presser RolandGarros2011

RG: Rafa/Veic Presser Transcript

5/28/2011Rafaholics ™


World no.1 Rafael Nadal notched up another routine win on the red clay of Roland Garros and is beginning to look considerably more the fearsome warrior that we have come to expect after a couple of tepid early round matches. On Saturday, Nadal eased past 23-year old Croatian qualifier Antonio Veic in straight sets 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 with the first and third set combined taking just a minute more than the second.

Q. Obviously you played a lot better today than compared to the first two matches. Is it a big relief for you to see that your game is improving?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think so. I think I did a few things much better than the previous days. Happy for that.I have to continue for this way, I think. I think I played a solid match almost all the time. Just the beginning of the second, for moments of the second set, I had a few more mistakes.But for the rest of the match, I think I started to have better control of the ball. The position was more inside. The return was much better, I think, longer.And after that shot, having the chance to go inside with the forehand and try to have the control of the point, changing directions, no. I think I played longer, too, so, in general, happy about the improve, no?That's something not gonna be from 0 to 100, but now I improved, no, like two first days.

Q. I wanted to wait for more tennis questions. Nobody's asking, so I'm asking you: Tonight there is a Barcelona match, and I'd like to know, since you're a big supporter of Real Madrid, what you really support tonight.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, no, I know a few people from inside of Barcelona. You know, always I know Guardiola; I know Estiarte. They are there. I met the past few players of them, so from Manchester I really don't know not much.So I prefer Barcelona. That's true. I am big supporter of Real Madrid, but I prefer Barcelona. But what I really want to see is a fantastic football match tonight. I love football, and these kind of matches are always special.

Q. So you will watch it tonight?

RAFAEL NADAL: For sure, yeah.

Q. Djokovic and Del Potro are on court at the moment. You spoke the other day about it being disappointing that they have to play each other so early. Do you think there's anything that could be done to stop that kind of thing happening in terms of when somebody's coming back from injury?

RAFAEL NADAL: I say is different things to do; not only for that. I think to try to have a longer careers for the players, I think for sure have shorter calendar. But that's to have a longer career, to have less problems on this is have two years of ranking; not only one year of ranking.In my opinion, that's put a lot of pressure for the players. If one player gets injury for three months, five months, six months, the ranking is not done.For sure if you stop being No. 5 of the world, you not gonna be No. 6 when you come back, but maybe you gonna be No. 14, 15. But this way the ranking is done today, that's not happening. If you have an injury for three months, five months, you are done. Your ranking is very tough for everybody, I think. So I say it a lot of times in the council. I know a few players are happy with that.

Q. With the idea of changing?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I know that. A few important players. But, you know how difficult it is, all the changes. And, seriously, for me sometimes it is tiring for me to be all the time fighting and trying to have new ideas for improve. But I think changes a few things since three years or two years than when we are on the council. But, seriously, all the changes needs lot of time, and that's disappointing, no? Seems like I am working all the time for the next generations, and I would love to have something for my generation, no?

Q. I know you're always being asked about time and time violations and all that, but you got another one today. I know at Wimbledon the referee has said that they're really going to be a lot tighter on the time situation. What are your views on the time rules as they stand at the moment?

RAFAEL NADAL: The rule is the rule. If I am slow, I am slow. That's what I can say. No, no, if it's time violation, it's time violation. I have to go faster. That's my fault if I am slower.

Q. You said the other day in Spanish that you feel the pressure to have to defend your ranking every day, every week. Is it a new feeling, or did you have this feeling the years before?

RAFAEL NADAL: No one new feeling. Is my ninth year on the tour. Is completely the same feeling every year. Well, is my seventh being top 2 in the rankings, so is nothing new to have to defend points today, no? But, you know, that's for the players in the mental part, physical part. You can't. You don't have the chance to stop, never, you know. I think for that situation we have a shorter career. So having a different model of ranking, a different moment, a different model of competition, I think we can have longer career, no? Because in my opinion, you know, I have almost 25, but seems like I am playing for 100 years here on the tour. (Laughter.) So I think that's not possible. And I have this feeling, too, but I have this feeling because is too much every year, every week, you know. I didn't spend a weekend at home right now since the week of Davis Cup after-- before Indian Wells, you know.In my opinion, that's too much. In my opinion, the tennis is a very demanding sport mentally and physically. And mentally is special, too. Because you win a tournament, the winner of Roland Garros-- well, it happened to me. I won Roland Garros five times, but next Monday I am practicing on Queen's.So that's makes the career shorter for everybody, my opinion, no? And that probably is difficult, have a difficult solution, because we have four Grand Slams, we have nine Masters 1000, and the year is 12 months. But what have a better solution is have a little bit longer stop at the end of the season. I know that they're gonna reduce two weeks next year, but, seriously, is not enough.It's something that I don't gonna have these changes for my generation, but hopefully for the next generations to have a better sports life. Because I think you need two months, two months and a half of rest at the end of the season. You have to practice.I never able to practice and to try to improve the things during the offseason, and that's something I think terrible. Because then it's like, you know, that's the game. The game is challenging to keep improving, try to be better player all the time, and you only can try that in the tournaments.It's good to try to have one month and a half to say, Come on, let's go and try to serve this way one month without the pressure to have to compete in two weeks. So that's not happening.Sometimes it's like work. And, in my opinion, tennis is not work. Is passion. Is different -- the perspective, in my opinion, is different. With this calendar and with these rankings all the time, it's like work.

Q. I mean, if not even the No. 1 player in the world can change all this, what can we do? Because we can't write about. I do agree with all what you just said. But, I mean, you and Federer and Djokovic were all in the pro council.

