USO: 4th round presser
A transcript of the presser Rafa gave after his win over Kohlschreiber is up on the US Open site.
Q. Were you surprised with the Roger result or did you not pay any attention to that until after your match?
RAFAEL NADAL: You always pay attention a little bit to the scores in the other courts. David was playing. Tommy and Roger were playing. So when you are in the changeovers, you see what’s going on. But I don’t put attention. I just saw and that’s it.
So, he knew the result or not?
Q. Does it surprise you as much as it surprised a lot of us that you and Roger never played here?
RAFAEL NADAL: For two times we were one point away. For this time we were one match away. But is always the same, no? You make the confrontations before the draw. When the draw is coming and in the first round you always talk about quarterfinals. To be in quarterfinals you need to win four matches. That not easy for nobody. That’s a point that I say. When I see the draw, I think about my first round. If I win, I think about my second. That’s it. No, no, I don’t see the quarterfinals or the fourth round before the first round. You know how tough is every tournament, every match. In conditions like today is even tougher.
How many times? One match at a time.
Q. It was a tough battle out there until the end. What were the sensations and what wasn’t working as well as you wanted it to?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think in the first set I didn’t feel that I had the control of the points from the baseline. When I was serving, was okay. I didn’t have a lot of problems with my serve during the whole first set. But when I was returning, I thought I need to play a little bit more aggressive with my background and with my forehand. I was thinking about that. But then when I was hitting the ball, I was not able to do it. Is true that I had an amazing opportunity with the 6-5, Love-40. I had to win that set there. But even like this, in the first set when I was returning, I felt that I should do more.
So, he just didn’t have the rhythm to be as aggressive as he wanted?
Q. When you talk about the conditions, you mean the humidity?
RAFAEL NADAL: Very hard tonight.
My all time favorite Rafa Spanglish quote was from the 2008 Olympics. When he was asked if the pollution in the air was bothering him, he said that wasn’t a problem, but that “the humid is very, very hard”. I always think of this when it’s humid out.
Q. About the humidity, how tough was it? People were sweating buckets of water essentially. How do you adjust to that? How much time does it take to recover?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know for how much, but I need to be ready in one day and a half, so… That’s what I going to try. That’s all. Is not easy to play during these days. Is very uncomfortable. Is very tiring. That’s why I felt when I lost the first set, you know, first set was very important in these kind of days. Then you are in trouble, because physically you can have lower moments in days like today. When you are one set against, you can have a mistake and then lose another set, then the match gets completely crazy and anything can happen, no? I was losing too much opportunities today with the return. Finally I had the chance to made it in the second set. I played a good point, and I did. And after that, I was able to play little bit better. I was returning more inside the court, and I changed the position a little bit during the match. I played more inside the court. In the beginning, I felt he opened the court very good with his backhand against my forehand. The same thing against my backhand with his forehand. I was out of position too much times, no? Playing more inside, I was able to change that situation.
Yes, you were out of position few times, but, like you said, he was able to get some awesome angles. Not always something you can do about it when the guy is hitting shots like that.
Q. To have not lost your serve all tournament is quite remarkable. What about your serve do you feel is working well? What are you pleased about the way your serve is going?
RAFAEL NADAL: My serve is working just amazing (smiling). I think I didn’t lose the serve because I played good points from the baseline. Today I didn’t lose my serve because I was very lucky that Philipp had a big mistake with his match in the first game of the fourth. That’s why I didn’t lose my serve. Anyways, is a good new. Four matches without losing the serve is great. I don’t want to lie you. Happy for that. But I felt at the beginning today I didn’t serve my best. But then in the next sets, I am very happy the way that I served. I was able to win a lot of points and I start a lot of points in a good position.
No lie, very happy. He might not be racking up the ace statistics, but he’s proving that you can hold serve on hard courts without having an overpowering serve.
Q. Yesterday was one of the worst days for U.S. men. Today you, Tommy, and David wrote the history that never happened in the US Open that three Spanish tennis players are in the quarterfinals. How do you explain this great achievement?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think it’s great. I think it’s great new for the Spanish sport, the Spanish tennis. Is great that we were able today to win very hard matches, all of us, in a very tough conditions. That’s because we really were ready for the fight. David is always a fighter. Tommy is always the same. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing after a year without having the chance to play tennis. Surgery, you know. He’s not younger anymore. To be back at the level he’s playing, you feel the passion and the love for the sport. That’s always a great example for the rest of the players and a great example for the kids. What he’s doing is great. I hope he stop here (smiling). But is great. I am happy for him because he deserve. He wanted a lot to be back.
Q. Obviously a lot of fans are disappointed that you’re not going to meet Roger. If you never play here, is that something that will disappoint you as a competitor?
RAFAEL NADAL: To be honest, going to be great if we were able to play that final, because I felt that our rivalry for so many years we were able to play in all the best scenarios, stadiums, around the world. Played the rest. Three finals of the Grand Slams. So probably that deserves to have that match here in the US Open, too, the biggest court of the world. But didn’t happen. That’s don’t mean cannot happen in the future. We’ll see. Hopefully. But is true that we are getting older, so the chances are less today than five years ago.
I kind of wonder if it just wasn’t meant to be…
Q. People talk about the greatest of all time, you and Roger being in that conversation. Can I ask you about Rod Laver, where you think his career fits in with you and Roger?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me is difficult to talk about the things that I don’t have the whole information. But Rod Laver is in the picture. If I have to say something about Rod, if we can compare Roger with another one to be the best of the history, is with Rod Laver because he won two times, no, the Grand Slam, so then he didn’t play the Grand Slams for few years because he turn professional, so he was not able to play. So he won once, and then he played again another time and he was able to win. In theory, during that years, that going to be the best years for him. So he would have the chance to win as much as Roger did. You never know. But is true that for sure is one of the players that going to be in the history of our sport forever.
Things his just better to not ask Rafa about: the match after the next one; his place in tennis history.
Q. When you left the court, did you change your clothes because of how sweaty you were?
RAFAEL NADAL: Totally.
There you go.
Q. You and Tommy Robredo have gone through the experience of coming back from injury. Have you spoken with him at all over the course over this year.
RAFAEL NADAL: I was able to practice with him in Barcelona when he was starting another time, when I was starting another time. We practiced in Barcelona before I fly to Viña del Mar, the first tournament in Chile. I never had any doubt about Tommy. You see when a player is serious, when a player is ready to work, a player who feels the game and the passion, have the passion for the tennis. The beginning, when he was coming back, he didn’t win lot of matches in Chile, in Sao Paulo, in Acapulco, I was talking with my coach. I said, He will be there for sure at the end of the season because he’s ready to work and he’s a serious player. The players who are ready for the work and are ready for fight the tough obstacles that the competition brings you are the players at the end of the season are in the best position in the rankings. What he is doing is great.
So yep, passion. Serious passion.
Q. If or when you have children, will they play tennis? And why or why not?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that’s not for the next few days (smiling). But I always thought that the sport brings you a good education, good values. So I think the sport help me a lot when I was a kid to improve like a person. So I would like, if I have kids, hopefully yes in the future, I would love to have the kids that they play tennis, football, sport in general, because sport normally you are in a good atmosphere, good people.
Based on some Davis Cup matches, I really fear for the other kids, the parents of the other kids and, well, just the universe in general if Rafa is ever stuck on the sidelines playing cheerleader for his own kids.