A transcript of the presser that followed Rafa’s victory over Wawrinka has been posted to the ASAP Sports site:
Q. You were obviously very, very happy at the end of the match today. What was it that pleased you most? Was it qualifying for the semifinals? Was it securing the world No.1 position? Was it the way you played?
RAFAEL NADAL: Today was more important secure the No.1 at the end of the season. That’s the real thing. Because at the end during all my season I said is not my goal, but the real thing is after all the success I had during the season, winning, you know, five Masters 1000s, playing a final in another, winning a few 500s, playing another final, winning two Grand Slams, so I think that after all what happened last year, I felt I deserved to be there at the end of the season. And today I did.
So was one of the, you know, best things that I did in my career: come back to the No.1 after three seasons. That’s very difficult in our sport, and after a very important injury.
That’s an emotional thing for me, for sure. In the same time be able to qualify for the semifinals is an extra thing. And the good thing is after two matches now, I can really be focused only on the tournament because the year-end is over.
So, it was important to him, but he didn’t want to admit it was important so he wouldn’t freak out over it? At least, that’s what it sounds like…probably because it sounds like something I would do.
Q. Last year we were all talking about how much we missed you, how much tennis missed you. You came back in a magnificent way. Talk about now Nole is chasing you, has a winning run, and the rivalry will take over next season. How is it for you when it’s so tight at the top and there are so many good players? Does it make you try a little bit extra?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t want to fight for the No.1 in the next season. I think is not my (indiscernible) today to fight for the No.1. My (indiscernible) is fight to try to be enough competitive to keep having chances to win important tournaments, and that’s my goal. That’s my biggest goal, the thing that really motivates me.
At the end this year I never fight for No.1. This year, because all the success that I had, I am the No.1, but I never thought about that during the season.
I will start the next season trying to be fit for Australia, trying to give me more chances to compete for the best tournaments of the year. That’s my motivation, and I will fight for that and I will work hard for that.
Please note: !goal != !important. I hope that wasn’t (indiscernible) to non-geeks. Something can end up being very important to you, even if it isn’t/wasn’t your main goal.
Q. Can you remember where you were this time 12 months ago, whether you were watching the tennis, at home relaxing, and what your thoughts were about your future?
RAFAEL NADAL: I was at home, yes. The thoughts about the future? Just focus on recover, focus on try to find a solution for my knee, and that’s it. Working every day, trying to do different things to try to be back.
And finally, even if I was not with my 100% at the beginning, because I fly to Viña del Mar without the best feeling, but I was able to play again. And here we are after ten months or eight months. So very happy for everything.
Just can say thank you very much everybody. Really, all the support that I had around the world, around the tournaments, every tournament that I played, I had probably more support than ever. All that support was really, really important for me, really emotional. So many thanks everybody.
The pleasure was ours, Rafa.
Q. At this time last year could you have at all envisaged, ever thought of being in this position? Even when you started a comeback, could you even think about being in this sort of a position?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I answered that question lot of times, no? How I can think to be back in this position when I am at home without having the chance to even practice?
I cannot think far away than the next day and how my knee going to feels next day, and after next week, and after next month.
My thoughts was on that, nothing else.
One thing at a time. Always.
Q. A few words about Stan, who played a great game today, but also a fantastic season.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he’s a great player and he’s a great guy. I am very happy for him. All the success that he’s having, he deserve. He’s playing great. Very high level.
Very tough to play against him in every surface, but especially in this one that the ball goes quick and he’s able to hit the ball very aggressive.
Yeah, is a big challenge play against Stan today. So just congratulate him for everything.
And yet, Stan’s never won a set against Rafa. That must be so demoralizing.
Q. Yesterday you were asked for your views on the decision in the Troicki case. You mentioned that you feel sorry for Viktor. Although you were injured, you two have one thing in common, which is being away from competition for a long time. Do you have any advice for him about how to make it through a long time away from the tour?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is a completely different history, so is impossible to compare this thing.
Mentally probably if his feeling is he did nothing wrong, if he has this feeling, is frustrating mentally. But at the same time, he’s able to practice every day, so that makes a big difference.
I was not able to practice.
Also, Rafa didn’t have a set deadline to work towards. He was just hanging out hoping his knees would let him continue while having to keep his body in the kind of shape it needed to be to take advantage of the opportunity to play when/if it ever presented itself. I think that’s much tougher emotionally and mentally.
Q. Novak said last night that he has lost faith and trust in the anti-doping authorities, partly because of the Troicki case. He doesn’t believe they are accurate enough. What do you think about the whole situation, about what he said?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody’s fair to say. You know, I said hundreds of times of what I think about all of this.
At the end all the words that I can say not going to change nothing. At the end when I talk, the thing about these things, is not good for me, so I prefer to not talk about these things.
