presser RolandGarros

RG: Rafa/Andujar Presser Transcript

5/26/2011Rafaholics ™





Top seed Rafael Nadal was again pushed beyonf three hours, winning a hotly contested battled against countryman Pablo Andujar in the second round of the French Open on Thursday. Nadal, who needed more than 4 hours to down big serving American John Isner in the first round came face to face against a completely different kind of opponent in 25-year old Andujar. The Majorcan finally prevailed 7-5, 6-3, 7-6, clawing his way back from 5-1, 40-0 in the third set to get the better of the world no.48. Nadal spoke in his post match press conference about his form, the tough conditions, the quality of opposition, his next opponent and a whole lot more..


Q. It looked like he gave you a hard time. Maybe the wind? What are your feelings about this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think for moments I played a little bit better. For moments I'm sure I didn't play well. I think in general that the match wasn't good for me. But not for the wind. Is because I am practicing well, but I not playing very well when I play matches. That's why. No excuse.


Q. Andy Murray said that it was really tough out there today, like the conditions were really making an effect on the match. So you didn't find it to affect you at all?

RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, sure. Sure, the conditions affect, but is better find solutions inside myself than outside. If it's wind, it's wind. The problem is if you are playing better or worse, you know, if you play good, seems like is much less wind. If you are playing bad, seems like a hurricane. So I think it wasn't an easy day, but in general that you can play good with these conditions. It's not a big problem, I think.




Q. Do you feel that you had a better control of the ball today than against Isner on the same, same problems? Or did you improve a little bit or what?

RAFAEL NADAL: The movements I think still a little bit slow. Well, in my opinion-- no, was a little bit unlucky after a lot of luck, you know. Because after the first set was-- I had 5-3 on serve. I had 3-2, 4-2 on serve for 5-2. Lot of chances to have not very tough first-set victory. After that I won 7-5. After that I have 2-0 to have the 3-0 and can play with a little bit more calm and try to play a little bit more aggressive, try different things to get confidence.But I never had this advantage on this court, seriously, no? When I had the break, always he break me back. So that was a problem to play a little bit better, or to try, anyway. And after that, seriously, I think in the-- well, I was very lucky in the 5-1, for sure. But I was very lucky in general in all the set. That's for sure, no?After the 5-2, I think I played better. I think I played with better directions against his backhand, a little bit playing a little bit longer with the forehand. So I am not happy, but I am here. (Smiling.)




Q.You said before that you didn't play very well today. What can explain that? Is it technique or confidence or, whatever, wind?

RAFAEL NADAL: The problems I think everybody knows; the solutions is more difficult.The problem is I am not playing enough aggressive, but I am not doing that because I don't have-- I don't watch the ball enough well to go inside, to hit the ball, changing direction with the forehands. Probably I am playing a little bit nervous, and that's why legs didn't work as well as usual.So the movements must be a little bit more dynamic, a little bit more electric to have the right position to hit the ball well. And if I do that, I think I can have big change.Because on the practice I am doing constantly I am practicing well, so it's probably a little bit more mental than the rest of the things.




Q. But is it the confidence that makes you run not very good, or it is the run which is not very good that gives you no confidence?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I would say beginning of Roland Garros always is tough for me, but, at the same time, you know, I not playing that well.I don't know if why is the confidence, how is-- but that's the thing, and that's-- I gonna try for sure my best.I think I played with fantastic attitude today, no? And if I didn't play my best, I was there all the time. I fighted every ball and all the time trying to find solutions to play better.That's what I want to try tomorrow when I gonna practice. For me, I will try my best in every moment. We will see.
Q. A win is a win, but in the past you were so dominant. You were not losing sets. Could you specifically focus on what your thoughts are, your confidence in particular? Are you as confident as before or not? Focus on that part, please.

RAFAEL NADAL: I lost matches this year, not sets. I lost two matches on clay for that. But be dominant or not, I was dominant. I played all the finals, so I only lost three sets doing all the tournaments before the finals, before the two finals that I lost. So I was dominant.But here I am not playing that well, and I gonna try to play much better next time. That's what I can say, and that's what I can think, try my best in every moment, try to be positive like I did today during all the match. I will see what's going on after.

