Rome: Pre-tournament presser

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A transcript of Rafa’s pre-tournament presser has been posted to the tournament site.

Q: Rafa, how was your fishing day the other day.

NADAL: Good. I had a day off in Majorca the other day. My first feeling after the match was to come to Rome to the next day but after talking to the people around me we decided to come home for some days and spend some time with my sister. She lives in Barcelona and I don’t have a lot of time to see her so I spent some time with her and with my family and fishing on Friday morning early. Being in the middle of the sea with fantastic weather and I was able to swim a little and so it was fantastic for me.

Guess he wasn’t too far out in the sea if he got to swim a little (given his fear or swimming if he can’t see the bottom). Glad he got to hang with his sister a bit.

Q: What do you expect form your fishing week here in Rome?

NADAL: Just the same. Try my best – try to play my best and if I am able to do it then I will have the chance to have a good result…..but just to do the same and try to play like I did in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and we got back to normal conditions and that makes the ….. readapt to play and I have 3 practices in the clay – once in Majorca and yesterday here — today is was very windy and difficult to practice but the feeling is there and I am happy how I am playing.

And since he doesn’t start until Wednesday, another day of practice on the courts there.

Q: …[inaudible]….

NADAL: I didn’t understand nothing.

Q: Do you compare your opponent to a type of fish.

NADAL: A lot of history about my fishing day. The fishes are there – I cannot see nobody when I am there – and I can see the opponent – it is a different history – I don’t understand rivals – we are here in the same tour and we are colleagues and we have to play against each other and I try my best to compete and beat as many as I can.

Compare an opponent to a fish? The hell?

Q: Before coming here – you met Novak – did you talk to him about soccer or about the blue clay the other day.

NADAL: We have always a good relationship with each other. We always talk about things but when I talk about someone I don’t say what I talk about …. The blue clay is past and I said what I had to say in Madrid about my feelings about that. My feelings are there .—– my goal now is Roma and I don’t think about blue clay I think of Roland Garros. I lost and I didn’t have the level that I needed to win. I am here in Rome and it is one of my favourite tournaments and I love playing here – I always have a fantastic feeling playing here I love the crown and its always a big emotion to come back to this fantastic place – I am motivated to play my best.

I like a motivated Rafa.

Q: We has such a fantastic final with yourself and Novak..

NADAL: For him
…[Laughter]….

Heh

Q: Well, it was a great match to watch.

NADAL: Well, 6-4 6-4 – it wasn’t such a great match to watch.

Not close enough for you, Rafa?

Q: I’d like to know what you have to do to beat Novak or whoever you might have if you want to win this time.

NADAL: I will think about Mayer – I lost him in Shanghai last year and so let me think about the first round. It is stupid to think about the final now –I don’t know any tournament that starts with the final. You know – here we are in a Masters 1000 and so you have a lot of good players and every point is difficult but I will try my best since the first round and if I am able to play my best I will go to the final.

When will people ever learn – one point, one game, one set, one match at a time.

Q: Given that the conditions were so different last week, was it that Federer was able to adapt better that a lot of players and does this show how the conditions can affect a tournament.

NADAL: I said before about last week – its over and I think about Rome ……..Federer is a fantastic player – probably the best in history and probably the best to adapt to every court but that is the sport and tennis… That is the real thing and the problem is not to adapt to the court but the conditions have to be similar to every court. If we think about changing the balls to play every tournament with the same balls for the clay court season and then this is possible but then we play on different courts. How strange is that. I don’t know why we are talking about the tournament. I want to congratulate Roger and that’s it.

Yes. Let’s just stop talking about Madrid, shall we?

Q: Now with the Olympics, you are the only current player to have a gold in the singles. Would it be particularly special to win another at Wimbledon.

NADAL: No – Wimbledon aren’t an Olympics.

Heh, so literal minded. (I can relate.)

Q: No, I wasn’t going to say. Would the gold medal be more of a priority that winning another Grand Slam.

NADAL: I am thinking of Rome now and that is the real thing. Every tournament is very important. Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Olympics and to win any of these is fantastic and so I cannot say I prefer the Olympics so Wimbledon and I will be there and try my best in every moment and have the right result to compete then this will be a dear form. Wimbledon is difficult because you play the best of five sets and you play on a surface where sometimes the match is decided in a few balls – you can imagine how I will be playing the best of thee in the Olympics. It is the perfect tournament for surprises and for perfect scores and so it is going to be a big challenge for everyone. The Olympics are probably the most important event is sport – in tennis we are lucky to have a fantastic tour – Olympics are probably the most difficult event to win for a tennis play. When you start your career you can probably have one change or two change to win the Olympics – you can have three but you have a very long career and the timing has to be good. This is why it is difficult and I am lucky to have won.

Hadn’t thought about it being 3 sets on grass before. Tight matches could really be a crap shoot.

Q: Is it important to get into second place before Roland Garros.

