Queen’s: 1st round presser transcript

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A transcript of Rafa’s post first round presser is up on the ASAP Sports site.

Q. How much is that a blow for you in the general picture?

RAFAEL NADAL: It’s a loss. I think I didn’t play bad at all. I fighted until the end. Had a great comeback.

Games here on grass is like this. Yeah. I had break up in the third, and then he played some good points. I missed a few balls. Then especially with the 30-40, 4-All, one forehand, and that’s it.

Nothing to say, you know, against me. I played against uncomfortable player in the first round here and I had my chance. I didn’t play a bad match, but matches sometimes here decide in just a few things, and I was not lucky enough today. I probably didn’t play enough aggressive when I had the break up in the 4-3.

Q. How different was the grass here to the grass you were playing on in Stuttgart?

RAFAEL NADAL: Both courts have been great, no? No, no, no. Here is a little bit more slippery than there probably because it’s the first days and there is no‑‑ you know, there is a lot of grass there.

I feel that for running was a little bit tougher than there for the movements. But, no, in general, is a great court. I felt comfortable on it, no? Just big mistake in the first game with my serve of the match, and then played a little bit of pressure during the rest of the match. I resisted well the pressure. I played a great second set and I was playing a good third.

But at the end, no, he played well and he was a little bit better than me. That’s all that I can say today.

Some days I can say I didn’t did that, but I cannot say I am very sad the way that I played.

Q. Physically and mentally do you feel okay?

RAFAEL NADAL: Mentally, yes.

Q. And physically?

RAFAEL NADAL: Physically I’m fine, yes.

Q. Would you have preferred more matches before Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer to win all the matches (laughter). Not just before Wimbledon. I prefer to win all the matches of the year.

Q. Is your grass court preparation okay going into Wimbledon?

RAFAEL NADAL: I know I played more than that before Wimbledon – no, no, the year I played more with five matches, that was the year that I won here in 2008, and this year I already had five matches.

No, no, no. That’s all. Yeah. Nothing very negative, winning a tournament last week.

This week I lost an opportunity, but, you know, my feeling, my thoughts are no different today than yesterday. I am better, I am playing better than before, and enjoying more on court than before.

Today I lost. I accept. I keep going. I gonna keep practicing hard. I hope to be ready to play well in Wimbledon.

Q. What’s it like when you’re under pressure in a match and you know the former king of Spain is sitting there watching you and Jose Mourinho and other people in crowd watching you? Is that inspiration or what?

RAFAEL NADAL: That doesn’t matter. You know, I feel thanks for the ‑‑ well, the king of Spain has been here. I have a great relationship with the king, Juan Carlos, and it’s just that he’s here.

And I have a very good relationship with Jose, too, when he was coach of Real Madrid. So for me the same.

No, is good to have supporters on the crowd, but that’s not an inspiration, not an extra pressure. I play my game. I try to do my best in every single match of the year and not try to be better if there is somebody or not on the crowd.

Q. You’re still in the doubles. Who’s to say you won’t be here playing the doubles final on Sunday. Is your intention to, as soon as you possibly can, to go back to Mallorca or stay in London and practice on the grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: I’m going to come back to Mallorca. I have been traveling a lot this year. Since the beginning of the season I have been playing some more tournaments than usual, normal when you don’t win that match.

But at the same time I need my timings and I need my periods of rest. After Roland Garros, I only came back home for two days and I was flying to Stuttgart to prepare the tournament.

So I gonna play the doubles now. I hope to win. It will be great if I can be here for a few more days and can practice a little bit more and then have period of three days at home and then come back.

That’s my idea. I gonna try my best in the doubles.

Q. When you slipped over and you got up, you were feeling your left knee. Were you worried at that stage?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, that’s fine. No, no, just a bad movement. I’m fine. Thank you.

Q. Would Jose Mourinho be someone who would ever give you advice? If so, what would he say?

RAFAEL NADAL: He’s a football manager. He’s one of the best of the world. And I have my team. I will not give him never an advice of football and probably he will not giving me never advice of tennis.

Q. Obviously it can transfer though.

RAFAEL NADAL: We are talking about tennis now (smiling).