Q. Is it unusual for-- it's pretty unusual for you to be up a break in the set to have the control and suddenly not be able to kill it. Is it frustrating? Can you try to explain what's happening when you have the game, the serve to be break up, to break up, and you can't convert it? Is it at this time you're feeling more nervous than usual?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't understand.


Q. Usually when you're a break up in a set--
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

Q. -- you're killing the match. And it seems like each time like in a break up today...

RAFAEL NADAL: Today, yes. That's what happened.I think I didn't serve enough well, I didn't hit enough well the ball.And he played aggressive when he was break against, no? He played very aggressive with the return, having good shots. He has a very good rhythm with the ball, good movement. So I think he's a good player. For sure wasn't an easy match. All the matches are tough. You can win easy only when you are playing perfect. If not, you have to suffer a little bit.

Q. You said before easy to see the problem; difficult to find the solution. When you realize that you are playing short, what goes through your mind? What do you try to do? You immediately try to change, hit it stronger, or think about changing maybe the racquet?

RAFAEL NADAL: Racquet?


Q. I mean, you never know. There are strings, the tension. You wait for the next-- the new balls. What goes through your mind if you realize that your ball is short today?

RAFAEL NADAL: I am not that good. That's what I think, no? I don't think about the racquet. I don't think about the ball. I think about myself. Always is my fault. Is not the fault of the rest of the things. If I am playing bad, if I am playing short, if I am playing too long, is my fault. It's not the fault of the racquets or the wind, you know. It's always--




Q. The legs?

RAFAEL NADAL: But the legs are mine, no? (Laughter.) No, so that's-- it's the true, no? What I think. Try to play longer next time. But try to find the right movements to have the confidence to hit the ball. Most important thing is try to hit the most of the-- 70% of the balls very similar, no? The same altitude, the same spin. So if you can repeat the same ball, almost every time after you gonna have the chances to start to play longer, to start to play with better directions.But the most important thing in the beginning to go to the next step is have the control of the ball, and have the control of the ball is know if you gonna hit the ball one meter over the net, two meters, or half meter. That's the first part of the improvement. I am in that part.




Q. Now, you say you had practiced well, that your attitude was okay, but then it was perhaps something mental. So what was happening in your mind? How come you're different?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, what is wrong about me is my footwork, my legs. But they're very much connected to my head. Maybe I'm more nervous than usual. I don't know. But I think it's my footwork. I think that's the problem. I have to overcome this; otherwise I'll go back home immediately. There's only this choice: Either I improve or I'll go back home. What I want is to improve to this tournament.




Q. Pablo could have won two sets. He had two set points. And you said that you've played more than seven hours in two matches. This is something you frequently do. Your match is usually long. But this means a lot of pressure on you. The question is: Did this impact your game?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, maybe the pressure for Djokovic was to play the finals. Is this what you mean? I have no pressure. I was not thinking about these points. It's not something that matters a lot to me. I'm really happy with what I did.I think I don't need to try and prove something to myself any longer. I am lucky enough, given all that I have at home with all the trophies I've won so far. Nobody can take them away from me. So all the pressure people can put on me now is all relative. At the age of 24 I've done so many things, many more things than I could have dreamt of in my career. So it's a question of finding my game, the best type of game for me.Frankly, I think I like playing long matches. I don't think it's bad for me to play long matches. On the contrary, this is a good physical and mental preparation for me for the tournament. After this, of course I need to improve my game from the qualitative point of view. This is what I've started doing. Well, for the time being, it's true I play better during practice compared to my game during the matches.




Q. (Off microphone.)


RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the first three it was luck. It was 40-Nil. That's the end of the set. I thought I couldn't do much after this.But then when it was the deuce, I thought, oh, I can perhaps build up my confidence again. I'll try and relax a little. Then when I was up 5-2, I didn't lose the set.

Then we had all these rallies, and this is when I thought I could win my two serves. And then if it was 5-3, he would feel the pressure on his shoulders.This is when I thought I've got to hit well inside the court, not to make any unforced errors. I didn't make any errors. He won a few points. I was not playing long enough. Yet I was not really making many mistakes. And then the pressure was on his shoulders, because he had come from a favorable position down to this new position.Then there was a bit of luck, 5-4, and then the tiebreak and this dropshot, as well. But these are the things that might happen. Then I manage to improve going from 5-1 up to 5-5.

