the right track. I was playing better than during all of last year. If the idea is to go to tournaments with serious options, it is clear that I did have options in every tournament I played up to Australia. In Doha, I was very close to winning the title, I had two match points against Davydenko. But above all, I was playing better and with sensations that I have not had in all the 2009. And I tell you one thing: it was not easy. From there, you can only ask for continuity.

At this point, it is clear that the situation in the knee, with such incidents, may create doubts or concerns. Later we will talk about how it can affect your game …

What happens is that I still consider myself young. I’m 23 years old. And in 2010 I’ll still be 23 or 24 years old. So, I have much to do. In the longer term, I do not know if the knee problem is something that should worry me or not. We will see as time goes on. I don’t know. Now I don’t think about it.

The logical approach,whatever else happens, will be to start off in the USA and concentrate on the clay court season in Europe, where you defend several thousand points. Besides the reconquest of Roland Garros ...

The first objective, the most immediate, is to play well in the American hardcourt season. Considering, also, the 1,000 points I defend as 2009 IW champion . But the main idea is to play well. To reach the clay season with enough confidence. Without that confidence and without continuity, to compete is always more difficult.

The clay of Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Paris … Rafa Nadal’s clay.

It can’t be denied that a good clay season in Europe is one of the major objectives; considering,also, the points that I defend . When I come back to play in Spain, the plan is to reappear in Barcelona, at the Barcelona Open. That tournament has always been one of my big goals.

(In the attic of his home on the Plaza Rector Rubi­, in the in the innermost of his private apartments, Rafa Nadal keeps his collection of trophies, somewhat disorganised: many Masters Series shields, replicas of the championship crown at Roland Garros , Wimbledon and Australia … and a striking number of scale-sized Seat Ibiza models: “Those were given to me when I won the Barcelona Open Seat, now, is the Sabadell Atlantico, no more cars …”)

The idea is to reappear in Spain at the Godo, but certainly, for schedule, you could have done it sooner, in the Davis Cup in the tie Spain-Switzerland. Are you still keeping the Davis (Cup) as one of the major objectives in your agenda? Or is that moving away?

The Davis Cup has always been a big goal for me and it cannot be forgotten that in the Davis, I have reached some of the most exciting wins of my career, like that tie in Brno with the Czech Republic and my first title in Seville. Also, for me it remains an honor and pride when you’re playing with your teammates defending your country. But I need to measure my efforts. And. ..

Go ahead …

In this situation, when we made plans for the season, with the schedule in hand, we saw the initial opponent was Switzerland. Normally, Roger Federer does not usually play that first round with Switzerland. It was clear that without Federer, Spain had good options and a good team to beat the Swiss: with or without me. I felt I had to measure efforts when it be needed. This time, I thought I needed to do it like this. Nothing more.

Which means …

…That our next tie, in France, will be very hard and to get through it, we all need to be 100%. And I would like to be there.

Before talking about the hardcourt and clay season, I tried to focus the question on another issue:your possible tactical change in the game caused by wear and tear and the injury problems. Do you feel that, in some way, now you have more problems beating the big guns of the two-handed backhand, Del Potro, Djokovic, Soderling, Cilic …? I’m not talking about Federer.

Hmmm, no: it is not like this. It is not even a tactical problem. I see it more of a continuity. You need continuity and confidence to play well and win.

But the bad results and problems in the second half of 2009 against that player’s list we’ve mentioned have been evident.

I know that, at my best and when I played well, I defeated Del Potro. Or Djokovic. With Cilic I lost, but we only played once. I can win … playing well, of course. As I said, it is not tactical. It is not a question of backhand or backhands. If you have confidence and have continuity, you have more options to play well and if you play well, you have more chances to win. The one who wins more matches is the one better prepared for it. And everything I say comes with preparation.

Anyway, I insist, Del Potro at the U.S. Open and Djokovic in various scenarios were rather superior to Nadal in the second part of the 2009 season.

Well … those victories, the Del Potro one at U.S, Open and Djokovic at the Cincinnati Masters do not count much for one simple reason: I had an abdominal rupture. Additionally, I have been facing them in recent times, on the most difficult courts for me. I can say it say again: Continuity is what I’ve been missing.

The fact is that in Indian Wells, Rafa Nadal begins what it may be called a new season. Can you think about a new assault on the world number one?

I work every day to be 100%. I work hard to go to every tournament knowing I can compete with guarantees. We’ll see what happens. The number one will have to be seen, it will depend on factors, I must be very well during a long time. It is not now a priority.

31 Responses

  1. kefuoe says:

    By the way, the French will have home court advantage for the Davis Cup quarterfinals. They are planning on a fast indoor court in Paris.

  2. patzin says:

    Not sure, but the stroller translation seems to have something to do with cars. Interesting and as always Rafa is looking forward, not backwards. As to DC, I’ve read the French team wants indoor hard courts; they certainly would not want to play at RG courts. Spain has good players on all surfaces.

    • miri says:

      I thought the same thing about strollers = cars. It just cracked me up. I had a mental image of players getting a baby stroller when winning a tournament. :)

  3. CC says:

    Right, so I think we can safely say that Rafa needs confidence and continuity. You show’em Rafa!

    “…his collection of trophies, something messy…”

    What?! He doesn’t keep his trophy collection tidy?! I’m shocked. ;)

    Love, love, love the photo. I want a house in Mallorca. With a balcony like that. So jealous…

    • An says:

      I want to live in that house in Mallorca! And yes, off course Rafa can keep living there too;)

      • An says:

        But i guess that wasn’t much “new” to you :D

      • CC says:

        You know, I’d be happy to be his nice neighbour, that every now and then gets invited to “the depths of his private apartments” to look at his favourite trophy. And who knows, one day he might even let me touch the trophy… ;)

        *faints*

    • Nic says:

      Love love love the pic too. Looks like it was taken for this article. Immediately recognised the scenery :) Imagine, we know Rafa’s home so well haha. What don’t we know? :D

      • Nic says:

        Oh yeah and I love the V jacket from RG. Was actually one of my favourite Rafa kits last year.

