R. NADAL/M. Raonic 63, 76
An interview with: RAFAEL NADAL
Q. You play better and better now. How do you feel about this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, happy about the victory. Obviously is an important victory for me against a top player. Is good to have these victories for the confidence and because that says that I am playing better.
In general I feel I am doing the things well, practicing well, enjoying on the court again. Just happy to be in quarterfinals. Is an important result for me.
Q. You kept telling us how important it was to control yourself emotionally on court. What is it like when you cannot control yourself on court?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I say the other day has been a tough season in terms of controlling my emotions on court. But last couple of months that feels much better. Keep improving.
Today I feel that I am not playing with that nerves when I am on court. I am able to enjoy. Winning yesterday a match 7 6 in the third, and today winning a match again in the tiebreak of a second set, two tiebreaks without losing a point with my serve, if you don’t have the control of your emotions, that’s impossible. That’s something that a couple months ago would be impossible to make that happen.
That’s an important improve. I think the level of tennis is higher. I going to keep working to the beginning of the next season to arrive, to achieve the level I want to achieve.
Q. Is there something you’re especially satisfied about in your game today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Always not losing the serve two times two matches in a row. Yesterday almost losing the serve in the first game of the match, and today don’t losing the serve in the whole match. I don’t even know if I faced a breakpoint or not. Love 30, but I don’t know if breakpoint.
That’s very important. Not because of the serve. Is obvious today my serve worked much better than yesterday. But when I lost the serve a lot of times this year, sometimes you ask me about the serve, and the real thing was not of serve, the real thing was the game from the baseline. I was not able to hit balls in a row without having mistakes.
If I didn’t lose the serve, is because I was able to serve well, but especially play well from the baseline.
Q. What were you talking about with Rod Laver just before entering the court?
RAFAEL NADAL: I just say hello to him. We did an event on Tuesday morning. He had to promote the Australian Open, the tennis here in Asian. We make an event together.
How important is this man, Rod Laver, for our sport. What he did is something that will be very difficult to repeat. I admire a lot him. Just good relationship with him. So just say hello to him before the match.
Q. Normally this is not your favorite part of the season, the last part. What are you looking forward to? What is the main objective for what’s remaining this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: The main objective is simple: try to finish the season as good as I can. All the moments that I can spend on the court is going to be an important practice for next year, no? I take this last part of the season like a preparation for the next one, try to do the things I need to do to start strong next year.
Obviously Shanghai is a very important tournament, then Basel, then Bercy, then hopefully the Masters. Every tournament is so important. I going to fight as I do all the time. But without losing the main goal, and that is have the right practice for the next year.
I am practicing a lot even before every match. The warmups are not warmups anymore, they are like a practice. I enjoy the way we are doing the things. I am practicing well. We are moving to try to go a next step in terms of level.
Q. You mentioned the importance of the performance from the baseline. You faced two big servers in a row. Do you think it helps you or you may lack some preparation of all the long rallies in the further rounds?
RAFAEL NADAL: Further rounds or not, be in quarterfinals is a great result for me in this part of the season. Always has been very tough. Winning these two matches are great victories.
For the best players of the world, I played against two players that you don’t want to play against. So have the chance to win both is very important result for me.
Tomorrow against probably Wawrinka or Cilic, Wawrinka is winning, is another tough battle, tough match. I need to play well to try to have chances.
But, as I said every day, tomorrow is another opportunity for me to keep doing things, and I going to try to do it well.