presser RolandGarros2011

RG: Rafa/Ljubicic Presser Transcript

5/30/2011Rafaholics ™


Roland Garros Video snippet

Five time champion Rafael Nadal motored into the quarter-finals of the French Open on Monday with a straight sets 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over former world no.3 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia. Despite the scoreline, it was far from plain sailing for the top seed as he struggled for control on a mildly windy day. After the match Rafa had his usually long press conference where he spoke about everything from his match to comparing his present form with previous visits to Roland Garros to arch rival Novak Djokovic getting an extra few days off.

Q. Good result today. How do you compare your form to your other matches this week?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the result was very positive for me, winning three sets without many problems. Was a fantastic result be in quarterfinals last three matches without losing a set. So that's positive. I think I still playing a little bit with too anxious for moments, so it happened today, no? Because the conditions were very difficult, I think. The court was a lot of windy. But with the 3-2 of the first set, I think I played very, very bad game with my serve-- or 4-3, I don't remember, no? So that's the thing, no? I think for moments I am playing well, but for moments I am still having few mistakes in a row.So that's what cannot happen in next round.

Q. You still feel in control of the ball. It looks like in the first set you're still looking for your rhythm on your forehand. Normally you can spin 20 times, but now sometimes not.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think the opponent was not the easiest opponent to play well, to play with rhythm. If you are not playing very, very well, is very difficult to get the rhythm against Ivan because he has a very good serve. After, he play two winners, two mistakes, so it's difficult to say right now I going to hit five, six balls the same, no, because the rhythm is not there.So wasn't the right opponent to try to find the rhythm, in my opinion, no?


Q. It seems that after the first set you were more comfortable, going for it, going to the net. Is that the key for you this week, to go more for your shots towards the net?

RAFAEL NADAL: The key is play well. To play well, I think I have to play -- I think I improved a little bit the position the court. I am play a little bit more inside than the first two matches especially, so that's the positive thing. But I have to hit the ball with a little bit more conviction, in my opinion. That's what I have to do, is try to repeat the same points. Because for moments I am playing a few good points, but after I have few bad points. So I have to play all the match with regular level. That's the biggest issue for the last final part of the tournament for me.

Q. When you compare how well you've played here over the years and how you're playing now, how far off your best are you at the moment?

RAFAEL NADAL: For sure depends with which year you want to compare, huh?


Q. Any year.

RAFAEL NADAL: Going to be long if I have to have all the comparisons. In 2006 I think I didn't play well during all the tournament; in 2007, normal; 2008, I played fantastic, but I played fantastic especially quarterfinals, semifinals, and final. 2009 I think I played terrible all the tournament; 2010, so-so. Much better semifinals and finals than previous matches. Very so-so, in my opinion, no? This year, especially the second match was especially bad. First match wasn't that bad, in my opinion. Second match was bad level. Third match was positive, I think, in my opinion. And today, for moments was fine. For example, the last part of the second set, in my opinion, was very, very good level. I started to hit the ball well with the forehands, changing directions.In the third set, I started another time well, but after, with the break, 3-1 and everything in my favor, I played another time a very bad game. So that's the things that remain a little bit, no? Try to, when I have that advantage, convert that advantage. If I have to win 6-3 or 6-2, don't win 6-4 or 7-5, no? So that's the things that I am missing more in my opinion.


Q. With Fognini pulling out of the tournament, Novak will have four days off now. How would you feel if you were in that position?

RAFAEL NADAL: Fantastic, no? (Laughter.) Tell me what's the worst part of that?



