presser RG2014

RG: Final Press Conference Transcript w/audio


Photo: AFP

Audio Press Conference via +TENNISTOPIC


June 8, 2014

Rafael Nadal

R. NADAL/N. Djokovic
3‑6, 7‑5, 6‑2, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English. 

Q.  Congratulations, of course.  Are we going to change the name of Roland Garros to Nadal‑Garros?  How many times you have to win it for that?  Did you change strategy?  Because today you played 43 winners; one more than Djokovic.  Play many, many forehand on his forehand down the line, which normally doesn't happen.  You always play much more on the backhand.  Was that strategic?  Something that you started?  I guess it worked. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, thank you very much.  The name is very nice, Roland Garros, so...  (Laughter.)  Don't need to change nothing.
Well, I tried to do my best all the time, no?  I know to play against him I need to play to my limit, I need to play aggressive.  But is always the same thing, no?  To play aggressive and to play that shots, you need to be with confidence, you need to feel the ball. 
Sometimes you don't have that great feeling.  It's more difficult to produce these kind of shots, no?  Is true that at the beginning the match start very equal, but I felt that the match was more in his hands at the beginning than in my hands.
I was winning more points from his mistakes than from my winners, and I need to change that.  I think in the second set that the dynamic of the match changed.  I was able to play more aggressive.  I did better things. 
And even if I was 4‑All, the real thing was that the match really changed before.  So that was a positive thing.  For sure the day of today was very tough, very humid.  The combination of two weeks of cold with the drastic change of yesterday and today, so today was the first real day that we play with that conditions. 
This big change I think affects us, affects our physical performance.  After the one set and a half we were a little bit tired today, no?  It was very important for me to win that second set.  Without that second set, I don't know if I have this trophy with me now.

Q.  You got the trophy from Bjørn Borg, the other legendary winner in Roland Garros.  In this room we were a few in the '70s to ask him similar questions 40 years ago.  Now that you got the trophy from him, do you think, in 2050 you might come back here?  How would you feel coming back to Roland Garros the way Bjørn Borg did 40 years from now giving it to some other champion?  How would you see in retrospect?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I would love to do it, hopefully. 
Have past champions or very important champions of our history in our sport involved in tennis, coming to the big events, supporting, keep supporting our sport, makes our sport bigger. 
Borg make amazing things.  Borg makes big change on our tennis.  Borg probably was the first big, big star.  Borg make this sport bigger.  Everybody should thank him for what he did.
I am a big fan of sport in general.  For sure tennis is a thing that I did during almost all my life.  So if I am healthy, nothing happens, I would love to be back in the future here for sure.

Q.  This was a very special victory for you, your fifth in a row.  You're the first person to achieve five in a row at Roland Garros.  Your ninth victory.  You equal Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slam victories.  How important would you rate this victory as compared to your first, and also the last year when you come back from injury?  How important would you rate this victory?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I think I always said the same, that I don't like the comparations.  But always for me is the same.  For me, the most important thing is win Roland Garros.  That's the most important thing. 
Then the other things, sure, are important, but the other things I always repeat the same.  We will see when we finish my career how many Grand Slams I have or if I win four, three, or five in a row. 
You know, today, that is not the most important thing, no?  The most important thing today is I won the most important tournament of the world in clay, probably the most important tournament of the year for me. 
I did a lot of times.  I think was an emotional victory after what happened in Australia.  I think I arrived with a lot of motivation to Australia this year.  I prepared myself well to be there healthy and to be there with the right level.
All the tournament I played great, and in the final is true that I played against a player‑ I always repeat the same ‑ that was playing amazing, like Stan.  I don't know if I would be able to beat him in that match.  I don't know. 
But I didn't compete that match, so that was a little bit hard to accept for me.  I had few months later that mentally I go down a little bit.  I was keeping fighting, but I didn't feel myself enough strong. 
Since one month I felt that I was able to playing better or worse, but my mentality was there again, no?  And my motivation, my positive feelings on court was there again.  Talking about mentally, no? 
Then is a process that you need to work, need to win matches to play better and better.  That's something that happened.  I was winning more and more the last couple of weeks, and I arrived here playing well. 
That's why I won against the toughest opponent possible today.