Q. Playing on grass is unpredictable, always different, but when you’re playing somebody like Alex on grass and he’s such an awkward player, can you just comment on that, on how much more difficult it might be to play somebody like him on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: He’s difficult in every surface, and here his serve today was great, huge, a lot of good serves. And especially the second serve was so difficult to read, too, because sometimes he played very, very, with bigger slice on second serve, and sometimes he played with topspin. So it was not easy to return the second serve, no?

Because first serve always is tough to return, but second serve was tough for me. I was not able to read much the return.

But, you know, I was fighting in every point. I was with the right concentration, with the right motivation, don’t giving up when I had tough moments.

I not happy I lost a match that I had a chance to win, but that’s it. That’s tennis on grass, you know. Probably the best player of the history on our sport and best player on history on grass yesterday was close to losing in Halle, 5‑3 in the third of the tiebreak. That is sport, especially on this surface and anything can happen.

Today was my turn. You know, accept that, and the good thing is I am positive mentally. I feel myself playing well. I hope to have some more good days of practice here and some good rest at home, and I gonna come back strong with a good week of practice before Wimbledon and I hope to be 100% ready to play Wimbledon. It’s good motivation for me today and I gonna try my best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

11 Responses

  1. jodiecate says:

    I’m really astonished to find, on a few different tennis forums, how many people are saying this was a bad loss for Rafa. Sure it was a disappointing loss, with him having been 4-2 up in the third – but it was not a bad match.

    It was a bad start. When the first set went by so quickly i was a bit worried, but then, the way he played in the second set, just hung in there, faced down break points, cleaned up his own play and then got the break at the end and took the set, i was really impressed with how he had been able to turn things around. Him going up to start the third seemed really natural.

    To me this did not seem a confidence loss as we have seen so many times this year – this was a failure to execute loss. He seemed to go off the boil, i thought maybe from fatigue when he was double-faulting and all. And then he couldn’t get back in control as Dolgo kept him off balance and spooked.

    Folk are saying the answers in this presser show he’s weakening, accepting his losses too easily and is mentally out of the game. To me, this presser shows him being remarkably sane about the whole situation. I’m happy that he’s happy with his level going in to Wimbledon. I really cannot fathom what people think he should be saying.

  2. casmis says:

    I make a habit of staying away from what the commentators have to say, particularly about Rafa’s future. Throughout his career he has been known for being unusually honest about the state of his game and I don’t see any evidence that this has changed, so when he says he feels he is playing better and playing with fewer nerves, I believe him. I fail to understand how anyone can read his mind or know how he is feeling so the endless speculation about his state of mind is really a waste of time. He has been celebrated over the years for his toughness and fighting spirit. Obviously both are at a low ebb at this point, but if anyone can turn that ship around, it is Rafa, who has built a legendary career surpassing expectations.

    • jodiecate says:

      You are right casmis, my main issue tho isn’t with the commentators it’s with other Rafa fans, including plenty on this site. I’m sure their are loads of his fans who haven’t written him off, and who respect his *process* of what he needs to do to get through this time – i suppose we’re just not quite so vocal so it seems like there are less of us, while you would hope, we’re actually the majority!

      • Aero says:

        Hey guys, just because we are fans doesn’t mean we should all be in agreement with Rafa’s current state. I take comments from commentators and fans alike with a grain of salt. I think that many assume that because the likes of Djokovic, Murray and Fed are still playing great tennis we should expect Rafa to be back there with them sooner or later. However, we need to accept that a decline in form will happen sooner or later. Rafa peaked very early in his career, at a time when those other 3 couldn’t touch him, 10 years at the top of the sport is a lifetime in tennis. If he never wins another tourney he’ll still be one of the best who ever played the game. Despite being a fan I have come to the realization that Rafa many truly be in decline. His inconsistencies this year are too regular and sustained over a period which can’t be simply defined as off days, or this issue or that.

