Wimbly: Semifinal presser
The presser is up on the Ubi Tennis site.
Q. You didn’t look very much like the No. 2 player in the world today.
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, seriously, that’s something that really doesn’t matter a lot. You know, I said last year when I was No. 3 or No. 4. I said when I was No. 1 for me is not a big goal for me.
For me big goal is be competitive, be healthy. Be competitive every time when I am on court and try to be at my best in the important moments, no, in all the tournaments, because all the tournaments are important, no?
Yeah, today I lost the No. 1. I did lost the No. 1. One guy played unbelievable the first half of the year so he’s the new No. 1. We just can congratulate him because what he did this first part of the season is something really impressive, really fantastic.
I am happy about how I did. I think in normal conditions I would be No. 1 — or a lot of chances to keep being the No. 1 for me for a few more time, because my results are really good the first part of the season, too. But one guy did unbelievable, and congratulations.
Just because he won’t be #1 on Monday, doesn’t mean he has to feel bad about a damn thing. He’s had a great year so far. It’s just that someone else had one a notch better.
Q. Zero unforced errors in the second set, two in the third, one in the fourth. How did you manage?
RAFAEL NADAL: Total seven, yeah, and 37 winners, so the statistics are really unbelievable. The true, I don’t know. The statistics is something that — we have to have a look about the statistics, but not everything is statistics, no?
In general, I think Andy played very, very high level especially the first set and the beginning of the second, too. Seriously I felt he was better player than me at that moment, so I just waited for my moment.
I felt that I am playing well the first set, too, but he was playing really good, really aggressive, serving really well. I was there all the time. I was little bit lucky – I don’t know exactly – the first or second game of the second set with 15-30, he had an easy forehand in the middle of the court and he miss. He miss the shot long. So after that was probably the turning point of the match.
I think after that he had a bad game with his serve. He had 30-15, and he had unforced error with the forehand, double-fault, and after he miss a smash.
After that, the match was close, because I was playing well, too. He lost probably little bit the intensity of the beginning. But that’s true, play like he played in the first set is not easy. Is really difficult. He played really complete tennis.
After that I think I played little bit better than the beginning. I was playing well the beginning, but probably I improved little bit the level, and I played probably my best match this year here.
Statistics don’t convey that killer instinct – that split second when you know your opponent is vulnerable and thus it’s time to turn up the hit and go for your shots more. Rafa did exactly that when Murray missed that shot. He did his best, by playing his best, to remind Murray that he can’t miss a ball – not one damn ball. That gave Murray a bit too much to worry about.
Q. Statistics are not important, but you played five finals in Wimbledon of the last five tournaments you played here. That is a great statistic. What do you think about that? Because only Borg, McEnroe and Federer have done it.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it’s something for me very important. Always Wimbledon was my dream. After is my 2003, 2005, and after five finals, so it’s my seventh Wimbledon probably in my career. Seventh? Eighth?
RAFAEL NADAL: Seventh, so… I never thought that I gonna be able to play five finals, so today is a very important victory for me and very happy for everything, no?
I think is a great effort after, you know, four years without a Spanish playing the semifinals or finals here. After the last five years – well, not 2009 – but in five years we were there, have a Spanish in the final, so that’s a fantastic news for me, but I think for our country, too.
I wonder if he said “four” or “for” – as in “for years no Spaniards played in the semis or finals.”
Q. Back in 1999 Agassi became No. 1 in the world and he had to play the final with Sampras and he but lost to Sampras. The next day Agassi was No.1 but Sampras was the Wimbledon champion. Would you like to see the same scenario?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes (smiling).
Me too. :) Hey, it’s a win-win, right?
Q. When you walked out of the court you said you were sorry for Andy. How do you manage to be so competitive when you’re on the court, and as soon as you are off the court you think with your heart about your competitors?
RAFAEL NADAL: I felt that during the court, too. I’m not a robot when I’m playing. I think.
Andy probably deserved to be Grand Slam winner. He’s the best player without a title of Grand Slam that I ever see. So he deserve to be a champion of Grand Slam. Always he was there: final in Australia, semifinals Roland Garros, semifinals here another time. That’s tough. I understand, no?
Is not easy for him be there all the time and finally he lost another time. But he’s doing well. He’s in the right way to win a Grand Slam. I always say the same. But that’s what I feel, you know. I feel the reason is he needs little bit more lucky for moments and he will win. I still don’t have any doubt on that.
Yes, he needs a little more lucky. He needs to stop getting drawn in the same half as you.
Q. What are your thoughts about playing against Novak, and what do you think is the key to the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: The key is play really well and to wait the opponent don’t have his best day. That is the key in these kind of matches, when you play against the best players of the world, you know.
His mental position over me today is probably a little bit better because he won the last four finals against me. And that’s what it is. I’m here. I’m try my best. I think I’m playing well, really well.
We will see what’s going on on Sunday, no? I will try my best. I have to play aggressive. I have to play with intensity, with rhythm. That’s what I gonna try.
You can do it, Rafa. Just be with colm.
Q. What aspect of Novak’s game will you find most challenging to overcome?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everything. Yeah.
Q. With Novak, do you think you have any advantage, perhaps even on this surface, more than clay against him? And do you think since you’ve been to this stage of the tournament before and he hasn’t, that that might also be an advantage for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t have an advantage here more than clay. I am better player on clay than grass. That’s the true.
Q. Maybe you’re a better player on grass than he is on clay.
RAFAEL NADAL: You know what? Playing two semifinals and now the final, probably he’s not a bad player on grass, too. That’s my feeling. Yeah.