Q.  You talked about the emotion.  There was a lot of emotion before the National Anthem.  It is, of the nine victories, one of the most emotional for you today?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Last year was emotional for a few things.  This year are emotional for another ones.  But for sure when you are able to win Roland Garros, always will be emotional, no? 
And then more when your age is older, no?  Last year was with 27; this year is with 28.  That's not forever.  You know how hard is all the things that I am doing here.  You want to enjoy the moment.  You feel your emotions when you are there and you did it, because you know how much you worked to be there. 
But at the same time, because I repeat, that's not forever.  You have few more opportunities, yes, but you don't know if you're gonna win it again.
So the emotions were so high.  A lot of people from my family here.  A lot of supporters in Philippe Chatrier for me always is an emotional thing.
Play here and listen to the national, in that moment creates me emotional, too.  All the combination makes the moment really special, and especially in this court that probably is the court that I really had more feelings.

Q.  People talk about your big strokes, but you're also so strong on court mentally.  You have such an ability to overcome problems.  We saw that today.  Talk about your ability to solve problems on court, your mental strength.  Do you think that's one of your strongest qualities?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don't know.  I think everybody who is able to do what we are doing, you know, is because we are able to find solutions. 
But most important thing is not the solutions.  It's not the most important thing.  You find solution because you really want to do it, because you really want to fight, you really want to find it, you play with the right motivation all the time.
And that's why Novak, me, Roger, last eight years we were there so many times.  It's obvious that we are not playing at our best every day, but when we are not playing at our best, we were able to keep believing in the victory, keep fighting for the victory, and keep trying different ways to win the match, no? 
So that's my feeling.  That's why we were able to do what we did that often and with that regularity, no?  So it's true that during all my career I fighted a lot for every match, and that's the principal thing in my opinion, no? 
Because then the solutions arrives, but because you really want to find the solution, no?  Is true that during the matches I always try to improve the things, analyze the opponent, what's better, what's worse. 
But the most important thing is what I told you.

Q.  Wondering what the feeling is like for you to have this great match that ends with a double fault.  It's happened to you before against Novak here two years ago, and also against Verdasco in Australia.  Wondering what that feels like when a big match ends on a double fault. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  It's difficult.  At that moment you cannot feel that was a double fault.  Only feeling is you won Roland Garros, no?  That's the real thing. 
Sorry for him.  Was a little bit unfair what happened in the last point between his first and second serve.  Happens sometimes in the big stadiums.  Is nothing wrong with the crowd, but that can happen. 
Probably that distracts him a little bit more than usual.  That combined with the moment, with the pressure that is match point, makes him double fault.  Sorry for him. 
But for me personally, finish one way or another way, that doesn't make a difference.

Q.  Tell us about your feelings for the grass court season?  What are your thoughts for Wimbledon?  Are you going to Halle?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yes, I am going to Halle tomorrow.  I want to try to play well again in Wimbledon.  I'm healthy.  That's the most important thing, I feel.  I hope my knee will have the positive feeling on grass, because I feel my knee better than last year in the rest of the surfaces. 
Grass always was a little bit harder for me after the injury.  I get injury here in 2012; I played 2012 Wimbledon with that injury.  I never played a match after that Wimbledon. 
Last year I tried, but I was not enough ready to compete in Wimbledon.  Let's see how is my feelings there this year, but it's very important tournament. 
For me, is a tournament I really love so much, so after the match of today and after how tired I am, after a little bit the back problem that I had during the whole tournament, is in a strong position to go to Halle. 
But I really feel that I have compromised with them to go there.  I missed it last year.  I don't want to miss it two years in a row.  At the same time, is the right way to prepare Wimbledon.  So I really want to do it and try my best there.  We will see what's going on. 
I know probably the result will not be the perfect one there, because days of preparation are not the right ones.  After how tough physically was the match of today, probably will be more a little bit tired.
But I gonna try to practice a little bit tomorrow and get ready for the first match.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in Spanish. 

Q.  What was the key for you to win today?  Because Novak started with a high level of tennis. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, throughout the match there were I think several key moments.  Now that it's over, there were more specific key moments, turnaround moments.
But, you know, we can talk about strategy, we can talk about tactics, and when you look at the score, the fact of winning the second set for me was something very important.
I'm referring to my physical condition.  After that, I managed to hold on.  I was 4‑2 during the third set.  It was a very long game, and then during the fourth set we could have said that the key moment was when it was 4‑2 going to 5‑2. 
But I was so tired, and I didn't play well at that very moment.  And also, there's another moment, which is when we were going from 4‑4 to 4‑5 ‑‑ or 5‑4, sorry.  It was a very important moment.  I had to seize this opportunity and then put in a little more effort.
But then he played so well.  I was up 5‑4.  There was a lot of pressure for the player who was to serve.  My objective was to have 30‑All.  30‑Love was too difficult.  He made a mistake.  That was a passing shot.  30‑15, good, and then 30‑All, anything could happen.
And then, you know, it's a question of decisions, the decisions I made.  During the first set he was up, and then we ‑‑well, I had to make decisions.  I had thought, I have to be much more aggressive when I serve, for instance. 
There was a moment when he dropped a little.  He was a bit tired.  That's when I decided to fight back.  I felt that to win this game I had to perhaps consider longer rallies, but physically I was exhausted. 
With my forehand, I tried to ‑‑well, I tried to play more forehand shots, even though I improved my backhand shots during the match.  But I changed the angles with my backhand.  Even though I was extremely tired when I was hitting the points, I could hit the balls where I wanted to hit them.

Q.  You said that one of your objectives was perhaps Rio as well, and to reach the same level as Roger Federer. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, you know, the fact that I wanted to go to Rio is a source of motivation, you know, when I couldn't go to London.  So for me it was a motivation. 
Now talking about Federer, well, he's had 17 and I have had 14 Grand Slams, that's true.  But I'm not really worried.  It's not a source of motivation for me.  I'll follow my own path.  Then when my career is over, we'll count.  We'll count. 
But I don't really care that much about the records.  I'll still play with a lot of intensity.  I'll still be motivated.  Then we'll see.  Time will tell if I can have another record or not.  For the time being, I'm so happy to have reached 14 Grand Slams.
So I'm so very happy.  But I didn't really look at things this way when I arrived here at Roland Garros.  I'm so happy. 
And then about Rio, you know, we can talk about this afterwards.  You know, I have just finished Roland Garros.  We'll talk about the rest in a month, right? 
I love talking about football, that's true, but we'll talk about Rio and football later on, if you don't mind.

Q.  I think everybody cried today.  Djokovic cried; you cried, as well.  When you heard the National Anthem, when you received the trophy, I think you were crying.  Could you tell us more about your emotions, please.  What about the Rio Cup?  Who are your favorite players?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I didn't mention favorites. 
Back to my emotions.  Yes, these are moments full of emotions, crowned with emotions, if I can say, for him and me.  He's never won here.  He deserves a win.  He's so consistent as a player.  He deserves to win.
The crowd, the public was supporting him, which is normal.  He was overwhelmed with emotions; so was I. 
After Australia, you know, we went through difficult moments, but then everybody had or has had their good moments.  We have managed to overcome our doubts, to find solutions to these tricky moments, that's true. 
There were many emotions today.  Australia, for me, it was a bit difficult to take this loss.  Of course I can always accept a loss, but a loss is something that travels with you during this long journey, you see, during our long careers.
There are weeks sometimes, you know, when one has the feeling that one is losing more matches than winning matches; therefore, a loss is some type of company which lingers, if I can say. 
But then I knew I was well prepared.  I was ready.  I played well.  Even though I was missing some energy, I didn't have enough energy for a few months, but I was so motivated.  I had a lot of energy within me, and this helped considerably.
Since Madrid I have been feeling a lot better, you see, with all this intensity, this energy, this strength I have in me.  I was extremely motivated.
Then today I knew that I had lost four times against Novak, so this win was very important to me.  I had enough courage.  I made the right decisions at the right moment.  Then, you know, when you're on the podium and then there is the National Anthem and the public is there to support you, to cheer your name on this huge court, Chatrier Court with so many people, of course you're overwhelmed with emotions.  That's it.