Q. No rhythm.

RAFAEL NADAL: After don't lose a match during all the year with, I don't know, 40-something straight victories, you think he's out of rhythm now? (Laughter)

Q. In 40 years I follow tennis, and I never heard the No. 1 in the world being asked so many times why you play so badly, why you're not playing that well, how do you feel, what are your mistakes, and so on. Are you surprised about that, that every day you have to explain why you're not at the top of your level when you're playing, in my opinion, well?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, for me that's something fantastic. That's true, no? All the day we are talking about I am playing very bad, but I am in quarterfinals. I play six finals in a row this year. I am having a very good year. One player is doing better than me. That's all. But I'm in good position to finish the year in a very high position of the ranking. For me, it's not an obligation play well every day. For me, I am No. 1 for one more week. The No. 1 not always play at the No. 1 level, no? You can be No. 1, but some days you can play level of No. 30 or level of No. 10, and the No. 10 can play at the level of No. 1. But you are No. 1 because most of the days during the season your level is regular. And even if you are not playing that well, you keep winning. It's true I am not playing that well. But I am in quarterfinals another time, and I going to fight to play a better match next time.Sometimes it's much more important win when you are not playing that well than win when you were playing well, because win when you are playing well probably is easier. Win when you are not playing that well is the more difficult thing. Only the top players can do that.I think that...



Q. You're confident Winning here?

RAFAEL NADAL: Win this tournament again? No, seriously, I am not confident. I am not playing enough well to win this tournament at the day of today. That's the true.The thing is you have to be realist, and today I'm not playing enough well to win this tournament. We will see after tomorrow if I am ready to play at this level. I going to try. But I won four times already here, five times already here. I don't have an obligation to win six. I going to try for sure, but...

Q. Congratulations. Why do you think you have so much experience over the years? How did you handle those situations to maybe get in a better mood off the court or something like that? Is there something different you do this year outside of tennis here in Paris?

RAFAEL NADAL: The same like every year. Nothing special. I am the same places. I spent a lot of time, a lot of weeks here in Paris over my life, so I feel like home. I am in the same hotel, the same places around, so it's nothing new for me, no? Seriously, I feel very comfortable here in Paris.

Q. Are you optimistic that you can find your best level quickly, like next match, next two matches? Or is it inevitable it's a gradual process?

RAFAEL NADAL: We will see. I don't know. I'm not a genius and cannot predict the future.

Q. Optimistic?

RAFAEL NADAL: If you are not optimistic, you are never going to find the solution. Important thing is be enough positive and have the mind enough open to keep finding solutions and to keep fighting every day to find the better performance, seriously. I know that fact. I know that. So that's positive, because I am practicing well. I have to pull out a little bit this nervous for next round, and we will see. Next round will be a very important match for this tournament for me, because, if I win, going to be a very important victory for me. If I win next match, it's because I am playing well. If not, I am on grass practicing next time, next day.

Q. Hello. You have said that you have to be more convinced when you play, you have to believe more in your game when you play tennis.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, people talk a lot about the problems I have. That's true. I'm not playing my best tennis, but, you know, people who want to find problems can always find them. The objective is to look beyond that. It's a good thing I have reached the quarterfinals. If I play that bad, I don't see why I would have reached the quarterfinals. Frankly, I think the stakes are high. I mean, I'm very demanding as well. You are very demanding as well, I think. So everybody is demanding. That is true.The problem is you can't always play your best tennis. That's the problem. I have been ranked No. 1 and No. 2 for seven years. So week in, week out for seven years I've been playing rather well. I will continue and fight until I reach the finals. I don't know if I'll succeed, though, but I'll do my best to do this. People should stop using the word "problem." We should try to find solutions and play with happiness, which is what I know. I know how to do this, being aggressive and intensive. I have nearly found this type of game again.I have positive thoughts, and next match is going to be important. If I don't win the match, I'll walk back home. But I'll be happy, because I know I'll have done everything I can so that I can fight until the end.That's all I can say. You know, I keep repeating the same types of things daily.


Q. Rafa, okay, we've talked about your match today. Now, what about Gilles Simon? Would you prefer playing against Simon or Soderling?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, both players are really good players because they're very consistent. Simon has more consistency; whereas Soderling is an incredible player. If it's Simon, I think I can dictate the game more than with Soderling. But both of them are excellent players.



