Rafa Nadal: 'Hearing the Affection of the People Pushes Me to Keep Going'


The day after his latest triumph at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal gave a long interview to Marca.

Did you sleep after the victory in Paris?
“It’s always hard to sleep after the moments of stress that a tournament like Roland Garros produces. It’s not a new thing to me, after the match you have to talk with the media, then dinner with staff and family then reach the room a little tired to rest. It was a special tournament, the public cheered for me like never before and this is a reason of satisfaction and joy. Since I’m back from the injury, the welcome was marvellous in every place I played. People supports me a lot."
How will you explain to those who ask, that you don’t feel the favourite for next year?
“I never feel as the favourite for next year. What happens this year, doesn’t grant something for the year after. I don’t care weather I’m the favourite one up to the media, the important is to arrive here and having good feelings, when you arrive with a record like mine you know you are one of the candidates for the victory, but you can win or lose.”

The day you won’t feel anymore the fire inside before entering the court, will you retire?
“I don’t know. The anxiety before the match can start to miss because of fulfilment, like because you don’t feel all this pressure. But this doesn’t mean that it starts to miss the willing to win, which is more important than the nervous charge.”
One week ago, L'Equippe published an hypothetical ranking of 2018. Nadal is not there. Won’t you play anymore in 5 years?
“I don’t know, it’s 2013 and I’m playing, this is the most important thing. One of the main goals is Rio 2016. I will do everything to arrive in a good shape to that appointment. After it, I hope I fell fine and to be able to continue until 2018, but these are things you can’t neither control, neither imagine. It’s still much far away and I can’t predict life…”
How’s the knee going in sight of Wimbledon?
“During these days of rest I will do some checks to the knee, a lot of time has passed since the last time I checked it. I hope the results will be satisfying since it supported me very well. This year I won’t undergo to any infiltration wit growth factors after Wimbledon. The pain at the knee was my last preoccupation since Vina del Mar. It’s not a matter of pain, it’s about evaluating month after month if the knee can slowly make you compete without any limitation.”
What do you think about the last declarations of Gulbis?
“They are values and ways of living your life different. Everyone is free to think what he wants, maybe he comes from another culture… the behaviours he promotes are completely different from what he should do as example for young people. Willing or not young people look at us, and what he said was completely wrong from an education point of view.”
Did you talk to Rochus after his declarations?
“I didn’t have the chance to talk with Rochus after his declarations about doping. It’s easy when you are at home saying something to be protagonist. He wasn’t protagonist a lot when he was a tennis player, so if he feels like this saying stupid things he’s free to do it. It doesn’t offend me to hear such stupid things from people like Rochus.”
What do you know about the biological passport?
“I don’t know a lot about the biological passport, tennis is pretty outside doping compared to other sports. There a few positive cases and certainly not because of the lack of controls. I don’t think that doping in tennis has much sense. I don’t know well what the biological passport is, but everything can make our sport as clean as possible is welcome.”
Before Roland Garros there are always surprise controls. Did it happen also this year before or during the tournament?
“No, this time not. We are back to the usual problem. You won’t ask question like these if controls would be public. This is the way to follow.”
Was it a risk to play at Indian Wells? An appointment on hard court wasn’t predicted.
“I had good mental and physical feelings and I was moving well. I decided to take part to it and it revealed a good choice.”
Who does decide the schedule, you or Toni?
“I take the decisions about the calendar not Toni. I’m the player an it’s me who decides. Another thing is the staff composed by Toni, my doctor and my coach. They give an opinion about what it’s right for me. I’m not a person who takes unilateral decisions, I hear the people close to me and want my good, then I decide.”
You didn’t go to Halle to avoid to get injured like last year?
“I don’t think it was a mistake last year. The problem would have came out anyway, I already got injured in Paris. Furthermore I had to go as contract and it’s the ideal preparation for Wimbledon. Maybe not playing before Wimbledon this year will cause me some problems at the debut, we will see if I’ll be able to train well there in order not to suffer at the first rounds. It would be better to meet someone who gives me rhythm at the beginning. Better to avoid who plays just on a few shots.”
Do you think that the virus which didn’t allow you to play at Abu Dhabi, Doha and Australian Open turned out to be a positive thing?
“You never know. It happened what happened. I started the season with a South- American tour which gave me a lot of strength. Vina del Mar, San Paolo and Acapulco were part of a great experience. The affection of the people was determining for what happened after.”
In 2009, when you stopped for the first time because of the knee’s tendinitis, you confessed that the most appreciated message was the one of Cristiano Ronaldo the day in which Federer won Wimbledon. Which is the one you liked at most in the last few months?
“No-one in particular. I received many messages from sports men, friends and people of every social class. The only thing I can do is thank them from the bottom of my heart, they transmit me the willing of going on and doing well.”
During these months of break, did you play more or less of what you hoped for?
“I missed competition. I love this sport and I like practicing it. When I’ll decide to stop I won’t miss it anymore, that was a different situation. I was forced not to play…”
What is behind such a successful player and winner of 12 Slam?
“Nothing special. Luckily I always had a team that was close to me in every occasion. Going all over the world and hear the affection of the people is amazing and push you to keep on going.”
What do you feel when you hear the Spanish national anthem? Does some tears fall sometimes?
“It’s a special moment when you are there, in the middle of the court and you hear the anthem of your country. It represents you and your countrymen. It reflects the dream for which you worked hard. A lot of nice images come to your mind, and in that moment some tears can fall…”
Reaching 17 Slams like Federer, is it a goal you aim for?
“I don’t have as goal the on of passing the record of 17 Slam of Federer, it’s something that I see far far away, something I don’t think about.”

Interview Source: Marca
Photo Source: Pacific Coast News

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