Q.  The French crowd I think was clapping both for Djokovic and you, as well. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I think that the French public is a very demanding public.  Tennis is a very important sport in France.  The tennis events in France are lived in a very special way.  People recognize me in the streets.  People know about tennis. 
People like the fact that I love Roland Garros, I have a passion for tennis, and I put in so much effort day in, day out for this sport, for my sport, for all these tournaments.
I'm fully dedicated, and the people know that.  They feel I'm committed.  Djokovic and I are making a lot of effort.  People love that.  They show that they love us.  They show it.  They show their love, tennis.

Q.  You have just said that physically you felt that at the time you were going through difficult moments.  I suppose that you probably had to find energy deep within you.  It's a very physical match that you've played today, the most difficult match physically speaking. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, yes.  Physically I felt I was totally empty, drained, exhausted.  I don't know.  Five sets, I don't know if I could have played a five‑set match.  I was not feeling well at all physically speaking.
Well, motivation and also the hope that I could perhaps win this match, win the tournament, the appetite I had, well, these are the reasons why I managed to stick to it to the very end. 
Mentally I was so strong.  I really wanted to defeat him.  I don't really know how to describe these things, but I managed to stick to it.  I suffered quite a lot, but I found solutions.  When there were problems cropping, I managed to find the solutions when the moments were very difficult with a number of shots which were quite tricky from the tennis point of view.
I succeeded.  I managed to win the match and the tournament.

Q.  You have won this tournament.  Now do you feel calmer or at peace for the rest of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, whatever happens for the rest of the season, I must say I have done so much already since the beginning of the year.  Since I started my career, it's been ten years, and for ten years I have played many tournaments at a high level.  Of course I'm quite serene and calm, at peace. 
Well, you know some holidays will probably be better, that's for sure.  The fact that I won my ninth Roland Garros in a row is a very good thing.  Mentally it really shows that I can play in a very consistent way for many months.  You know, it's not just a one‑week preparation.  You have to work hard and practice for days and weeks and months.
To me, winning is the result, the equivalent of lots of effort; therefore, I feel more serene and personally I'm very satisfied.

Q.  Your uncle Toni said that he doesn't really like dedicating a title to someone, but who would you say this title is for?  I would say it's for you. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I don't like these types of things, but I'd say I've won this one, this trophy, thanks to the whole team.  My family, my kin, and all the fans, as well, those who are for me, support me, those who gave me their support and their affection. 
This is when I can feel more energy really, when I need this extra bit of energy.  It's thanks to them.  When it's tough during the match there are so many people around you who will help you.  It's all the emotional support which I receive which makes me want to practice every day and make more effort every day.  That's why I'm here today with you.
Well, it's easy to say, but it's harder to do.  You need to work hard throughout your tennis career.  Well, the effort that you have to put in is huge.

Q.  What does Roland Garros mean to you and the fact that you've won Roland Garros nine times?  Nobody's done that before for any Grand Slam. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, to me, this really shows that I'm fully engaged, committed.  It's always been the case since I have started my career.  I have won it nine times.  That's because I really wanted this.  You know, when we say where there is a will, and this is what I did.  You do your best to attain your objective.  This is what it means.
Where there is a will, there is a way.  You do your best to meet your objective. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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