IW: Post round of 16 presser

Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The presser transcript is up.

Q. You said before you’ve had trouble feeling calm, and it seems today that you have your calm back. Is that true?

RAFAEL NADAL: What?

Q. You’re being calm. You’ve had trouble being calm, you said, in certain situations. It seems that now you are able to be calm when you need to be.

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.)
Well, when you are playing well, it’s easy to be with calm than when you are not playing at your best, no?

But today was really difficult match, no? So I know I have to play my best tennis. I did really well, I think. I only played a really bad game in the third — fourth game of the second set.

But the rest of the match I’m very happy how I did, no? I think John is a big player, very difficult to play against him, and he has an unbelievable potential. So for me it is a very important and very good victory.

The questioner must have been saying “calm” instead of “colm” and it threw Rafa off.

Q. What did you like about John’s game? What do you think will make him a dangerous player?

RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, that not will make. He is very dangerous player, no? Maybe will make a top player, really top player, no? But dangerous, always with dangerous, no?

You know, when you have one serve like this — better don’t just talk more, now? Because if he improves just a little bit more, gonna be very difficult to stop him, no?

So, yeah, because he has good movements around the court. He can go to the net. He can improve the volley, but he volley well and he has a very good forehand, so gonna be really difficult to stop him if he keep improving like this.

Dang it. I want the freaky-talls off tennis courts, now! Can we set a height limit? Have one of those little figures with a raised hand standing outside the courts like in amusement parks? But instead of being as tall as the raised hand, you have to be able to walk under it without ducking…

Q. It looked like you were moving well this afternoon. Did you feel like you were?

RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t move well?

Q. No, I said it looked like you were moving well. Did you feel like you were?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.)
I am playing well. I am doing really well this tournament. I am very happy to be in quarterfinals. It’s very good news for me after the injury come back and playing like this, winning very important match today, very difficult match against one of the best players of the world.

I am feeling okay physically, no? I am feeling really well, and I am feeling good on court.

We are feeling good about you feeling good. There’s a lot of good feeling going on here…

Q. How does his serve compare to, like, Karlovic?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is different. Both are unbelievable. The second serve of Isner is better than the Karlovic second serve, the second serve of Karlovic.

And, well, against Karlovic probably the first serve is more difficult to return, the Karlovic one, but not much difference.

In the end, it’s more difficult to play against John because it’s not enough put the ball inside. So against Karlovic for sure the same, not enough to put ball inside, no?

But if you put the ball inside you gonna have more chances to play the point. Against John, if you play the ball inside, he gonna have a winner, forehand winner.

So that’s makes more difficult to return his serve.

He’s so very careful not to say, “Well, Karlovic has no game.” :)

Q. Do you think Daniel Nestor should be worried that maybe you are the best left-handed doubles player now in the world?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, that’s for sure none. I not gonna have — I play here and Miami, but I — well, don’t worry. They — he’s doesn’t need to be worried about my doubles. (laughter.)

*Pictures the team of Nadal/Zimonjic.* I think I need some alone time now.

Doubles in Miami? Squee!

Q. Do you like playing doubles?

RAFAEL NADAL: I like play doubles with friends. Marc is very good friend, and for me is — in long tournaments like these ones, you have day off, you can play, no, and I enjoy.

You know, that’s makes me improve a lot the volley, because today my volley improved a lot than the first days, no? That’s because I played two matches before in doubles, and that can help me for the singles, too.

I can return more aggressive than the singles, and I practice a little bit more the serve, no? I play more relaxed, so that’s important, no? I feel my volley improves in the last three days, so that’s important thing.

Sure, I am very happy to be in semifinals of doubles for me, and especially for my partner. But important thing for me, too, is play doubles to keep improving my game on singles.

*nods* Miami? Please?

Q. Are you surprised you’re in the quarterfinals of doubles?

RAFAEL NADAL: Semifinals. (laughter.)

Q. I’m sorry, semifinals.

RAFAEL NADAL: Specialist. (laughter.)
No, well, you can. You can do it. I don’t know. Yeah, in doubles anything can happen.

Just stop beaning your partner with your serves!

Q. At this stage of the tournament do you need to take it up a level, or are you playing at a level that can take you all the way to the title at this point?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know. I happy. I really happy how I am playing.

Q. You’re happy with your level?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

Level, level, happy, happy, level. got it.

Q. And just your next opponent.

RAFAEL NADAL: He’s playing well.

Q. Another big hitter.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he’s playing well, 6-0, 6-3 against Verdasco; 6-1, 6-3 against Troicki today. I didn’t saw him play, but with the results, he must be playing really well.

So gonna be really difficult match, and hard. I prefer to play during the day, because, for me, the topspin is easier during the day than the night. But gonna be a really tough match, and I will be ready. For me it’s a very important match.

