Shanghai: Pre-tournament presser transcript
A transcript of Rafa’s pre-tournament presser is up on the Shanghai Masters website.
Q. In one of today’s English newspapers, there’s a big piece about you, saying how you got fit again and everything. It talks a lot about the use of PRP therapy. It says your team are very comfortable talking about it. Can you just tell us what you think about it and also about these two very special machines that helped you to get fit again.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, first of all, nothing what I really used worked great for me.
Q. The machines, you mean?
RAFAEL NADAL: Machines. PRP worked unbelievable on my knee before, in 2010, 2009. 2009 I had to pull out of Wimbledon, then I came back, but still I have pain. Just after Monte Carlo I did for the first time in my life the PRP treatment for me knee, but it was on the top of the knee, not down. Worked unbelievable. That injury I had was recovered 100% in very short period of time during the PRP treatment.
With the injury I have now, I did. I tried lot of times, and it really didn’t help me a lot. The machines I have at home, the only thing that help me is to put me a little bit more fit without have to run or something like this, to make an aggression on the tendon.
But seriously we didn’t find the key of the recover because I need to keep working hard on finding things that will help me more.
Q. So you say you didn’t find the key to it. How did you recover? Was it just a combination of many things that you did?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, at the end I did a lot of things. We tried to find solutions in every moment. The feeling I say it since I came back the felling on the knee is not 100% perfect. But the feeling on the knee is very good for me because even if I have pain a lot of days, the pain is not limiting my movements. That’s the most important thing. I am playing with no limitations. I am free when I am playing.
Even if I have pain, I am able to control that pain something in the past I was not able to control that pain, so I couldn’t play.
But the feeling is I would like to improve a little bit more. But for the moment, I am happy because I am able to play. Since I came back after the injury, I was able to play all the tournaments I want and with a very good feelings.
Well, that’s good. I hope they can find a way to make the pain better.
Q. You’ve capped off the season with being world No. 1 now. Tell us what the ranking means to you.
RAFAEL NADAL: Numbers, that’s all. At the end, be No. 1 again is special because is something that I was confident that when I was back I will have the chance to keep competing well, keep having chances to play for important tournaments, but never thought about be back to the No. 1. That’s something that I thought that I will never have the chance to be back there.
I am today. But that means that I am having probably one of the best seasons of my career. Is great. Is good new to be No. 1, yes. But what is great new is all the season that I had until here.
A very great new.
Q. Have you thought at all about your schedule for next year, about whether you’ll be playing fewer tournaments in the future? Do you think managing the number of tournaments you play is a smart move, considering where you were last year, and how well you played this year with not a full schedule at the beginning?
RAFAEL NADAL: The schedule always depend on the matches you are playing, not on the tournaments that you are playing. Because if you are winning a lot of matches, you can play less. If you are losing in the earlier rounds, you need to play more tournaments.
So you cannot predict 100% your schedule. You can have an idea what you would like to play. But then depends on the results. You adjust a little bit the schedule, no?
I know more or less what I going to play next year. But let’s see how I finish the season, how I start the season again next year in Doha and in Australia. That’s something that I didn’t have the chance to play last year and is important in the beginning.
There are no easy answers to the schedule. There never will be for players who want to stay in the top of the rankings.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how much it would mean to you to break the record and win six ATP Masters 1000 titles in the same year.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think that win five is something amazing already. I think Novak did in 2011, no? But Masters 1000s are very difficult tournaments to win. From the first round you have fantastic opponents in front. Sometimes in Grand Slams you can be a little bit more lucky and you can have the draw a little bit more open. In Masters 1000, that’s very difficult.
I consider the Masters 1000s one of the toughest tournaments to play because if you are not playing well from the beginning, is very difficult to be through. I know in the past this part of the season was hard for me, but I am confident that I can keep playing well. I am doing the right things to be ready. Tomorrow I will start. I hope to be competitive and have my chance tomorrow.
I’m going to go day to day as I did my whole career. I am going to try my best tomorrow. We’ll see.
Hey, you’ve achieved something pretty amazing; let me cram pressure on you to do even more! I’m sure I won’t have anything bad to say about your, your career or your choices if you don’t accomplish this one extra thing.
Q. You said many times that you could not have dreamed your comeback could be so good this year. Has the biggest surprise been the success you’ve had on hard courts and the way that your knee has been okay playing on hard courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: Surprise was be able to compete well that fast. Even if I play not good. First two tournaments I play in Viña del Mar and Sao Paulo, I was able to play fine and win the title. But after that I was able to win Acapulco playing a great tennis. I was able to win in Indian Wells playing great tennis again.
Then it’s true that I played little bit worst in Monte Carlo and in Barcelona. But after that I play well during the whole season. That’s the real thing, no? Is great how I played in Madrid, how I played Rome, Roland Garros second week. Wimbledon, was not the year. Summer in hard court was best summer in my life, my career.
And last week, I didn’t play my best, is true. But even like this, I was able to play the final in a tough tournament like Beijing.
I love how they keep asking him about his wins (with the implications that’s defined by wins) and he keeps replying about his level of play (his definition of success).
Q. You’ve had such a remarkable season. It could still get even better. Can you talk a little bit about what drives you. Was the time you spent away from the sport a motivation to make such a great comeback?