Q. The other day when you were playing against Isner you felt your game was not really good, and today you've had some problems on your serve. How come?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I wanted to return aggressively. My serve was not that bad, but afterwards I wanted to change my tactics a little and to return the balls backhand.Afterwards it was okay, so I decided to put more spin into the balls and to hit them more strongly. Usually when he was taking the ball backhand I had to move too much on the court, so I slightly changed my serve strategy, and I thought it was a good idea because I could see the first ball better.


Q. I have several questions. My first question is: It seems that when you play on the Lenglen, you don't really play that well. I have another question. Pablo said he wanted to play as if he were Djokovic. What do you think about this?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, nobody can play like Djokovic, because there's just one Djokovic, to answer your question.Whether he said this or not, I can tell you it's impossible to play like Djokovic. Everybody's got his own style. You can't try and imitate any other player. Of course you can take a few ideas here and there, but copying someone, that's absolutely impossible.As if now I wanted to play like Federer, I couldn't do this, or say I wanted to play like Murray, I couldn't do this.Everybody's got their own skills. Everybody's got their own game style. But there are players that have less to lose than me probably. People could play more aggressively, be more of an attacker or return the balls differently.But, as I said before, I don't think I played that badly. Juan made a few mistakes, as well. I think his season is excellent on clay. I think he's very consistent in his pace. He's really intense when he hits the balls, they're very heavy balls, and his footwork is really excellent. He returns the balls really well. I think he's got a lot of things he can still do.




Q. Well, you were saying that usually your first rounds are not really good, but let's have a look at 2011. Would you say that to start 2011 the starting of the year is like the other years or worse or better?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I lost two sets sometimes, but not the match. You know, I don't like these comparisons between years. I don't know if I'm going to win a sixth time.We should talk about the present. We should talk about the problems I have today and the solutions I have to find. We have to think about this. I know exactly what I have to do. I have to improve day in, day out. You can't go from 0 to 50 or from 0 to 100 or 15 to 30, 30 to 45. It's each point that counts. You have to go up little by little if you can. If you can't, then go back home. That's the thing.If I can't do this, I'll go fishing in Mallorca, but each day I see some type of improvement, okay. I've reached the third round. I'm still here in front of you. I'll do my utmost tomorrow so that my practice is like yesterday's, which was very positive. I practiced really well.

Maybe today was not really prepared for this type of match. However, my warmup was really good this morning. It really is a good sign, you know. Playing well is one thing, but if my practice is bad and I play badly on the courts, then I would say I have to change something. But my practice was good, and I didn't play that badly, that poorly.So to start with, that's my starting point. Then I will continue and try and improve, so the next match I play it's going to be better and so on and so forth.This is what I've decided to do. I will try and stick to this. I will do my best, as I said. If I can't do this, I will go back home. I will say, Okay, I've done my best. Back home.


Q. Well, your next opponent will be Antonio Veic from Croatia. What do you know about Veic?


RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I played against him, but not that often. I haven't watched him play. I have not watched his match, but he's probably defeated Davydenko, so he's a good player, I think. I will try and do my best. I'll try and find my own tennis, my own game, and then I will pray so this is enough so that I can win.

Q. I have a very last question to ask concerning your footwork and how you moved on the court today. My question is: Do you think it's better for you to play behind the baseline or not?


RAFAEL NADAL: Well, what is important is footwork and to be where you have to be on the court. If you're playing from the baseline but you hit the balls, that's okay.If you hit the balls really deep, that's a different style. Automatically you're going to move forward into the court. If you hit the balls correctly, then, you know, you might come into the court.

This is what I'll try and do probably so that I can hit the balls better. This is what I will be working on. The Del Potro/Djokovic match will certainly be an incredible match.p>

Sometimes on the tour it is most unfair when the players have to do this. If it were me, I would change the bylaws. But, anyway, these are the rules for the time being. This is it. Let's accept them. And of course, some rankings are more protected than other rankings.This is what happens. We will see. We will see what happens. But I think it's a bit of bad luck for both players.

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