No, he’s not a bad player on any surfrace. But neither are you. I still think Nole’s movement on grass isn’t as good as on clay or hard court.
Q. You’re obviously aware of the magnitude of your achievements. How often do you think of the number 16?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of what?
Q. Grand Slams.
RAFAEL NADAL: The number 16? I think about the number 10. That’s what I have at home. That’s what I’m able to see when I go back home in my bedroom. I don’t have 11, I don’t have 12, I don’t have 15, or 16. 16 is very far. I believe the number is not gonna stop there. Roger will have more chances to win more.
Seriously, is not my goal. Disappointing is not my goal. But I am very happy about my 10. I gonna try my best to keep being competitive in important tournaments, and we will see in the next years what’s going on. We’ll see Sunday. We’ll see in the future what’s going on.
The career of Roger is probably impossible to repeat. You know, if you look of the history of tennis, he’s the player with more Grand Slams in I don’t know how many years of history of the tennis, 100?
Q. 125 this year.
RAFAEL NADAL: Is gonna be strange he’s the player with more Grand Slams ever. Gonna be strange that three years, four years after one player win more than the best ever, no? So probably that’s not gonna happen.
Yes, the odds are against it. But, at one time, the odds were against you winning slams on grass and hard court…
Q. You had issues with your foot earlier in the competition. Was that an issue at all today, and will it be in the final on Sunday?
RAFAEL NADAL: I talked about the foot the other day. I said how was the problem, how is my foot. Is exactly the same than a few days ago. I did exactly the same than in the previous match.
So I said two days ago I not worried about the foot. I know what’s going on. I know with the treatment that I am doing to play I don’t gonna have any problem. I don’t feel nothing.
So, sounds like he’ll have the same treatment Sunday.
Q. This attitude of yours focusing on the competition and the preparation and the health, not so much on the numbers and the results, is that something that’s always come that easy to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Don’t think about the?
Q. When you speak about not caring about numbers, results, and records, you talk about focusing being on competitive, preparation. Is it an attitude that’s always been like that for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Seriously, I care about records, I care about the statistics, and I care about the history of tennis, for sure. But, you know, is not the right moment for me to talk about that. I have 25 years old. I am playing.
And talk about the history when – I don’t know when my career is going to finish – is probably something that is to talk. We will see when I finish my career where I am in the history of tennis. We will see what’s going on.
Right now for me, my history is I am in the final of Wimbledon. Very happy for that. I will have a very difficult match on Sunday. Let’s enjoy it. Let’s try my best on Sunday. That’s my history today.
The history of tennis, we’ll have time to talk about it.
Perfectly sane attitude.
Q. There are many statistics in the game. Which ones to you are the most important?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know which way you are talking.
Q. Majors won, weeks at No. 1, Davis Cup.
RAFAEL NADAL: I am not a specialist on that, so we have to look around and see about different facts. In my opinion, for sure the Grand Slam is probably the most important thing. But is a mistake think only about the Grand Slams, because the tennis is much more than four tournaments every year, you know.
For me the records of Roger are unbelievable. 16 Grand Slams are unbelievable. But he has a few probably more difficult things to do or more unbelievable things to do. I don’t know. He have 23 or 24 straight semifinals in Grand Slams. That’s really unbelievable.
In my opinion, for me is much more difficult win in the clay season Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Madrid, Hamburg a few years ago, than win Roland Garros. Seems like the most important thing is Roland Garros, is true.
But if we talk about the quality of tennis, is much more difficult win the other four than win Roland Garros. Probably that’s for the history didn’t count that much for the spectators.
But for the people of tennis and for the people who love this sport and who understand this sport from inside, everybody knows that’s more difficult than win a Grand Slam.
You know, Andy Murray today didn’t win a Grand Slam, but he’s much more better player than a lot of player who won a Grand Slam in the past. That’s the true.
In a lot of ways, the Masters are tougher – you face higher quality opponents from day one and you don’t get days off.
Q. Your head-to-heads against your opponents, is that important?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think so. Is another fact, but is nothing really decisive, in my opinion.
And trending on head-to-head doesn’t matter either, right? Not going to think about the last few results?
Q. Having your family, your mother, father, sister, does it help you to relax or does it change the focus in any way?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. For me seriously doesn’t matter, no? I am happy to be with them here. They are supporting me here. They are with me during the day off. I like to be with people. I don’t like a lot to be alone. If more people are here is a little bit more fun for me during the free hours.
So for me is always a pleasure have the family around, have my team around, the people who are close to me around me, because that’s makes me happy. Seems like I’m more at home.
I’m confused. He starts with it doesn’t matter and ends with it makes him happy? Oh, it doesn’t affect his focus, but does affect his mood. Got it. (Little slow today.)
Q. How would you describe Novak’s ability to defend, his movements around the court compared to some other players you’ve played against? Is he among the best, the quickest or…
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think his game is really complete defending. When he attack, too. Probably he’s defending a little bit better than previous years this year.
But in my opinion, his general game, his total game, is really complete: good serve, very good movements, very easy, his eyes are very fast, and he can go inside the court very easy playing very difficult shots. Very easy for him because he takes the ball very early.
In my opinion, his biggest ability is take the ball very early. That’s something very difficult. Roger do very well, too. That’s something very difficult, and they do very easy.
I like how “he sees things quickly” turns into “his eyes are very fast.” But he forgot to mention that Nole’s made of rubber.