But at the end we have rules. We can like or not bad rules, but we have rules.
I am very sorry for Viktor because I believe 100% on him. Probably the doctor, you know, make the mistake. But he knows that he has to pass the doping.
I think the thing that makes sure that the doctor was wrong is Viktor make the control the next day. So that proves that the doctor give him the possibility to make it the other day. That’s the negative point about that.
But at the end he knows that he has to do the control when, you know, the authorities required. So was a big mistake.
Exactly. You have take the test at the appointed time or there is no integrity in the doping program at all.
Q. In your mentality on the court and in life you never give up, you never quit. Recently you said with ATP politics, you quit, you want no more. I want to know, what is it about the tour politics that makes you want to quit?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am focused on my tennis. At the end I am a guy that when I do things, I do the things with everything that I have. I feel that me and another guys tried hard for a few years to make things that can improve the tennis in general and can make the careers longer and can make the life a little bit easier for the players and can make a difference at the end of our careers.
My thoughts, my worries is my life is not only tennis. I have a life after tennis. I going to finish my tennis career when I going to be young. So I love this sport. I would love to have the chance to be able to keep practicing this sport after my career.
So with a lot of things that we have on tour, I am really, you know, worried that I will not be able to practice the sport after my career. That’s something that makes me feel very sad.
But I am talking personally. But I am nobody in this world. I am just one more player, one more career. There are a lot of careers that probably will have the same problem, and is not nice that.
I am out because I feel with the structure of today, there is nothing to do. That’s my feeling.
The tennis world is a monster with too many heads. You can’t attack them all at once.
Q. You can’t change anything?
RAFAEL NADAL: You can change the structure, yes. But I am not enough powerful to change that, and I don’t want to fight more, seriously. I want to play tennis. I want to enjoy the last years of my career, and that’s what I am doing.
All the things that I feel that can improve, the people who has to know, they know. That’s it. I don’t want to fight more for this thing because at the end I feel that the opportunities with this structure are very low.
And the energy it must take for an “all in” kind of guy to fight that many-headed beast would just drain too much from what he needs to be on top of his tennis game. I wish he could find a way to do both because I do think some change is needed, but…it is what it is.
Q. Today’s match was really close. How do you explain that when it’s close, still it’s you who wins in the end? What advice would you give to Stan to eventually one day beat you?
RAFAEL NADAL: We cannot say. At the end was two amazing points at the end of the first set. One lob that I don’t know how I put it there. I saw on the TV now after the match, and I felt that I was very far away from the ball. But finally I was able to get the ball and put the ball in a dream place, because I could not put the ball in a better place from that position.
He was unlucky the next point. He make a bad movement on the net.
Second set the same.
But is true that in both sets I was able to have the break before him, so I was on control of both sets before all the complications.
At the end was very, very close everything. But I think I played with the right determination the important moments, especially the second set to win the match. I played more aggressive at the end of the match than I did the rest of the match, and that give me the victory.
I felt I had to do it. I do it. Because I play with the right determination, I felt much better the ball with my forehand.
It’s good to know that sometimes Rafa has the same reaction to those impossible shots that we do!
Q. You said all year the No.1 ranking was not the most important thing, but then you said today it was for this match. When did you start thinking about that? Was it after Bercy? Was it when you first got here? Was it weighing heavily on you?
RAFAEL NADAL: To finish the year No.1?
RAFAEL NADAL: It came important after the US Open, because after winning five Masters 1000s, two Grand Slams, all the things, I felt that I had everything to be there.
But at the same time, I have a zero in Australia, I have a zero in Miami, I have a zero in Wimbledon. A lot of zeros to be No.1. I think is a great effort because I have unbelievable competitors in front. That makes the year‑end No.1 very, very special.
You can feel how tough is everything that winning all the things that I win this year, until the last tournament, I was not able to make it. So that makes everybody think how difficult is be there.
All the people wondering why it took so long to tie up the #1 seem to forget about those zeros. That he was able to get to #1 with no points in half of the tournaments that offer the greatest possiblitly at boosting your point totals is amazing.
Q. Now that you’ve secured the No.1 ranking, if you can now go on and win this tournament, which is the only major title you’ve never won, how special would that be? Where would it rank in terms of Grand Slams and the Olympics?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am in semifinals, no? I am very far away to win this title. Here we are fighting. Winning two matches already, that’s a very positive thing for me.
But, seriously, even if I am in semifinals, in this surface, I am not the favorite. I know that. But I gonna try. We’ll see. We’ll see if that happens. We’ll see where is in my emotions because at the end talking about important things is talking about personal emotions. That’s my feeling.
At the end what’s more important is not what’s more important for everybody, it’s what’s more important for yourself. I never won that, so I cannot tell you.
Heh. So, let him decide what’s important and stop trying to make those decisions for him. Oh, and let him decide that one match at a time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports