sonyopen2014 transcripts 3/31/2014Rafaholics ™
Photo: Christopher Levy
SONY OPEN TENNIS
March 30, 2014
N. DJOKOVIC/R. Nadal
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Did you ever feel like you were able to sink your teeth into the match, get into the match, or Novak just seemed to like keep you at a distance most of the day?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, just first few games I was there. I had the break point, and I played a few games and a few points with right way, with right intensity.
But for the rest, easy to analyze. The opponent was better than me. That's it.
No, some matches, are, you know, more difficult to say. This one was not that difficult in general. He was better than me in everything.
So just congratulate him. That's it. I gonna keep working hard to try to be at very high level for next time.
Q. Is your health good today? Were you fine, 100%, physically fine today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I am fine. Thank you.
Q. He was able to open up your backhand side on quite a few points there. Did you feel it was overplayed too much to your forehand?
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel that I didn't move as well as I do normally. You know, I feel that he was having too much success with every shot, you know. I mean, he was able to find the right spot, the right position that was able to be in negative positions too early in the point.
Today I felt that he played great, but I feel that he doesn't need to hit a great shot to be an advantage on the point.
So playing against him is the worst thing that can happen for me, because in general, talking about the first two shots, he has a better return than my one, he has a better serve than my one in this surface, especially.
And the things that I can be same level than him or better than him is when the point, when the rally is going and when the point is becoming intense, and I was able to hit maybe with a little bit high intensity sometime as I did last year in the US Open or in Canada.
Was not that day, you know. On the rally points I feel I was in tough conditions, in negative conditions, and this is impossible to play against him when you have that feeling.
Q. What kind of mood do you leave here? Do you feel like you played well this week except for today? Is it encouraging or are you a little disappointed?
RAFAEL NADAL: Having a great start of the season for me, always the final of Australian Open change a little bit everything. But for the rest, knowing that after Australia I had my problem in the back for a while, and I played Rio with not my 100% conditions, and I arrived Indian Wells so‑so because I didn't serve for a long time before Indian Wells, so in general I arrived ‑‑I did a good start of the season, no? Winning two tournaments, playing Grand Slam final, Masters 1000 final.
Is great I am in the top of the race arriving to the clay court season. That's positive for me, but at the end now we start the clay court season, and I need to be my 100% to make a little bit the difference there, no, to try to be aggressive, to try to move myself very well on clay, and to try to find the best feeling possible as soon as possible.
Q. Is the back still a problem at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I am fine. Thank you very much.
Q. You have never won the Sony Open where you have a lot of fans. Do you feel you have a mental pressure to win these tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: No.
Q. A mental block to actually win it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't think so, no, no. After a lot of years playing on the tour, you know, I say the other day is true that Miami is a great city, is true that I feel the love of the people. Especially the Latin crowd always was very important for me, and just thanks to them for everything.
But Miami is the same level as Indian Wells, same level as Cincinnati, Toronto, Monte‑Carlo, Rome, Madrid. The quality of the tournament is Masters 1000 that I won 26, so I cannot have a block on that, mental block on that (smiling).
Maybe you tell me another kind of thing maybe, but mental block on something you won 26 times is not the thing that I have to worry about Miami. Need to find another excuses. (Laughter).
Q. When you look at your overall record here, does the achievement of making the final four times overshadow any frustration about losing four finals?
RAFAEL NADAL: I did the final every three years since I start my career, 2005, 2008, 2011, and '14. Is good news that I am having a very long career (smiling).
But is maybe, if I am able to play the finals before, then in three years I will have more chances because seems like every three years not the right spot to win the tournament if I am in the final, no.
No, no frustration. That's tennis. That's the sport. Sometimes, you know, just accept the challenge that means play in the best tournaments of the world, play against the best players of the world. Today Novak played at very high level in my opinion and was better than me.
I tried everything. I tried my best. Was not enough. The opponent was just better than me, and when the opponent is better, he's better. That's the sport.
I need to work hard, to try to be in better shape for clay. By the way, is a positive week for me after everything. As I said the other day, losing early in Indian Wells and be able to play the final here, I had a lot of points for me, a few good matches, confidence again to start the very important part of the season for me.
So I come back to Majorka after this tournament with the feeling that I was here before the tournament and I am here after the tournament (indicating higher level with hands). So that's a positive thing.
Q. You like challenges, you said many times. Are you glad Novak exists?
RAFAEL NADAL: No (laughter). I like challenges, but I am not stupid. (Smiling and shrugging).
Q. Are you eager to get home?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am...
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I have been for a long time away. I have been in Australia for, well, between Abu Dhabi, Doha, and, yeah, Australia for one month and something, and now almost two months away.
Not yet. I am not yet able to come back to Majorca, remain a few more days, and I gonna be back on Thursday. I have to work a few things in Spain before.
Q. What do you most miss from home?
RAFAEL NADAL: Family, especially all the friends, cousins, more cousins that I have. You know, I am not able to see them very, very often, and I have a lot now, and they are very funny at that age that they are between seven, eight, 14 years old, 13 years old. Well, I have few ones, two more at 16. But between that age they are very funny.
And all the time that you miss in that moments with them, you know, they are growing. So I miss them a lot, and for sure, dad, mom, sister.
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