presser wimbledon2011

W: Third RD Press Conference

6/27/2011Rafaholics ™

(June 17, 2011 - Source: Oli Scarff/Getty Images Europe)

R. Nadal - third round
Saturday, 25 June 2011


R. Nadal bt. G. Muller 7 6, 7 6, 6 0 Q. You've normally played on Centre Court. How did you find Court No. 1? A little slippery today?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I played in both courts all tournaments here. Nothing strange to play in No. 1 Court for me.

Q. How did it feel different from Centre Court?
RAFAEL NADAL: The Centre Court is always probably more special, but both courts are really, really nice.
No, the game don't change.

Q. Did you hurt your leg last night just before the rain came?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, little bit. I felt the leg little bit more tired than usual. I called the trainer for that. Today I still feeling little bit.
But this is not limiting my game. I can play with that without problems.

Q. It's the muscle rather than the knee?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, yeah, no. It's not the knee. Nothing of the knee. Just little bit the muscle, yeah.

Q. Are there any ways in which being a lefty is an advantage on grass? Today you played a fellow lefty, but...
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I answer this question one thousand times. The advantage is because there is not a lot of leftys on the tour. Maybe that's the advantage.
The thing that everybody say, Well, you have your forehand against the backhand of the righty. But the righty have the forehand against the backhand of the lefty.
The outside slice, outside serve against the backhand, the righty have the same on the deuce.
Seriously, the only thing is probably you play less times against leftys than righties. That's the only advantage.

Q. What was the challenge today playing against a fellow lefty?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the challenge is playing against a player who served fantastic during all the match, in my opinion. But I was little bit lucky the first set yesterday because I think I only won three points before the tiebreak on the return, and I had two set points against.
In the second set today, it was very similar match, no? The set points again. But you decide the set in two balls.
I think I played solid mentally, and in the tiebreak I serve all my points with the first serve. I didn't play no one point with the second. When I had the chance to return, I won the point. I think I played a good point. For that reason, I am in the third round.
The third set, two sets to love, I am able to play with less pressure. I started to return unbelievable and to play at very high level, I think.

Q. What is the challenge of facing Juan Martin Del Potro?
RAFAEL NADAL: Always is a big challenge play against him, no? He's a very, very tough opponent. One of the best players of the world. He had an important injury last year.
His ranking for sure is much better than what the ranking says today. His level is much better than what the ranking says today.
In my opinion, he's top five of level normally, if we talk about level. When he's healthy, he must be in the top five of the ranking normally, no? So will be a very tough opponent for me. I know that. I'm not lucky to play against Del Potro in the Round of 16. But that's what it is, and I have to be playing my best tennis to try to win.

Q. What specifically about his game is so difficult?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everything. I think he has a good serve, very good shots from the baseline. He's complete. I think he's a complete player.

Q. Today's top players have it all: size, power, defence to offence, great on all surfaces. You might not want to answer this. But fans love to imagine how the top players of this era would match up against the great players of the past, like Pete with his serve or Andre with his baseline.
RAFAEL NADAL: Andre wasn't that far. I played against Andre. And Federer played against Andre Agassi. So you can prove that. Nothing new.
I don't know. The champions are champions in his era, in his part of his history. I don't know. Is difficult to compare the moments of tennis 15 years ago between now because the game changes. Not for that reason says the players of today are better than the players of 15 years ago, or the players of 15 years ago are better than today.
The only thing that I can say is before, in my opinion, the top four players didn't play as solid as today is doing. I think all the tournaments, even if there isn't a Grand Slam, is 1000, 500 points tournaments, top players are always there in the finals, semifinals, playing in the final rounds. Probably in the past, didn't happen that a lot.
That's probably because can be two things: is the courts are a little bit slower than before, so the best have a little bit more chances to play the points, and finally if you have more time to play, the best player have better chances to win.
Second thing is because the players of today have big rivalry, and they know if they don't play at his best in every tournament, going to be very difficult to be in the top positions at the end of the season. For that reason we have to be very focused mentally every week.

Q. And the players do really well on all surfaces today?
RAFAEL NADAL: That's easy to explain. That's very easy to explain. Before, the ranking was completely different. You played in tournaments, and the best 18 results counts for the ranking.
Today is not like this. Today you have to play four Grand Slams, nine Masters 1000, four 500, and two 250s. You have to play well on all surfaces, because if not, it's zero points. Before, a lot of Spanish players didn't come here because they know if they came here didn't make a big difference on the points.
Today all the players have to come here and play well here. If not, you have zero points on your ranking.
So the way that the ranking goes today affects on the players are more complete and are able to play well on all surfaces because they have to do. Before, all the players played a lot more tournaments on clay. A lot of Spanish players played all the season on clay.
Today, even if everybody talks I am a clay court specialist, I play four or five tournaments for a year.

Q. A couple of champions John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors said recently the rivalries today are too nice, too friendly, like between you and Roger or Djokovic. What do you think of that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is better. I think is better like this than another way. For the example for the kids especially, the education is special, something very, very important, I think.
And if the kids who are watching the matches here, who are following us, will see each other fight every week, discuss every week between each other, probably in the future they are going to have the same. In my opinion, is not a good way the world have to work.
This is the game. What happen outside of the court doesn't affect what's going to happen inside the court. So we can be talking in the locker room before the match. That's not going to have effect what gonna happen in 10 minutes when we are on the court. That's my opinion. Probably the opinion of the past champions, they have more troubles between each other. Is different. But for me the rivalry is only inside the court. Doesn't affect the rest.

Q. Is this the strongest Wimbledon field you've faced, the strength of the top four? Can you remember a stronger Wimbledon field than this at the top?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think you never know what's going on. The tournaments start with one field of everybody and finish with a different result. So seems like the best players are playing well. I don't know if I gonna win next round. So probably the rest of the players thinks the same.
Every day is different. Every day anything can happen. Novak, Roger, Andy are playing well. But the matches are not easy to win. I had two set points yesterday against. Andy yesterday had a tough match. He won in the tiebreak, 7 5, tiebreak of the fourth.
So the matches are close all the time. Is difficult to predict something. We will see what's going on.

Q. The Spanish Under 21 start playing in the final tonight of the Euro Championships. Are you going to watch and do you have a message for them?
RAFAEL NADAL: I talk with the coach, with the second coach, two days ago. I send them the best of luck for the final.
What time is the final?

Q. I'm not sure. I think 8:00 our time.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for sure I going to be at home watching the match. I didn't have the chance to watch two days ago or three days ago because I was playing. But I watch the previous days. Today going to be an interesting match. We have fantastic team, I think.

Q. Do you remember watching when Roger beat Sampras here, and what do you remember about it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't remember that. Sorry. I didn't see that match.

Q. What players excite you in Under 21s?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's hard to say one. We have a very nice team. It's difficult to say just one.

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