RAFAEL NADAL: The motivation is always the same: try to be able to have the feeling that when you are going to tournament, have the feeling that you can compete well against anybody. You can win and you can lose, but have the feeling that you have enough level to win against every player.
That’s something that happened for most of the time this year. And when you’re out of the competition, the motivation to be back is a little bit more special because is a thing that a lot of time working hard without positive results, a lot of time dreaming on be back, have the chance to be on court and play in the biggest stadiums again, and when you are not able to do it are tough moments.
At the same time, when you are back on the tennis court, you are able to feel competitive yourself another time, the pressure that you feel playing is much less than what you feel when you are injured.
At the end, when I am back on the tour, I am doing what I want to do. I am enjoying another time all the things that the competition gives me and I’m able to do what I really like to do. That was a lot already.
So then when you feel yourself competitive and you feel yourself well with positive feeling and having the chance to win, then probably is less difficult because the mentality is more positive than ever.
A good positive acktitude.
Q. Last year when you weren’t here, besides for the fans, the other players were constantly mentioning, Rafa is not here. It seemed very noticeable to them that you were not here. Are the players this year taking that kind of notice to Andy Murray not being at this tournament? Is it something that now he’s of the level where you realize he’s missing, that he’s so important?
RAFAEL NADAL: Hopefully not because my position last year in that moment was a position that I didn’t know when I have the chance to be back. I didn’t have the surgery. I just tried to do different regimens. I didn’t find the solution.
Seems like Andy is in good shape. He had the surgery and he will be improving. He has a way something I didn’t have at that moment. I really hope he will be back for the beginning of the season.
I think he’s feeling better every day. Is a negative new for the world of tennis that he’s not able to play here in the last part of the season. But at the same time I am happy for him that if he’s able to recover 100% well and he’s able to play with no pain, will be much better for him.
At the end mentally, when you are playing with pain, mentally is very tiring. I know that. That’s something that what was happening to him last period of time. So I think he made the right decision. Was the right moment to take that decision, after the US Open, in my opinion. He will be 100% ready for the beginning of the next, I hope.
Is that the first siting of “negative new” in the wild? I’m not sure I recall him saying that before.
Q. At the start of the year when you were just coming back, you were very strong in your views that too much tennis was played on hard court, it was dangerous for the players, not conducive to the players having healthy lives after they finished playing. After your success on hard court this year, do you change at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: Do you think I talk about one thing in terms because I am playing well on one surface or not?
Sadly, a lot of people do think that.
Q. No, I don’t. I just want to know what your thoughts are now.
RAFAEL NADAL: Doesn’t matter I am winning more on hard. Before that I say that, I already won two Grand Slams on hard, winning tournaments on hard. Nothing change in my mind.
I am tired to say that because at the end seems like I am criticize the tennis in general and is something that I am not saying that for me and for my year because I know that not going to change for my generation.
I say because is something that I think going to be fair for the next generations, if they are able to play in an easier surface for the body, to try to have a longer career, to try to be more healthy when they finish his careers something that probably I will not have that lucky.
It’s not only easier on the body, it’s my feeling that it makes them better players because it makes them have to think and plan points more than they do on hard courts.
Q. Do you think, from what you’ve heard from people since you said it, anyone has taken notice of what you’re saying?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am really out of politics, and I don’t want to be involved in politics of the tennis anymore. I know even if you have strong ideas and even if you believe the changes are possible, I know there is always a wall there that is impossible to go over.
I don’t know. What I am saying I am saying because is something that I feel. If somebody from the ATP asks me, I will say the same things. But as always happened, nothing gonna change.
He’s tired of banging his head against a brick wall. Can’t say I blame him. The way the system is set up, there’s no true centralized power on the tour – it’s all spread out into the tournament fiefdoms. That means there’s no clear and straightforward plan of attack to try to bring about change.
Q. You spoke about the schedule. Does Dubai feature in the schedule for you next year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is difficult. Never say never. But is a tournament that I really love so much. I was really sorry that this year I couldn’t play there because I should go there. But during my comeback I needed to play on an easier surface, and that’s what I had to change and I had to go to Acapulco and play on clay.
The situation didn’t change a lot. Even if I had the great success on hard, for my knees is better to play on clay. So I don’t know if I gonna play yet in February. In hard is difficult.
Go for the clay Rafa. Do what’s best for your body.
Q. You mentioned your team was constantly working on ways to treat your body. What sort of things are being considered? Are you confident that you can go on playing into the future with correct management of your injuries?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I hope yes because in the end, you know, for the last five years, seems like lot of people talking like I will not be able to play long the way that I play. But I am here again with 27 years old and a half almost (smiling) and I really hope to have the chance to be here for a lot of more years.
So still in my mind Olympics in Brazil. Is something I really want to arrive there in good conditions. Is a real goal for me. If that’s a goal for me, remain a long time to arrive there, so I gonna try.
Hope you can do it! (And hope Brazil picks clay…please?)
Q. Roger is in a bit of situation vis à vis making it to London. Can you reflect on his situation a little bit.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, he going to go. He going to qualify. I am sure on that. He don’t going to have problem. Even if he doesn’t have lots of points of advantage, I feel he always played well in this last part of the season. He likes to play in these tournaments. He always had the positive results.
I really feel that he will do it. He’s a great player and I am sure he will be there and fighting for the title.