  4. Ch F says:

    Having read the interview in Spanish, I’d say Rafa seems to think continuity brings confidence and confidence brings victory. The problem is, he won’t always have continuity if this knee problem doesn’t go away, which it won’t entirely. So how will he have that much needed continuity? It really was unfortunate that the last time he got injured he was so close to his best level. Let’s hope this time his knee will allow him to gain some momentum, since it’s clearly very important for him. Or, that he will find a way to not depend on continuity and momentum that much, which knowing Rafa is unlikely to happen.

  5. EJL says:

    i wonder about his tactics , think that the knees will let him play tennis but what kind i don’t know- maybe the one that lets him be offensive, drive flat shots and take more risks( without putting excessive strain on him).oh God let it happen * can’t think of another way to let things fall back into place

    • natch says:

      Hey! Rafa being forced to completely change his game. That might be kinda interesting to watch unfold. Like you said, it’s not likely, but it would be interesting.

  6. tiemyshoe says:

    Yeah, that France tie will be no joke.

    Rafa’s way tight-lipped about tactics. He can barely be forced to admit that he hits to Federer’s backhand. I agree the big issue is execution for him – I contend he had the best tactical intentions against Murray at AO, but couldn’t execute precisely.

    Of course, the other part of the ‘tactics’ discussion is the stubbornness lots of champions have. He’s not about to change his game willy-nilly.

    Anyway, I predict his interviews and pressers around IW will be an exercise in extreme expectations-management, even more than usual.

    • miri says:

      Rafa’s way tight-lipped about tactics. He can barely be forced to admit that he hits to Federer’s backhand.

      Which is why I was dying laughing to the AO Hit for Haiti when Fed broke down Rafa’s hitting tactics against him. “You serve to the backhand, then hit to the backhand, then….” Dying.

      • Nic says:

        LOL I cracked up when Fed said that too. Couldn’t believe he joked about it so freely like that!

        • sia says:

          I don’t think this is a big secret .. OR that Rafa is the only one to employ such tactics.
          It is just that with Fed most players don’t have the same amount of control over the point … Rafa does.

  7. Rafafan says:

    EJL

    I absoluetly agree with you. But the problem is, the confidence will not be with his game or being back to his level but the confidence will be in his knees.

    Have to be honest – even with a new form strategy (which he needs to aim for in the “real matches” – you know short points, straight to the net) if the knees go well …. they go no?

    This is the only shocking thing about the whole scenario. N0-one seems to know what gonna happen next, apart from the vultures of the media out there.

    As much as I want to I don’t think I can put my entire mortgate for Rafa to win FO not like I used to and heah – that not breading confidence is it. As rafa says – you can only do that by winning but its a catch 22 situ win Rafa v knee, Rafa v strategy, Rafa of old v now. Anyway one thing for sure we are so in exciting waiting for the unexpected – lets hope it’s the expected of him to win. He used to be so so so consistent before. x

    • Rafafan says:

      Also checking out some of the betting sites (not that I bet!) but wondered how they view our Rafa – they seem to be more interested in taking the next bet when he will pull out injured! God its so painful. Vamos Rafa – win with your strategy and show them what your mad of x

  8. EJL says:

    i’ve totally taken ur point bec of coincidence of views and hopes”it all goes well”. ailments and setbacks bring changes but i’m sure these will do no serious harm to his winner and fighter character traits

  9. Maria says:

    After reading part 2 of the interview as well, my opinion is that Rafa seems to downplay every issue raised by the reporter: the AO injury, the knees, the absence from the DC tie over the weekend, the losses against big hitters, the expectations for IW and Miami, the expectations for the long term, the no 1. But, then, I guess it’s not atypical of Rafa to not allow reporters hijack him into conversations that would lead to places where he doesn’t want to go to.
    My favourite part are the answers to the questions ref the recent bad results against big hitters. He just would not admit that he has tactical problems and blames them on anything else (injury & least favoured surface with Del Potro & Djokovic, not knowing the man with Cilic, and lack of continuity with all of them & the others). Especially the explanation for the defeat against Cilic cracks me up. Is it me or it became a bit of a haunting memory for Rafa that Cilic match? I can’t remember when and where, but I think he recently said in an interview that it was a match he shouldn’t have lost.
    Anyway, even if I’m not 100% buying Rafa’s statements (did he play better at the start of the season than ALL of 2009? he doesn’t know whether he should be concerned about the knee injury and for the moment wouldn’t lose sleep over that?), they are a welcome change from the gloom & doom of ‘what’s become/what will become of Rafa’ media refrain we’ve been hearing so much these days.

  10. miri says:

    I added a proper translation via a helpful lurker.

  11. CC says:

    Phew…that’s much better. Thanks for the translation Ines. Oh, and don’t lurk, come out and play! :)

  12. djb says:

    Rafa may not be admitting certain truths to the media, but I’m sure he’s well aware of what’s what. I do agree with a few others who believe that “execution” is the key for Rafa. When he executes his game plan, more times than not, he will come out on top with a victory.

    The DC matchup against France is gonna be a dogfight, with Tsonga, Monfils, Gasquet and Simon. Hopefully Rafa and his other Spanish teammates will be 100% healthy, committed, and ready to go, because I will definitely be pulling for them.