MC: Semi-final presser

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The transcript of Rafa’s post semi presser is up.

Q. If you win tomorrow, it will be the sixth time in a row and you will become the first player in the Open Era to do that. It’s crazy, no?

RAFAEL NADAL: Somebody won five times?

Heh, so much for Rafa not being aware of the numbers. No, Rafa – you are the only one to have won this tournament five times in a row.

Q. No, in any tournament.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, don’t put more pression on me (smiling).

Well, for me that’s the statistics. We going to see the statistics when I finish my career. Just right now I focused on try to play like I am doing.

Tomorrow going to be a tough match anyway to play. Both players are very good. So for me it’s very, very important be in this final after play good start of the season. But losing two tough matches in Indian Wells and Miami, so that is close, no?

Important be another step. Is important points for me. For sure be in the final of Monte Carlo is a dream. So I will try my best to try to play my best match tomorrow.

No more pression! Given how nervous Rafa looked serving for the match in the semi and how head-casey Nando can be, I hope we aren’t in for a head-casey match tomorrow. Confidence, Rafa – you can do it!

Q. I understand when you say you want to finish your career before deciding what is the best record. Up to today, what do you consider your best record of all? You have so many already. Which one is really standing out?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me 81 victories on clay. I think I have 81, yeah. So for me that’s difficult to do it another time (smiling). Yeah, that’s a lot.

That’s not a lot. That’s an obscene amount! (And just to be sure everyone understands: that’s 81 wins in a row on clay.)

Q. And of all the records that Roger Federer has, what do you think is the one that stands out, the most impressive?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me, the semifinals in Grand Slams in a row.

Q. More than the 16 slams?

RAFAEL NADAL: 16 slams are unbelievable, no? But be, I don’t know, five or six years without lose no one time in Grand Slam and playing every Grand Slam and being in semifinals, minimum of semifinals every time, is unbelievable.

I agree with this one – to show up over and over again and not let your concentration slip so much in an early round match against number 200+ in the world… Not to mention being a genetic freak of nature who never gets injured…

Q. You always say it’s been a tough match. After Ferrero, after Ferrer you said the same. How do you explain the easy looking score line every time?

RAFAEL NADAL: I am playing well. I am playing very well. I think I play a very good match today. The last two games, I was a little bit more nervous than usual because I lost two semifinals in a row, in Indian Wells and Miami. But for the rest, I think I played very, very complete match.

No nerves! Be confident! No head-case moments! You can do this! (Was that too cheerleader-y? Sorry.)

Q. Is this the best you’ve felt you’re playing for some time now?

RAFAEL NADAL: I told you, I don’t know, one day during this week, I think I am playing well. But since I start 2010, I am feeling I am playing really well here on clay. On clay probably is a little bit more easier for me to play. The surface adapts a little bit better to my game, or my game adapts a little bit better to clay.

But since I start 2010, I am playing well in almost every tournament. I play really well in Doha, Abu Dhabi, too. Australia maybe was the worst. But when I was playing in quarterfinals against Murray, I was playing at very high level, no? I didn’t win the first set or the second. I don’t know why. But I was playing very high level.

Later in Indian Wells and Miami I had good chance to win, to win both. But I played terrible match in semifinals in Indian Wells. Anyway, I was a little bit unlucky there because I had too many chances. And Indian Wells and Miami, Roddick played well, but I was doing well. I don’t know.

“I told you” and then forgets when. Heh.

Q. With all the airplane problems going out, do you already know how you’re going to get back home or to the next tournament?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me is not a big problem because normally I go by car to Barcelona here. Better by plane because by car is a little bit long, but for me is no problem. I go by car. That’s it.

That’s it. Oh, need someone to ride shotgun?

Q. Do you agree to say you play much better here this year in Monte Carlo than last year?

RAFAEL NADAL: That’s not very difficult.

Heh – was it last year here or in Rome when Rafa said after a set against Nando that he’d just played the worst tennis of his life? (Said it on court while standing right in front of Nando’s team.)

Q. What’s the biggest change?

RAFAEL NADAL: Last year I was in a – you know, seems like is, you know, not easy for me say that. Seems like is strange because I won here, I won Barcelona, I won in Rome, I played the final in Madrid. But seriously, I didn’t play well, you know. I played terrible matches here against Lapentti, against Ljubicic. Another one, I don’t know. The first round, I don’t know against who I played. Chela? I don’t know.

