interview RolandGarros2011

Interview: Nobody is unbeatable


Rafael Nadal : Nobody is unbeatable

INTERVIEW – Three days before the start of Roland Garros, The world number one talks with “20Minutes” about his rivalry with Novak Djokovic.

For the first time in his career, Rafael Nadal doesn’t go into Roland Garros as the nearly unbeatable favourite after his two defeats against Novak Djovovic. Not enough reason for the 5-time winner of the event to be bothered about it. He’s far from having lost his thirst for victory.

In hindsight, how do you look back on the Rafael Nadal of 2005, who managed to win his first Roland Garros at the age of 19.

That’s very far away. I was a player with totally different qualities as the ones I can have today. It’s not obvious to draw a comparison. My tennis has evolved, I have different playing patterns but the foundation is still the same, you never lose that.

How do you think you have changed as a player or as a man?

As a person, I don’t think I’ve changed a lot. I’ve been lucky to experience things I could only dream off when I was much younger. But I have the impression that I’ve changed a bit more as a player than as a man.

Do you have your own little habits in Paris?

I do like to visit the same places. When I arrive here to play in Roland Garros or in Bercy, I spend a lot of time in this city. It’s important to feel comfortable in a tournament, a bit like feeling at home. I do believe that I’m feeling very well here.

How do you find the motivation to keep on improving your game when you’ve already won so much ?

The motivation doesn’t change. I’m always looking to be a better player, to improve and to stay in the top region of the ranking as long as possible. I’m aware of how difficult this task is, but when I’m losing, I’ll still would like to feel that I’ve given it my all.

Would you still like to be the number one at the age of 35 ?

No. I don’t think in terms of top ranking. My goal is to work in order to go as far as I can get.

Can you imagine being trained by somebody else than your uncle?

You never know. But in principle; no.

Have you ever encountered an opponent as strong as Djokovic on clay?

Honestly, he’s strong on all surfaces.

Does he currently seem to be unbeatable to you?

Nobody is unbeatable. His playing level is very high and he’s very hard to beat. We’ve all had periods when we were in great shape. There was a time when Federer seemed unbeatable and on clay, I was able to give that impression. Today, it’s Djokovic’s turn and we have to congratulate him. People can have this sensation but I repeat: nobody is unbeatable.

What has Djokovic changed to get this strong ?

It’s best to ask this question directly to him.

But you must have an idea about it after your defeats in the finals of Madrid and Rome…

I believe that he has gathered a great deal of self-confidence and it’s helping him a lot.

A question that’s not related to tennis at all. As a supporter, what do you think of José Mourinho’s first season in Real Madrid?

Real Madrid had a great season with a great trainer. They’ve hired a fair amount of young players. It was already a good team, but it will be an ever one in the coming seasons.

Were you not disappointed by the Clasicos series?

The matches were tense, a lot more than we would have liked. We have to turn that page and I’m sure that things between the two clubs will go back to normal.

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