Beijing: Final presser transcript
A transcript of Rafa’s post China Open final presser is up on the ASAP Sports site.
Q. Rafa, Novak was really strong with the serve today and you weren’t able to break him at all. Talk about his serving and what he did today.
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t see the way to stop him this afternoon. This afternoon he was too strong for me. I didn’t play my best match this afternoon, but he played at a very high level with his serve.
I was not able to have any chance when I was returning during the whole match. He had the ball staying very low. It was very difficult to create spin on this ball.
He was able to hit all the balls where he wants to hit. When that’s happening against a player like Novak, you are dead. You don’t have not one chance.
So that’s what happened. I played against a great player, one of the best players that I ever seen playing very well. Was not the day to beat him.
Hmmm…low balls – very difficult to get to if one’s knees are bothering them. A new strategy players are going to try and playing Rafa?
Q. Tough loss. Must be some consolation knowing that you’ll go into the end of the season as No. 1. How do you balance the loss today knowing you’ll be top in the rankings?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I going to be in the top of the ranking for a few weeks now. I need to keep playing well to try to finish No. 1 at the end of the season. If not, I will not have that opportunity.
But anyway, that’s something that, you know, not worries me much today. I am come back to the No. 1, something that I really thought that I never have the chance to be back there.
I am there, and is something special for me. I’m enjoying the situation that I’m playing one of the best seasons of my career and probably one of the more emotional years, if not the most, for so many facts.
I know season have been tough. At the same time, very big success. But tough because I started late and I played almost all the matches possible that I could play.
So just happy for everything. Try to keep working hard. I going to try to keep playing and keep working on the things that gave me the success during most of the tournaments of this year.
That’s what I am going to do. That’s all, no? At the end, it’s another match that I lost. It’s something that’s normal playing against a player like Novak.
Sometimes won, sometimes others. Last three times was for me it important matches in Roland Garros, Montreal, and US Open for sure.
So today, a good final in Beijing was his moment. Accept and congratulate him. That’s all.
He’s pretty level-headed about losing…especially since he doesn’t have much experience at it. ;)
Q. Rafa, disappointing loss today, but it’s your first hard court loss of the season. When you were out last season injured, did you ever doubt that you would come back this strong?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am answering these questions every day, no? When you are injury at home, how you can think about come back and play, how many finals? 13? 13 finals of 14 tournaments and win 10 tournaments, 2 Grand Slams, 5 Masters 1000s like this. You never think about something like this.
Today is the moment to enjoy the situation that I am competitive again. I am playing very high level of tennis. I going to keep working hard to try to maintain this level as long as I can.
That is what motivates me and makes me happy, that I am able to be on the tour again and enjoying important matches like I played today with a great atmosphere out there, full crowd, big stadium, something that I missed a lot for seven months.
I was able for the last seven or eight months to play very often in these circumstances, so that’s very special every time I have that chance. I’m enjoying that situation.
I really, really think he missed the crowds and applause and cheering while away. (Retirement’s going to be very hard on him.)
Q. You said you played a lot since you came back. How tired are you right now and how do you feel going to Shanghai?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope to be ready for Shanghai. It’s an important tournament, one of the most important of the season because it’s a Masters 1000. To be another year 100%, is a very tough tournament to play, no? Because from the beginning you need to play against the best players. No possible good draws in this tournament.
So it’s true that probably mentally when you finish the US Open and you had all the success that I had during the long season is mentally a little bit tough.
But in the same time, all the success that I had give me a lot of positive energy. Remain a little bit more, and I going to try my best in every match I play until the end of the season.
No matter how the season ends, I hope that he’s happy and feeling well. The year has already been amazing. It just sucks that every year, the tennis season has to end on indoor hard courts. Would be great for it to end on his best surface.
Q. You and Novak have played many times over your career. Do you think he made any significant adjustments since the last match, or was it just him executing better today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Combination of things were difficult to analyze one match in particular. I did a lot of things worse than what I did in the US Open and he did the things very well.
In the US Open he played very well, too. Probably the conditions of this court, this ball, were more favorable for him than for me. He did very well. He played a great match.
I didn’t play as good as I did in Montréal and the US Open. So to play against Novak when he’s playing well, if you are not playing almost at the perfect level, is very difficult to win.
That’s what happened today. I didn’t play at this level and he played at very high level and I lost.
As many have said, they are so evenly matched that if one is a little off or one feeling it a little more, that’s all it takes to make the difference. Sunday, both things came to be – Rafa off; Nole feeling it.
THE MODERATOR: Chinese questions, please.
Q. As a professional player, a No. 1 player, to win Grand Slam title is the lifelong dream, but you make it. Everybody wants to know from the best professional player in the world, what does tennis mean for you? What does tennis bring to you besides victory?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, tennis is a very good sport, so I think when you were around the good people and good atmosphere like the tennis is, the education and the values that you need to know to be a good person and to improve like a person when you are a kid out there, I think I was very lucky that I was around good people during all my life.
That’s probably why I am here today. I think I am a really normal guy, so enjoying the situation that the life gave to me, the opportunity to be a professional tennis player. And being a professional tennis player, I had the chance to enjoy a lot of experiences that without tennis I will not have the chance to experience.
Just happy for everything that the tennis give to me apart of the competition and the titles and the good moments on court. I think I outside the court, you know, a lot of people — you can have a lot of new friends and you know a lot of places around the world that probably you would not have the chance to visit without the world of tennis in my case.
I think for a kid, it’s good to be practicing sport, because when you are practicing sport you are in a healthy world. At the same time, the spirit of sport, the real spirit of sport, is a good value and a good education for a kid.
Like all things, sport is a healthy place if you go in with the right attitude. It’s not always, though. It can be were you learn to win “at all costs”. So, again, it comes down the role models and support system you have around you.
Q. I noticed that during match, during the break between games, you are very careful to set your bottles after drinking. What does it mean?
RAFAEL NADAL: A lot of times I answered this question. I repeat: That’s just stupid things that the competition brings to you. That’s it. Nothing else more than probably stupid routines that you do in a sport like tennis, that you compete a lot of days and you need to create your routines of concentration.
At the end, nothing. (Smiling.)
I love that him talking about doing stupid things is followed up by…
Q. I was told that you are very good player in Texas poker. I think you are a guy with a very high IQ. Do you think you have a very high IQ?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I am a really normal guy of 27 years old, no? To be a professional tennis player, a good tennis player, you don’t need to be a very high IQ, like you say.
I don’t know what that means, but I think I am a really normal one. I went to school and nothing special. (Smiling.)
Just a normal guy. Nothing so special about him. None what so ever.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports