Shanghai: Semifinal presser transcript
A transcript from Rafa’s post semifinal presser is up on the Shanghai Masters site.
Q. Have you ever faced such a brutal, consistent display of tennis as you faced tonight? Del Potro was on fire.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, he played amazing. Just congratulate him.
Very few times I played against a player with a level like today I played against. Nothing to say on me. I felt that I could serve better than what I did talking about me. At the end you have to analyze what you can do better.
That return on the 1-0, 30-40, that can go in. But at the end I played against a player who served 80% of first serves, who hit every ball as hard as he can I think, and with no mistakes.
So I go home with the calm that I did all what I had to do and I played today against a player that was better than me tonight. That’s all. Is fair to say that.
Rafa did have a few chances in the match that he couldn’t quite take advantage of. They came so infrequently, though, that I felt he was feeling too much pressure to do something with them.
Q. Since Juan Martin won the US Open in 2009, only four players have won Grand Slam titles since then. Do you think he is the player most likely to break back into that top group of players?
RAFAEL NADAL: If he plays like he did this afternoon, of course, yeah. But is true that after the injury that he had, that is very tough to come back after injuries. Is true it was tough for him to find, well, the level of tonight. I don’t know if he found before, but to find close to this level.
If he plays similar to this level, for sure he’s one of the biggest candidates to win a Grand Slam tournaments. He’s able to do it. I’m sure he will win more.
It is true that the last three years he played well, but he didn’t arrive to this level. So is great to see him play again at this very, very high level. At the end is good to have players who have the potential to play at this unbelievable level.
It’s so weird that Del Potro has won a slam, but hasn’t won a Masters.
Q. You’ve been saying all week that the court surface here is faster than Beijing. Is that almost perfect conditions for Juan Martin, the way he hits the ball hard and low?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is perfect if you are playing the way that he is playing at the end. I like to play on fast surfaces. But a little bit slower I will have a chance to change a little bit the dynamic of the game. But the only chance to change the dynamic of the game was to hit hard, closer to the lines.
I really go home with the feeling that I didn’t play bad. That’s the real thing. Is fair to say that. I am enough humble to say that, that I played well, and I lost 6 2, 6 4.
Is true, in my opinion, that I never talk about luck. But lot of important points that he played at the limit, and he was able to keep touching lines, keep playing as hard as he can, and no mistakes in that important moments. That’s it.
Is true that the conditions were good for him. But in my opinion were good for me, too if he don’t play at that level.
I *heart* him. The main “condition” he was fighting was the state of Del Potro’s game.
Q. We all know the last time Del Potro beat you was 2009 US Open semifinal. How different has he become as a player since then, in your opinion?
RAFAEL NADAL: In that match I had 26 millimeters abdominal break. So we cannot count about that match. I lost 6-2, 6-2, 6-2. For me it was miracle to be in that semifinals, because I started the US Open with six millimeters tear, the abdominal. When I arrived after the semifinals I had 26. Being in the semifinal was one of the greatest results I had because of my conditions and no possibility to play with my condition to play against a player like Juan Martin in those moments.
In my opinion, he played much better tonight than he did in that match.
Is that the first time he’s said that playing made the tear worse? I mean, especially in such detail?
Q. Two weeks ago you came to China with the No. 2 ranking and the perfect record on hard courts. Now you go back to Europe with No. 1 ranking and two defeats on hard court. Can you sum up your experience in Asia for the two weeks.
RAFAEL NADAL: Two tough tournaments. I played two tournaments that best players are here in the conditions that these ones I liked, last one the ball was too difficult for me. I didn’t like the ball. Two positive results. In the end final and semifinals.
The problem is always the same: when you are winning a lot, like what we are doing, last couple years, other players, seems like semifinals is nothing. The perspective, my view, my perspective is completely different at the end. Semifinals are positive result.
At the end I played this year seven Masters 1000s. I played six finals, five victories, one semifinals. You cannot expect to be in the final in every week that you are playing and in every week that the best players are there.
So is normal that you play against players like today that they are decided to attack, they are decided to take all the risk possible that you can risk in the tennis court. The inspiration is completely there.
Today was one of these days. The positive thing is I fight during the whole match with the right attitude, in my opinion. If he went down little bit, I going to be there fighting for the match.
When days like this, only thing you can do is congratulate opponent, keep working the same way. I am in the right way. I enjoyed playing this week. I am very happy the way that I played this week, even if I lost in semifinals.
I consider my level this week very high. Yesterday was a great victory for me. If I am able to keep playing at this level, I am confident that I will keep having positive results. Not everybody going to play like he did tonight.
So, to everyone bitching and moaning about the loss: STOP IT. Remember where things stood this time last year…and then think about what he has achieved this year. Perspective can be a beautiful thing. [/soapbox]
Q. You still have an opportunity to win six Masters this year with Paris coming up. We know that tournament is always a difficult one because of where it sits in the calendar. Is the idea of getting that sixth Masters of the year going to play into your decision to play that one?
RAFAEL NADAL: Win six Masters in one year is a joke. Is too much. Is very difficult to do that, no? Played already seven finals. That’s much more than what I ever thought.
Is something that I never think about. But I going to go to Paris with motivation to keep playing well, keep enjoying the season. At the end, the rest of the season is to enjoy what I had.
What happened to me this season is just very emotional and fantastic. So what remains on the season is to play with the right attitude, positive, try to keep playing well, try to arrive to the last tournament of the year with better feelings than what I had in the past, and try to give me an opportunity.
I said I hearted him, right?
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