        I still think he has some gas left in the tank and that there will be flashes of brilliance, however with his style of play and early peak, I don’t see him having the longevity of the likes of Fed. I’m not expecting anything great from him this year and hope he can reinvent himself come next years clay court season. Sorry, call me negative or whatever, I just see it as a time defined reality, a great run that is slowing down! Its taken everyone by surprise because it was not gradual but sudden. No other player has achieved so much and yet been plagued with so many time out injuries, this to me explains the suddenness of it all. Nevertheless, I’ll still be cheering him on in competition!

        • arthur says:

          Is Federer playing great tennis at the moment? I must have missed that……..
          Fed had a great year in 2014, but at the moment he’s only 25 points ahead of Rafa in the Race to London rankings. Like Rafa, the only titles Fed has won this year have been 250 or 500s (a.k.a non-important titles) plus he went out very early in Madrid, Monte Carlo and the Australian Open. Not to mention he very nearly lost to Kohlschreiber in Halle two days ago. So I don’t see how you can put Federer in the same group as Murray and Djokovic to be honest, as they’re playing far better and having far better results than he is this year. Federer is only ranked as high as no.2 because of his strong ending to 2014. His 2015 has not been great.

          • Aero says:

            Firstly, Federer is # 2 and ahead of Murray in rankings, he did beat Djokovic once this year in a final and came close to beating the guy again in the final of IW an ATP 1000 tourney. How many other players can say that this year? The “is only ranked # 2” remark is lame and redundant, as if a player can achieve it by some lesser means. You have to be playing consistently decent tennis to maintain a ranking like that. At 33 and # 2, is an incredible achievement. Rafa is currently in a state Federer has never been in, every player he comes up against these days pushes him to the limit and is capable of beating him.

            • arthur says:

              “Rafa is currently in a state Federer has never been in, every player he comes up against these days pushes him to the limit and is capable of beating him”

              I take it you weren’t following Roger Federer during his dreadful 2013 season then? He lost early almost every tournament to players he had dominated, so saying Federer has never been in the same situation as Rafa is plain wrong.

              Federer is #2 yes, but you still miss the point. He is barely ahead of Rafa in the Race to London and he has had several surprising early losses in 2015. A lot of his ranking points come from 2014 – that is a fact! One win over Novak doesn’t change that.

        • jodiecate says:

          @Aero, well – absolutely – vive la difference and all that. Thanks heavens not everyone agrees, what a boring world we’d have then!

          It just still surprises me that you (and others) have already decided what’s “obviously” going on here instead of waiting to see how things turn out – that you seem to have concluded that if he’s not back up to top form 6 months after an extended injury break then he’s just not going to improve anymore. You say we’ve all been “surprised” by his decline, when actually everyone i know was expecting a decline when coming back from a long injury time out.

          I’m not expecting us to swap shoes or anything, just letting you know there are options in the footwear department. ; )

          • jodiecate says:

            um… in case i wasn’t clear about it there – i’m trying to say i think he is still regaining his top level and we’ll see him back up to top five ranking in the not too distant future. Let’s see hey?

          • Aero says:

            Jodiecate, we don’t decide anything on the matter, it all opinions including yours and mine. If you assume he is going to recover from this slump and return to the top of the game, great! I’d honestly would love to see that happen too. However, I don’t really see it happening. At 29 now, I think his best years are behind him, that’s a statistical reality in the life of a tennis player, there are a few exceptions to that rule but I don’t think Rafa is one of them due to his physical game. I’m not saying he’ll never win another major tourney again, he may win another GS or more ATP 1000s over the next year or two, but those wins won’t be a frequent as before and the window will close for him sooner than later.

            I think based upon his great come back in 2013, many expected a similar one this time around. The very fact that many are still so optimistic about a return to form proves that. I however think this time is different to 2013 due to his age and the fact that the field has become stronger. That fear of him no longer exists. These are my justifications, but again just my opinion. Only time will tell who’s right!

            • jodiecate says:

              See, i think the difference in his age is why it is taking him longer to recover this time than in 2013, not that it will never happen. Regardless of how young he started – he’s too talented and too determined to just let things slide. I don’t see any of the younger players coming through playing consistently at a level that’s going to trouble him on a regular basis, Novak’s still the only one who’s the persistent threat.