But semifinals and final was better last year. But I started to have a problems in the knees here. I had a little bit personal problems in that moment and mentally wasn’t at the top for me part of the year.

And this year I think I am playing much better because I am running a little bit better, I am playing more aggressive. That’s very important. Forehand is going well. The backhand, too. I am playing much better from every place.

More aggressive is good; running better is good; Rafa is good.

Q. You seem very composed, calm, when you’re playing.

RAFAEL NADAL: Very?

Heh – did they miss a joke? “Very?” as in, “Did you see the game when I was serving for the match?”

Q. Calm and composed, relaxed. Is this because you had maybe some problems before, you’re not feeling this frustration, your mind is clear?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I am playing well. Finally you feel you are playing well, you can be more calm because, you know, if I am playing like this, is just time. I need time. I need more tournaments. That’s it.

In every tournament that I played this year, I had my chance to win the tournament. So when you are there every week, finally you gonna have your chance and finally you gonna win. I don’t know if tomorrow, I don’t know if next week or the next, but the important thing is be there and play well.

Last year I was there. After the injury when I came back, I was there every week, but playing bad. When you are playing bad, if you are there, you have less chance. This year change everything.

Feel free to change everything except for the winning result. ;)

Q. The other semifinal is not over. Djokovic lost the first set. How do you see it different for you to play Djokovic, to play Verdasco? One is more a friend than the other or both are friends?

RAFAEL NADAL: I have very good relation with both players. Sure, with Verdasco I have more relationship because he is Spanish. I know him a little bit better.

But with Novak, I have excellent relationship. Is a very good guy.

We will see what’s happen.

Q. Technically what is the difference?

RAFAEL NADAL: First thing, one is a lefty, another one is righty. The game is completely different. I don’t know if I have to start to say everything.

But is different, completely different styles.

Rafa’s record against lefties is amazing.

Q. How proud are you to have so many Spanish players, Verdasco is not so strong before, how proud are you when Verdasco is playing at this level?

RAFAEL NADAL: Verdasco playing at this level since a year. Since last year in Australia I think he’s playing at very good level. He’s doing well. He’s playing regular all the weeks. That’s good for us.

‘Cause being regular is a good thing.

Q. Do you think because you’re playing so well, the other players are playing well, the Spanish players?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think so. I think Verdasco always had amazing potential. He can play very well. Important thing is if he is focused mentally, his shots are unbelievable, no? So he can be at very high level.

Yeah, sure. He only plays well when other Spanish players are doing well. The heck? And Verdasco has potential…hmmm…is that code for, “He’s been okay until now, but he really could be good. If only he had a head on his shoulders.” ;)

(Thanks to JC for pointing this out to me as it appears to have gone up while I was either out and about or napping.)

23 Responses

  1. Nana says:

    Oh, so Rafa doesn’t like road trips? Not a very patient guy. But it’s fun if you go on one with me =)

    I like his perspective. People only talk about victories but the consistency of Roger being in that many SFs is just incredibly hard to achieve.

    No pression, Rafa, just do your best, OK? Vamos!

  2. tiemyshoe says:

    I really like this presser, and I really like Rafa. <3

    Vamos tomorrow!

  3. CC says:

    It’s criminal that they don’t film these things. This would have been a lovely one to watch, with Rafa making a couple of funnies and talking about the pression.

    Gosh, I know he’s going to feel the pression today, but pleeeaaase Rafa, be with colm and kick some ass on the court. We love you whatever happens, no? :D

  4. CC says:

    BTW, Rafa… With regards to next week. Why don’t you take your Harley (pfffttt…), make a little detour and pick me up to give me a lift to England, before you drive off to Barcelona? I promise, I will hold on tightly. To say the least. ;)

  5. Eliana says:

    Rafa was funny in this presser! About his relationship with Nando, I’ve felt from some time now that they have a love/hate relationship(OK, the hate word being kinda harsh, sorry). Obviously they’re friends but not best buds. I think he gets along better with Feli, Daveeed, and JCF. And I do think that Nando may resent that the sports media is so Rafa-centric, even when referring to DC rubbers were Rafa isn’t even playing.