Q. You've been playing since 2005 here at Roland Garros. From 2005 to now, what do you think about the tournament? What are the differences between Rafael in 2005 and Rafael in 2011, your game, the way you play, but also generally your attitude? Do you live things differently? Do you think you have changed or you're different?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think each year is different. The feelings are different and your life is different. The conditions are different; the circumstances as well, even though it's always the same because you're a bit nervous to play Roland Garros. There's stress upon you, which is normal. But, you know, if I lose, then -- how can I express this? I don't know if you're talking about my feelings, because I could I could say, Okay, I play my matches, I go to the hotel.

Q. I'm not looking for problems - and I'm not going to use the word "problems" - but I have seen some slight changes here and there. You've said there is more stress on you now. Is it something you can say generally about the match, or is it at a given given when you have a breakpoint and you can't really manage or win the breakpoint? For instance you were talking about areas here and there. Is it something we could say if you are a break up, or your opponent, and then you can't really win the point? Is that it?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, that's true about the stress. You know, when you want to do something and then you realize you can't do it, or what happens is not what you had foreseen because there's too much stress and therefore you're not consistent enough, yes, then this might happen once in a while. For example, I won this breakpoint after the third set, 3-1, 3-2, and then I started playing better and better. Sometimes it's ups and down. It's the roller coaster. But I don't know what to say. What should I add? I think I've explained this at length. I've told you already what it's all about, what I intend to do in order to overcome this difficulty. I'm quite serene.

Q. Well, we've asked questions about your feelings and the way you manage them. You might have some doubts. How do you feel?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I'm a bit tired. That's true. I'm a bit tired right now, frankly. But also, I feel good. I'm really happy. I have this desire to do things well. I would like to go through difficult moments and to overcome these obstacles. Sometimes things don't unravel the way you want them to develop, but sometimes it's necessary to go through these difficulties. I've reached the quarterfinals here at Roland Garros. It's been six finals for me here. For the time being, I would say everything is okay. So your question is how do I manage all this? My answer is I try and improve daily. I wake up very happy to practice and I'm really glad. So far things are going well. Of course there are some tiny obstacles I have to overcome, and I'll do it. If I don't do it, as I told you before, then I will try and improve next time I play another tournament. That's the only solution I can think of.There aren't that many options out there. You have to write a lot of papers on this, but tennis is a rather simple sport sometimes. Don't try and split hairs, you know. This sport is not too much of a tactical sport sometimes. There aren't that many explanations. If you play well, you have more options.You know what have to do to play well. As I keep on saying, I'll try.

Q. Congratulations for this victory. I have a question about Ferrer.

RAFAEL NADAL: We will probably be discussing in the locker rooms with Ferrer. He's worked hard throughout his life. Unfortunately, he was defeated today against Monfils. It was something very important for him, and I think in the town of Nice as well. You said is it a drama, and I can tell you that personally speaking, I look at things from a different standpoint. Today I suffered when I watched his match. If you look at the clay season he's played, it's been really good. He had many opportunities; there was a chance he could have seized, but he's missed it. He's a fully-fledged player who has proven to be good. He practices a lot. He deserved to go to the next round. He had this chance today when it was 5-3, 40-15. I thought, He's going to take the chance. But no, it wasn't the case.So I'm really sad for him. I was in the locker room with him and we discussed it. I think he's one of the best players in the world. He's an excellent person. I wish him all the best.

Q. Now, who's next? It's Soderling.

RAFAEL NADAL: Has he won his match?

Q. Let's assume that Soderling wins the match. For you that's going to be a special match to play against Soderling because he's a special person. It would be something special for you here in Paris?

RAFAEL NADAL: For me it will be a tough match. He's one of the best players. He's played two finals here at Roland Garros, so he knows what this means. He's got to play his best tennis. Against him last time he defeated me. But. Anyway, there's nothing to talk about. I won the finals last year. I didn't want to win against him as a person, but I wanted to win the tournament. I have to play my best tennis; I have to have more consistency. He's an incredible, all-round player. It's going to be a hard match. I will have to play really good. I think that I'll have to be more demanding. I will have to live up to my own expectations.I've managed to play good tennis, so I'll have to be optimistic. I think I can do the same again.

Transcript via Sport campus

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