Or, you know, the other guys were playing like crap…

Q. Do you know when you’re playing?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, 7:30.

Sorry you are stuck with a night match, but it means I get to watch it live…and it’s all about me, you know?

Q. Berdych is a big mystery; Berdych is so talented hits the ball so hard, but he’s like this. Does it make it difficult to play him because you never know exactly what the mental side on the other side of the net?

RAFAEL NADAL: I always saw him really good player, no? Sometimes I don’t understand why he’s not more up in the ranking, yeah. I think he has an unbelievable potential. I don’t know.

No, no, I gonna be on court, very focused knowing I gonna play against one of the best players of the world. Gonna be really difficult. I have to play my best.

Is there any player that isn’t one of the best players of the world?

Q. You’ve been playing a lot of tennis, but have you gotten to play any golf?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, I played. I did. I did some days well, some days worse.

Q. Fred Couples giving you any pointers? Are you playing with him out there? I know he was watching you.

RAFAEL NADAL: We played three times already with him. Just can say thanks very much, because it’s amazing play with Fred.

Well, for me, be around one of the best players of the world and Augusta champion is amazing. For me, the most important thing is he’s unbelievable person, too, no? All the time he cares about us and if we need something — well, everything, no?

So he’s very, very nice. Nice person, very happy to meet him.

Oh – not only all tennis players are the best of the world, but also golfers? ;)

Q. Did he give you any tips? Did he help your game?

RAFAEL NADAL: It wasn’t enough. (laughter.)

Heh

Q. How did you and Freddie become friends?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, my team, we met him here last year, yeah. We went to play the most amazing golf course I ever played in the Madison Club. He gave us the chance to go there, and is, well, nicest golf course I ever played. So, yeah, was unbelievable fun.

Now everyone knows what club to stalk…

11 Responses

  1. nic says:

    Rafa sounds so relaxed and adorable in this interview. I always like his self-deprecating remarks. Like whether Fred Couples gave him pointers, and he responds “wasn’t enough” :) Can imagine a big grin and chuckle.

    Miri, I’m with you about the freaky talls! We need to petition the height limit I tell ya.

  2. kefuoe says:

    My goal for Miami: Drive Nadal somewhere and get him to call me the best driver of the world!

  3. Necitas says:

    Height limit please!!! :)

    • Suzanne says:

      When has anyone’s height ever bothered our Rafi? He seems to do quite well against them and big servers don’t really have his number either. I used to shake and shiver when I saw he was going to face Dr. Ivo, but I’ve never seen him lose to him, so now I see it like pretty much any match.

      • miri says:

        Del Potro beat him 3 times last year. Cilic pummeled him once.

        Besides, even if Rafa beat them every time, I’d still want the freaky talls off the tennis courts!

  4. Atch2 says:

    Rafa’s sound so happy and is so funny, cracking up the reporters. I want to see the vid for this badly.

    I luv that he’s so complimentary of Isner and corrects the questioner “Oh, that NOT WILL MAKE. He is very dangerous player, no?”.

    I think it would be fun to watch Rafa/Marc! play against Isner/Querrey in the doubles final. Team Cute vs Team Trees.

    And yeah, too bad he couldn’t get a day match like he wanted. I’m glad he got some big servers like Ancic and Isner before facing Berdy though.

    • Suzanne says:

      The doubles final is going to be televised sometime after 5pm Pacific Time on the Tennis Channel. I don’t know who they’ll play against, Nestor and Zimonjic are ahead by a set and two breaks right now. Rafi and Marc! will have more rest (for a change) before the final, so although they’ll likely face the number one seeds, I think they have a great chance to win…Rafi has the eye of the tiger and they have been in fuego big time! Let’s see two teetles in one weekend guys!!! BTW, I heard Fred Couples say that Rafa finished one round at two under par. That is spectacular! How fun it is to have my favorite golfer of all time be pals with my favorite tennis player of all time. Have a great weekend watching, everyone!!! Rafi ROCKS!!!

  5. teejustice says:

    Ooh, I hope they play dubs in Miami. Last year I saw them on the grandstand court which was great.

  6. mel says:

    hey thanks a heap for posting this. ive had the day from hell at work and only another couple of hours to go so this has cheered me up no end. One of the girls was wondering why I was laughing so much. he certinly manages to get a few laughs out of the reports which is a first.

    Hopefylly I will be able to finish work and get home in time to watch the last set. VAmos Rafa, know you can get through to the semis!

  7. slt says:

    No height limit. I love Big John. I just love Rafa more. But being an American, we need some up an comers who are going to start bringing home some trophies because Rafa will eventually retire. I just hope not for a long time :)