RAFAEL NADAL: Djokovic, no.

Q. Well not now, but he has been maybe once, I think.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

Q. So I say if you cannot change yourself, who can change it?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is something -- I think is something very difficult. I know is interesting part right now. But is something very difficult, because, you know, is a lot of interest on the tennis, and I know what -- the thing that cannot happen is the tournaments that they invest on our sport, you cannot right now say, Well, you are out of the tour because we need a shorter calendar. I understand that, and I think all the players make sense about that and everybody understand that. But there is different solutions. You can have the same calendar. If you want to have 11 months of calendar, is no problem.But if you have two years of ranking and you put the Masters-- well, play US Open, play two more weeks and play the Masters. After you can keep having tournaments until December if you want, but don't have 1000 tournaments or Masters Cup at the end of the season, because that's obligatory to play if you want to be in the top positions of the ranking.But if you pull out these tournaments on October, November, yeah, and you play 250 tournaments at the end of the season, for all the players that they have ranking 40, 30, 15, 70, or even No. 1, if they have an injury during the season or they want to keep playing, they gonna have the chance to keep playing. But if you want to stop, you cannot stop. Now is not an option to do.And this is something that I understand. All the changes seems like is the end of the world for the tournaments. But for the tournaments, they gonna have probably better chances to have Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in one tournament at the end of the season after that, because sometimes we play exhibitions, too.And if they have enough good conditions for the players to be there, they gonna have his chances better than today. Let's see how many 250 tournaments or how many 500 tournaments we play around the season. Is impossible.I don't know how many matches I am playing this season. But, for us, I think is impossible to have an election to play more tournaments.

Q. In English you were saying that you improved your game. Is there anything that you were still missing today?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think I improved in all compartments of my game. I was more aggressive; I made less mistakes. I think that at the moment I have more control over the ball. I play very well on my forehand. I opened the court with a cross shot. I had points on my forehands; my backhand has improved quite a lot.That's how I managed to play far better on the court, even though I made some mistakes. But that's a process on which you can't say things go from 0 to 100. Everything has to evolve. It's progressive, but it's positive. It cannot be a drastic evolution. It can't go from black to white over one night.So by and large I'm very happy with this match, except for the beginning of the second set where I made some mistakes. But I also-- you also have to realize what a challenge it is to improve your game day after day.But I have very good feelings. It's very positive. I have confidence. I had very good practice this morning. I feel I'm more in control on the court, and it increases my self-confidence.p

Q. With regards to the balls, did you have time to practice in Mallorca? Because Roger was saying just the same thing yesterday. He said he had not had time to adapt to the Masters 1000. But yesterday was serving very high. Are you practicing on your serve?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, honestly, I didn't have much time to practice. I was focusing on other points than my serve because I had played so many matches over such a short period of time. But maybe tomorrow I can spend a bit of time and work on that point.Now, with regards to the balls, I mean, for the three days I was in Mallorca I did not practice at all. I didn't have time. The balls are different than on the Masters 1000. Once again, I like the balls we play with this year.But all changes are important. For us, the balls are obviously very important. But I think you don't want to blame the balls for my mistakes. The balls are okay. They suit my game. They wanted to have a ball that looks like the ball we had last year, because they thought Dunlop would engineer the same balls to play on clay. But, in fact, there's not so much difference.So I think the ball is very similar to the Dunlop ball that we had on Roland Garros last year.

Q. Ljubicic and Verdasco, one of them will be your next opponent. Who would you prefer playing?

RAFAEL NADAL: Prefer? None of them. But I will prefer the one I will be playing, obviously. I wish it was Fernando, because he wins and we have a great friendship.

Q. This is a technical question. When you walk on the court and he has this cross shot on his backhand, what would have been the best way to respond to that type of game? Because apparently this is what everyone wants to do, to be deep in the court and play on your backhand.

RAFAEL NADAL: No. In fact, I had played a very short ball. I remember that. It was a very short ball. And when you play against an opponent who can hit the ball very strong, I had no difficulties. The best response was to return as deep as possible, and this is what he did. When the ball goes higher it becomes more powerful. If I play long balls, they won't win a point against me on this, with this shot.

Q. Can you explain what is special about the central court here? Because apparently players who very often play on the Chatrier Court have an advantage because there are special things about this court.

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it's a very big court. Well, you know, it's a tennis court. Maybe there are some changes, but after the US Open, it's the most difficult central court to play on because it's very open. In the US Open it's not very big, but it's totally open; whereas in Wimbledon it's more enclosed.So all these open-air courts with the wind, as is the case here in Roland Garros, well, it's true that the wind comes in and makes our job a bit more difficult.The idea of playing on such a big court is quite impressive. Federer has played many times on this court. He's been in Roland Garros for many, many years. I don't think it's gonna be a problem for him. It's true that everything is in your head, really. It's more a psychological issue.

Q. During the last press conference, you were saying that you were trying to find solutions to your problems. Did you find solutions to your problems?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I improved my game. You know, solutions don't come from heaven. I mean, you can't change everything in one day. And you know what? I had not forgotten to play tennis for a week, but I played better today. I try and find solutions day after day when I practice, and then I try and implement that during the matches.But, as I said, it's not just a problem of tennis practice or technique. I also had problems with my mental concentration. I made a great step forward. I have more confidence, and that's a major step forward for me. Now, for the second week we'll see if I have changed and if I can make it till the end. If I cannot, well, it doesn't matter. Well, it's not all that serious, but I'll fight all the way, as usual.

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