shanghai transcripts

Shanghai PreTournament PC Transcript


Pre Tournament Conference Transcript
11 October 2011

An interview with: RAFAEL NADAL

Q. Why are you playing doubles? And why were you late?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, first answer, I play doubles because I like to play doubles and is much better play doubles than practice. If I can, that's good.
The negative thing in doubles, when you play singles, and after you have to wait until very late for the doubles. If not, I like to play doubles, no?
We arrived a little bit late because we had to take another way to go to the court for the people. And second thing because I am late almost always (smiling). That's the true.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how you're feeling this late into the season. Looking forward to it ending?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am fine. I think I am playing well. I had a very good US Open. I had good matches in Davis Cup. I had a good tournament last week in Tokyo.
I happy I have enough motivation to keep playing. Today I don't have physical problems, so I'm happy. I am trying to keep try my best in every practice, in every match to find a few things I really need to keep doing better and better for next year.
I take the rest of the season, for sure is important tournaments still there, but like preparation for next season. Because practice, I don't have the chance to practice a lot.

Q. There was a lot of talk in New York about the players meeting here to discuss issues like the schedule. Do you expect to have those meetings?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think it's not the right time to talk about that. If there is any information that you have to know, you will know. There is something there, but is not the right moment to talk about it, especially when nothing clear is done. Don't to talk better than talk.

Q. You're one of the most popular players in Shanghai but you haven't got any titles here. Do you want to be the champion this time?
RAFAEL NADAL: That's what I think every time. When I go to tournament, my goal is try to play my best tennis and try to win.
I tried here few years when the Masters Cup was here. Last year I tried. I lost second round. 2009 I played the finals. So I had a good results and a few not that good. But win a Masters 1000 or a Masters Cup is very difficult.
We'll see this year. I will try my best. Tomorrow I start, so I will try my best to play well tomorrow. Think about the title before the start of the tournament is not my style.

Q. Talking about the match this afternoon, it seems you went all out and you tried to save every ball, but you lost. How do you feel now?
RAFAEL NADAL: About the loss?

Q. You tried your best to save every ball, but eventually you lost the game. Do you have any comments on the game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in doubles is difficult to have a lot of comments because especially the court, I saw the balls and the court very fast today, everything. Everything happen very fast.
I think we had a terrible second set. In the super tiebreak we had to win. We had chances. That's the doubles. The matches are close. You can win; you can lose. For me, I tried. Wasn't our day. Let's try in singles now.

Q. You said now is not the right time for the players to meet. Would the right time then be the big players meeting that takes place before the Australian Open or is it because Roger, as chairman of the Players Council, isn't here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am the vice president and I am here. Is not that, the problem, in my opinion. Maybe my English is better but not enough good.
I said maybe some things are happening, but if I am not hundred percent sure about what's going on, I don't want to say nothing, especially because if I say something right now and after doesn't happen nothing, you know. Always is better talk about the things when you know exactly what's going to happen and when you know exactly what we are going to do.
So we'll see. We'll see. I am in touch always with the rest of the players. You know, I talked a lot with a lot of players last month. We'll see what we can do something.
The important thing is that, yes, I can say because I'm sure we are, most of us, almost everyone, in the same way. So like this we have power. Now we'll have to keep finding what we really want for the future and make that happen if possible.

Q. You've had some very difficult times physically during your career. Would you say this is one of the most demanding periods for you emotionally, just to try to get into a winning habit in big matches?
RAFAEL NADAL: Hard to win big matches? Big matches are not only finals, in my opinion. Semifinals are big matches. I lost a lot of finals these years this year, not these years. I am lucky. But this year, yes, I lost 7 to 10.
Is not a habit. My opponents played better than me. I not happy about a few matches. But I have won a lot of important matches. So I have won three very important semifinals against Andy in three Grand Slams this year. I have won him in Monte Carlo. I have won Roger in semifinals of Miami, in the final of Roland Garros. I don't gonna say now all the victories.
But is true, there is a few loses. I think that's not true. Is not one of the most demanding moments of the mental part for myself because I am happy about how I am doing. I understand everything is a transition, everything is a part of your career. You cannot expect to play perfect every time.
I did very well this year, not perfect. That's why I lost a few important matches. I understand that maybe that can be positive for the future or negative. You never know.
The only thing that is going through my mind now, I have enough illusion to keep practicing hard, enough motivation to keep trying my best and to keep finding solutions to be better player for next year.
Probably if I have won these matches today the situation is different and I will be very happy about everything and I will be with less mental attention than what I had today.
So you never know. Hopefully it's positive. That's what I have to think. I will see. We'll see what's going on. Let's try to end the season well.
That's true, I tried my best, being here in Tokyo and now here in Shanghai. The other player who played more matches this year is not in these two tournaments, so maybe he gonna be little bit more fresh for the last few tournaments of the year. But is a risk that I have to take because I believe I am good, am enough fit to be here.
I will try my best. We'll see.

