Rome: Final presser article

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/ AFP/ Getty Images

From an article on Rafa’s post-match presser on the tournament site:

Spraying the ball-kids with champagne, speaking Italian at the ceremony and laughing all the way through-Rafael Nadal had won the title and he was going to enjoy it!

The joy he radiated came in stark contrast to the broody figure he cut before the tournament began, when despite coming off an incredible tournament in Monte Carlo, he seemed as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Or maybe the weight of the press constantly asking, “When’s the slump going to be over” off his shoulders…

“When you have some bad moments and every week you are trying to be there and try to win…” said Nadal, before going through a litany of missed opportunities between May 2009 and April 2010 when he failed to win a tournament. “The semi-finals in Miami, the finals in Doha, in Australia the quarter-finals…… last year I played badly for the last six months of 2009 and so lots of times I was there but I wasn’t ready to win important matches. But I was there – so when you lose the semi-finals or the finals it’s hard to accept, but at the same time, I worked a lot and started working towards the next tournaments. So, it’s a nice moment now and I’m winning – after 11 months of not winning a title.”

It’s go to feel so much better after all that hard work.

“I didn’t have any problems with my knees the whole week which is unbelievable for me, for the last two tournaments, and so that is very important for me. But now is not the moment to talk about my knees. The important thing is that I’ve won a very important tournament and I’m very happy. Probably I didn’t play as well as Monte Carlo, but the important thing is winning. Winning a tournament like Monte Carlo and losing 14 games doesn’t happen every week. Can you remember lots of Master 1000 tournaments where (the winner lost) that many games? I can’t. I lost one set and had a very difficult match yesterday (against Ernests Gulbis in the semi-final), a very difficult set against Wawrinka and a difficult first set (today). I am probably more happy winning without playing my best because it’s more a mental thing.”

Hey! That’s just what we were saying yesterday. Awww…we are in synch with Rafa.

“I’ve had a lot of bad days in the past five or six years. The thing is to maintain high motivation to keep winning. The important thing is to have enough motivation to want to improve all the time – this is the main thing for me, all of my career and all of my life and it’s something that I’m still doing. For about eight months or longer I didn’t win a tournament and then I won some in the past two months. Every time I go on court I try my best and I try to do this all the time.”

We know you do, Rafa. I think that’s the one thing no one can ever question about you.

And with that, he smiled. And when a supremely gifted player is finally fit enough to “try his best all the time” and explore the limits of his enormous potential, then tennis fans the world over can afford to smile as well.


18 Responses

  1. g says:

    It’s so amazing. Rafa won a record tying 17th Masters title in a much shorter amount of time than Agassi. He should celebrate big time and should skip Madrid to rest the knees for RG. Go Rafa!

  2. aRafaelite says:

    By the end of his career, Rafa will have blown Agassi’s record to smithereens! He needs to play Madrid though to keep the momentum going and perhaps knock off a Top Ten player or two along the way so he can go into RG full steam ahead, no doopts whatsoever. Despite not liking the conditions in Madrid I think he has a good chance to win it this year. VAMOS!

  3. mel says:

    WEll done Rafa, thats a bit victory especially after playing such a touch match against Gulbis yesterday.

    I dont think he can afford to skip Madrid, if he did thats 3 weeks without any matches and thats too much for Rafa.

    As its a Spanish crowd Im sure he will fire up and be at his brilliant best with some dazzling passing shots. Vamos!

  4. tiemyshoe says:

    No problems with the knees! That’s all I need to hear.

    • Denizen says:

      Yeah, if his knees and teeth are truly OK, then I have no problem with his playing Madrid. He has a week off this week, unlike Federer and Djokovic (among others), as well as another week off after Madrid.

  5. TU2 says:

    Congratulations to Rafa and Ferrer. I think Rafa should skip Madrid if he wants to win RG. Madrid starts May 10, and RG starts on May 24. He should stay home and feel all the blessings and at the same time take care of his health to be fit for RG. I hope his team is smart to think of that and had learned their lessons from the previous year. Thank you for posting. Prayers for Rafa. Vamos Rafaaaaaaaaaa <3

  6. Kate says:

    Well from a selfish point of view i don’t want him to skip Madrid on the other hand he must do what is best for him and I am sure he will make the right decision.

  7. Atch2 says:

    I luv that Rafa is so aware and balanced. He’s such a good role model as an athlete and person in general. Almost everyday he gives me more reasons and confirmations of why I’m a Mad Rafanatic. And like Miri said, we know that you will always try your best.

    I have confidence that Team Nadal will make the correct decisions, in everything especially the scheduling.

    And so happy to hear that Rafa’s knees are maintaining their silence.

  8. sia says:

    I’m smiling :)

  9. arwen says:

    Knees are ok. this was the thing I want to hear the most. Cause if his knees are ok no one can beat him on any surface.

    while knees are ok it is time for regaining the top spot and french crown back. vamos big champ!!!!

  10. Fay says:

    Really enjoyed reading the transcript, Rafa’s words are always so deep, he has a huge heart for everything he says, what a champ, and of course it would have been nice if he had beaten a top ten player but he beat Ferrer comprehensively enough, who in turn beat Fernando and Murray!, Djokovic too wasn’t strong enough either to make it to the final, its not Rafas fault, most importantly he beat the guy who was on a hot streak after beating Federer, (he won that match mentally), so there is alot to take away from this tournament I feel. Besides the way he was playing in MC if he had met a top 10 player he would have taken him down anyway. As for Madrid, thats a tough won, after last years problems there should he go? if he were to lose to a stronger opponent there would he lose his momentum going into RG? and risk injury? He has a week to train well and fix that blister, if he committed he would gain valuable matches prehaps? Roger will be coming off Estoril 99% winning that won and will want his chance to defend his title. Still I hope his team or should I say trust his team to make the right decision. God bless you Rafa always!!!

    • Karen says:

      Just reading this makes me glow & to know his knees are good is even better. He sure does deserve a well earned rest this week.

    • CC says:

      That voice over makes me want to punch something. Hard. I’d love to hear what he says, it’s so frustrating.

      Heh. Whatever’s in Rafa’s ear obviously tastes good! And he hasn’t shaved yet. Hot.

      What does the lady ask at the end? What was written on…where? Whatever it was, he can’t say. Just whisper to me, Rafa. I’m dying to know now!

      • miri says:

        Heh – they hadn’t gotten around to putting last year’s winner on the trophy, so it was still showing the 2008 winner (not Rafa) as the most recent one and not listing his 2009 win.

        • CC says:

          Ah, thanks! Funny that he wasn’t allowed to say…even funnier that he asks permission. :)

  11. Fay says:

    This is such a long interview, shame we cannot hear what he is saying but hey watching a freshly showered Rafa in crisp white sweatshire is fine too no? me thinks Rafa still has shampoo in his ears! hee hee Rafa!

    • CC says:

      Ah, it must be my peppermint shampoo that he borrowed from my shower the other day. It tingled his ear. And tasted good. ;)