    Maybe I’m imagining things. If I’m wrong, please enlighten me because I really like both of them-of course Rafa over all others ;)

    • Zooni says:

      I get the same feeling. I think maybe, perhaps Fernando resents the attention Rafa gets, not only that but he might have a little complex problem seeing as Rafa has beaten him every.single.time they’ve played. They’re all very competitive guys and maybe it’s hard being pally with a guy who seems to have your number, on court and off it as well.

      That’s just my feeling. I’m probably way off base though.

      I do flove the Novak/Rafa dynamnic though. They’re adorable.

    • Inés says:

      You are right Eliana, I always have the same feeling about the “friendship” between Fer and Rafa, (btw, nobody in Spain calls Fernando as Nando, everybody here call him Fer). Every time I hear Fer talking about Rafa is with a kind of jealousy and I feel that Fer has a deep envy to Rafa. It was in Wimbly 2008 when almost every Spaniard player that was in this moment in the tourney were in Rafa’s house watching a football match of Spain at the European Championship Cup, everyone except Fer….

      Feli is very best buddy of Rafa as well as David, but Fer, nope, they have a good relationship because both are spaniard and team mates in the Davis Cup, but a friendship? nope, I think no, but it’s my feeling……….

    • alhm says:

      I think Fernando resents Rafa because for a time there Rafa was getting too close to his wife and soulmate.

      Now Verdasco’s put a ring on it and taken back control of the situation. Rafa has to make do with the other, pudgier Lopez.

      • miri says:

        Nando has always struck me as being massively insecure and needing a lot of outside validation. Rafa’s awesomeness can’t help that.

        And Rafa got the better Lopez. ;)

        • tiemyshoe says:

          And Rafa got the better Lopez. ;)

          No doubt! I prefer the scruffier, dorkier Catalan contingent of the Armada (Rafa, Ferru, Marc!) to the more manicured Madridistas (Feli and Fer).

          Although I really like Feli because 1) he always kind of sounds like he’s high, and 2) he and Rafa have really cute interactions where they call each other “tio” like a buncha Spanish fratboys. :P

    • Fay says:

      No no you don’t imagine there is a slight annoyance by Verdasco because Rafa gets so much attention and not just for his tennis career, I remember Robredo once being interviewed and they were asking him questions about Rafa! his reply was ” please I don’t want to talk about Rafa” he sounded a little annoyed by it to be honest… Well you did win Monte-carlo doubles with Rafa Tommy! I read this interview lastnight they are putting them up on the atp site ahead of the MC official site…

  6. CC says:

    I’ve always felt that Rafa and Fernando don’t care much for each other. Not that I know, but we’ve never seen them play playstation in their undies together. :D

    • CC says:

      Sorry, that was a reply to you, Eliana. :)

      • Eliana says:

        Ah, playing Playstation in undies, the only friendship meter ;)

        • Atch2 says:

          That must make Ferrer, Pico and Moya his bestest of buddies.

          • sia says:

            I’m sure every single tennis player out there has to be somewhat jealous of both Rafa and Fed. I don’t think they dislike each other (Rafa and Fernando), but Rafa is more of ‘one of the guys’ and let’s face it … I think Fer would rather hang out with the girls. ;)

            • ava says:

              “I think Fer would rather hang out with the girls.”

              Or his true love, Feli. Don’t forget Feli. Nando will choose Feli over all the girls….

              • Denizen says:

                The Rafa-Feli-Fer dynamic is legendary, isn’t it? Props to Feli for managing it so well. He really doesn’t seem to have any envy or resentment for the others’ success. Loved him interviewing each of them from the TV studio Saturday – maybe he’ll be a commentator one day.

  7. Atch2 says:

    Fed is indeed a genetic freak of nature. A very talented tennis player with very slim arms. Although he has had some back and foot problems that luckily haven’t kept him out of the Slams.

  8. Ch F says:

    “I need more time, I need more tournaments” Oh no, Rafa, you’ve had those, you’re playing great, you don’t need anything. It’s today.

    “No nerves! Be confident! No head-case moments! You can do this!”
    Cheerleader-y or not, you’re right.

    Just do it, Rafa!

  9. hicham says:

    nadal c’est zizo de tennis le fils de mallorca et le amoureux de real madrid

    top top vamos vamos nadal

  10. Madi says:

    Abt Rafa and Fer, Even if you watch MC matches alone, you can see the difference of Rafa – JCF and Rafa – DF matches with the final (with Fer). It was quite clear for me. The body language and how they communicate with just a look and a nod.