NADAL: I don’t know how things are in the race. I know I am 100 points behind Roger with is like 500 points or 550 behind Novak. My positions not bad – I had a good start of the season – 2 or 3 hard matches – the final in Australia – that made a big decision with 100 points and semi finals in Miami I didn’t play for an injury of the knee and last week with the conditions. That is a tournament which is usually a favourite for my game. That is why I am number 3 in the race and not number 2. I am happy I am in Rome to keep playing as I play – to arrive with number 2 or 3 isn’t going to change my game. If you are number 2 or 3 then that doesn’t change. You just have to win. You have to win in the semi finals – even if you are number 2 or 3 doesn’t make a big difference and I want to keep playing and end the clay court season and start the grass court season.

Miami is a tournament that is usually a favorite for his game? One he’s ever won? I don’t get that. IW seems to go better for him. (Edit: As JC pointed out in the comments, he’s talking about Madrid and my reading comprehension is sub-par.)

Q: Rafa – you seem to track the rankings. You seem to know what points you have and what the other players have. Do also the other players do this?

NADAL: I think everybody follows. I don’t know much about the entry – seriously but the race says what you have been doing during the season. When I start the season in January I see it like a league – a soccer league – you start and then you finish and the entry is there bit the race is when you know how you are doing – but the race is the real points that you are playing …. That is the real thing that I follow. You start from zero and you finish at number 6 or number 5 and then you come back to zero again, that is my way of seeing sport.

Doesn’t sound like a 2 year ranking system to me. ;)

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23 Responses

  1. JC says:

    “…and last week with the conditions. That is a tournament which is usually a favourite for my game”. He’s talking about Madrid.

    In the last question, he’s asked about the ranking, but he’s talking about the race list. I remember him mentioning before, that he’s more focused on where he is in the race, since that is like starting from scratch, motivating him to reach the goal of qualifying for WTF.

  2. sia says:

    I always learn just a little more about the tennis when reading Rafa’s pressers. Thanks Rafa :)

    I always follow the Race too … at this time of year with just one slam down it’s still quite close.

  3. Rafaella says:

    ” Hadn’t thought about it being 3 sets on grass before” — I know Olympics will be in London and thought that the tennis match will be on grass. However, on your Calendar, it says that Olympics will be played on hardcourt. Can you please clarify this for me? Thanks.

  4. Rafaella says:

    Thanks. I’m not sure if I should feel better if it’s on grass or hardcourt based on last year’s Wimbledon. Until now, I can’t bring myself to rewatch that match. I guess we’ll find out after this year’s Wimby result.

    • miri says:

      In my opinion, that was more about Rafa’s mental state at the time than his ability to play on grass.

      • Rafaella says:

        I think Rafa transferred that mentality to me ’cause until now, I’m still on it. Anyway, I just rewatched the Wimby 2008 again and saw how great Rafa was on grass. Thank you for reminding me of our champ’s ability. Negative press at times can get to me.

  5. ozTee says:

    Ohh, that melted my heart when he mentioned he went home to see his sister. It must be so hard to always travel so much and so far and not see people so dear to you when they are such a close family. “But..that is the sport”…quote Rafa..

    • RAFAFAN says:

      Me too, for Rafa to share such personal information – going to spend time with his sister – was so precious! She is indeed a very lucky girl to have a brother like him. Rafa and David played a exho last year some time, she was in the crowd. After the match he (almost) run to here and give her a huge (sweaty) hug.

  6. Sharon/London says:

    Yes I agree with Miri. Rafa always plays very well at Wimbledon he as been in 5 finals in 6 years and won 2 so can’t be bad. It was there that I saw a very young Rafa for the 1st time , against schipan, tho Rafa lost I thought he s gonna be great player one day. I am going to Wimbledon for the 1st time this year so looking forward to that and hopefully see Rafa.

    • zibah says:

      Awwww lucky you Sharon. Think there might still be tickets?

      • Sharon/London says:

        Wimbledon tickets are allocated using a ballot system. Ive tried several years to get tickets but have been unsuccessful . My son plays tennis for a club so is a member of the LTA , he automatically goes into the ballot and we were fortunate to get offered tickets, 1st week court no 1. Rafa played a match on court 1 on the same day we are going last year but every year is different, Rafa played first last year as he was defending champion, mon ,wed and fri. That won’t be the case this year but will enjoy the day.

  7. Sharon/London says:

    Rafa s a great brother and very close to his sister which must be great, I am the only girl with two older brothers and they do not bother with me. His sister is very lucky to have a caring brother.

  8. Emma says:

    hey everyone this is off topic i know.
    But I was hoping to get some information from you guys on traveling to Melbourne for Aussie open 2013.
    Does anyone have any useful tips on accommodation (near to the courts), flights or tickets? I tried contacting a firm specialising in sports tour groups in aus and the prices are very expensive.
    Any help much appreciated!
    my email is emma_email11@yahoo.com

  9. arwen says:

    I think, he misunderstood the wimbledon-olympics question. The question was refering to winning another gold medal at Wimbledon since the tennis part of Olympics will be held at Wimbledon. But Rafa understood it with the real meaning as the historical grand slam tournament and told the reporters it wasn’t the same. Funny..

    • Sharon/London says:

      Yes he misunderstood the question didn’t he? I think he was trying to say that Slam Wimbledon is 5 sets but the Olympics at wimbledon is over 3 sets so different concept and difficult to win th gold.

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