Q. You've always been very complimentary about Andy. Was that the best that he's played against you, particularly that third set, in Tokyo?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think so, yes. Yes, was his best match I think, in my opinion, against me. He played fantastic. No mistakes. Winners from every place.
I not happy about my third set for sure. No discussion about that because I cannot lose, even if he is playing fantastic, even if he is playing perfect, I cannot lose my serve three times in a row.
The easy thing is say he played fantastic, he played better than ever, he played perfect tennis. I really cannot win that third set. That's the easiest thing. And that's the true.
Probably if I played fantastic the third set, I going to lose that set anyway because, you know, that level two days ago I wasn't ready to play at that level.
But the things that I have to improve is I have to serve enough well to survive in the match when he's playing that well, and I didn't. So that's the wrong part, the bad part for me. I think that's important thing for the future. I have to serve little bit better because a lot of players are playing really well today. For moments you cannot do much when they are playing very well, so you have to be there surviving with your serve. That's something I have to do for next year, for sure.

Q. Does your new coach team bring something different to you? What approach do you have to beat Djokovic?
RAFAEL NADAL: My uncle stay at home as usual in this part of the season, so he didn't came. My uncle normally is coming to clay season, to Australia, to Miami sometimes. He's coming to all the tournaments in Europe.
But here, you know, he has three small kids and he cannot travel every week. Anyway, is not new coach. Francis Roig stays with me. Is the seventh year. Till 2005 he is with me when my uncle is not traveling. Is nothing new.
I am not finding approaches to beat Djokovic. I am finding approaches to beat tomorrow against Guillermo Garcia.
I believe 100% in my team. I always think when I am losing, is my fault, not the fault of my team. That's what all my life I thought that. So that's not going to change today, no? I don't going to be stupid and thinking if I have to improve something is because another people gonna come. I have to improve with my people who know exactly my game and know exactly what I have to do to keep improving. I don't need any change, especially because I feel comfortable and I feel happy with my team.
The only chance to change something will be because some one of my team wants to go. I don't gonna fire no one, no.

Q. You mentioned earlier you wanted to do some things better for next year. You mentioned your serve just now. Is there anything else you'd like to share about what you need to do better and better?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everything. Today the tennis is very competitive game, very complete game. A lot of players plays very well from all the places, backhand, forehand, serve. So if you are not improving every year more and more, your chances are less.
So I want to keep having the same chances as the past and that's what I gonna try. Don't forget is my seventh year on the tour being top two, between No. 1 and No. 2 of the world. That's happened because, first thing, I was in perfect conditions mentally all these years, but second thing because I always try to improve and play better and better.
That's what I did. That's why today I am better player than in 2005, and the results says that. I played much better in all the surfaces than when I played in 2006 or 2005.
That's the goal and that's what I have to keep doing if I want to keep being here for long time. If not, I can stop, I can be happy with myself.

Q. Andy Murray says that he thinks that the standard at the top of the men's game has gone up a lot this year; all the players are playing much better than this the past. Do you agree with that? Has the standard gone up?
RAFAEL NADAL: I not agree. I am not agree. I think Djokovic, yes. I played worse than last year. I was very regular, probably even more regular than last year. But I played a little bit worse, I think. I think Roger played well, but he lost a few matches than in the past he never gonna lose.

Q. So Rafa 2010 would beat Rafa 2011?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe. I don't know. I don't know. But I believe Rafa 2010 had something more special than Rafa 2011, especially in tough situations. That's the true.
Win or lose depends on very, very, very small things. And probably these very, very small things I did a little bit better in 2010 than 2011, so...
When I talk about improve or when I talk about being better player, doesn't mean making big changes, no. That doesn't exist. Just always are very, very small things.
Djokovic this year already won a lot of tournaments, three Grand Slams, he didn't lost matches. Don't believe that he changed his game unbelievable. He did a few small things better than a few years ago and that's why his big success this year.
That's what I gonna try. But I am not agree with what Andy said. I think the level, no, wasn't better than 2010 or 2009. I think was similar. For my part and Roger's part a little bit worse for the moment.

Q. When was your last time you played in such a small court? Talk about the smaller court and the crowd being closer.
RAFAEL NADAL: I played a lot of matches in smaller courts, especially when I play doubles around the world. I think is good. I think the atmosphere is different. The only thing that I don't like is that the things happen faster, that the ball seems like, when you play in a smaller courts, is faster, is more difficult to return the serve.
The atmosphere in general inside the court is fantastic, have the crowd very close to the court. Is good for the crowd. I think is good for us. I think is a positive thing that we can do, we can play in different courts around the world.

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