AO2012 presser

AO: Pre Tournament Interview Transcript


Rafael Nadal
Sunday, 15 January, 2012

Q. Just let us know how you're feeling, how your preparation has been for the Australian Open.
RAFAEL NADAL: I believe good. I didn't have the perfect preparation in Mallorca during December because I had the problem with my shoulder. I had injury for two weeks. But after that I started very slow in Abu Dhabi, and in Doha I felt much better than what I thought. It was a very positive tournament for me.  I'm very happy about the week here.

Q. Did you have time to relax? Do you find the pleasure to be on court again?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have the pleasure to be on court? Relax when you're on court?

Q. In London during the Masters, you were a bit exhausted, tired of the whole season.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I said. But I was going to take more care about what I going to say now in the press conference because after what I say in London, in every press conference the people ask about what I say there. What I say there is I played a few matches at the end of the season with less passion than usual. That's nothing crazy. That happens when you are a little bit more tired than usual. Maybe you're not doing your job all the time with the same passion because you're tired. That's part of the job. I'm here in Australia 2012 with big motivation, with big passion, and trying to enjoy the previous weeks. I did. I'm happy. I am practicing well. I'm enjoying everything. I will try to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. Any comment on these reports of a possible players strike around the share of prize money given to players and Davis Cup commitments as well?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have any thoughts about that. I am here to support what most of the players think. But I not going to be the one who going to talk about these things, especially because I am always the one and I am tired.

Q. Obviously it was Novak's year last year. Are you confident you can turn the tables this year with him, possibly starting here?
RAFAEL NADAL: There is a lot of fantastic players around, no? Novak is the best because last year he did fantastic year. He's the No. 1 today. He deserve to be there. I will be here fighting in every moment to try to compete against everybody with positive chances of victory, no?  That's just the beginning of the season. I will try to improve a few things that probably I will need. Just happy to, you know, be here in 2012 to start another season with good conditions. That's what I can say, no? I am healthy. That's the first thing, the first important thing. Without that, you cannot think about next things. I am healthy and I am ready to work hard.

Q. Did you have to say at the meeting last night, Sorry, guys, I'm not going to be the one leading this? At the US Open you were identified as someone who took the initiative.
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing of strikes. I never take any initiative. I never say anything about strike. I never did.

Q. Last night did you have to say to the guys, I'm not going to be the public face?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I gived to the rest of the tennis player, like another guys did, my opinion, and that's it.

Q. Were you happy with what was discussed and what was decided at the meeting?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know what's decided.

Q. Were you happy with the way the discussion went and what people were saying?
RAFAEL NADAL: I say before, something that happens in the meetings. Everybody have, you know, different thoughts. This time believe a lot of players have similar thoughts.
But I say before, everything that I will say, you know, will write in your words, and I don't want you to write nothing in your words. I'm the one who in the past talk a lot about the calendar, talk a lot about the Davis Cup, talk a lot about the problem with the US Open. Now I not going to be the one who keep talking about a lot of things because finally if we have the right guys there to fight for us, maybe, but today we don't have that.

Q. If it's not going to be you talking, is there a player taking a leadership role in this movement?
RAFAEL NADAL: First thing, you are talking about movement. I don't know which 'movement'. I don't know what's going to happen. That's a sport that's an individual sport. So when you are talking about individual sport, what must happen if there is 100, if a super majority thinks one thing, the rest of the players have to support that. So if a super majority thinks one thing, I will support them that's all in anything. Not in a strike, not in calendar, in anything, because I understand democracy is like this.

Q. When you say you do not want to be seen as the leader...
RAFAEL NADAL: I am not. I don't want to be seen and I am not (laughter).

Q. But are you saying that because after what happened in New York, you were criticized by people for that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. You know, when you are talking about Davis Cup, when you are talking about Grand Slams, when you are talking about calendar, when you are talking about a lot of things that can be better for the tour, a lot thinks, most of the players thinks that's the right way. That is not happening. That's talk for talk. I want to talk when we have real chances to make that happen. When we don't have chances to make that happen, because with how the world of tennis is working today, we don't have any chance on changes because we don't have the support of the structure.
I repeat, is talk for you. I give information for you to write newspapers. But at the end of the day I look like I am the one who always talk about things that must change, and I don't win nothing on that. I just lose time, energy, and the people can think that he's always the one who says the bad things, the negative things. If I win something on that, I will keep talking. If I don't win something on that, when a lot of things happen, I will not tell you for sure in the past. We are not in that way to change situations even with the support of the super majority of the players. Even like that we didn't win nothing. Sorry, I am tired of keep working on these things.

Q. Are you happy with the changes you made in your racquet?
RAFAEL NADAL: I will tell you in a few months. In theory, yes, I am. I am happy, no? I did that because we believe that can be a really positive thing to help me in a few aspects of my game. It's working well in practice. In Doha I had really positive feelings.

Q. The changes that you've made, does it make things very different or is it just a tiny bit of difference for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: In the racquet?
Q. Yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: No. You cannot make crazy changes having two weeks of preparation to start another season. These are small changes. You cannot have drastic changes in nothing in your life. All the changes must be slow.

Q. I mean, the way that it feels to you.
RAFAEL NADAL: If I don't feel something, if I don't feel nothing, obviously I will not change nothing. But is always a change and you feel a little bit. At the beginning was a little bit harder. After two weeks and a half practicing every day with toplevel guys, players, every day for a long time, the feeling is quite normal.

Q. In which way is it different? Is it more heavy? What is different?
RAFAEL NADAL: That gives you a little bit more power. That's all. Nothing. It's three more grams. But three more grams probably on the size of the racquet doesn't feel for changes. But three more grams just on the top of the racquet makes a change. For a few balls, for the higher balls, you can hit the ball, you know, with a little bit more flat because the racquet goes faster into the ball. The racquet goes quicker. The normal thing when you have a change like this, you lose a little bit of control in the beginning, you win a little bit more power at the beginning. At the end, after a few months, you feel like is your racquet. Nothing change.

Q. Every player is looking for a small percentage of improvement in their game, in their attitude. How fascinated are you by Andy Murray's decision to bring Ivan Lendl back into the game?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I don't know Ivan Lendl like a coach so cannot talk about Ivan Lendl like a coach. Like a player, everybody knows was one of the top of the history players. Like a coach, I never was in a tennis court like with him practicing. You know, sounds very good. We will see how gonna works. But I wish him all the best, for sure. I like Andy. I think he's great. You know, if he decide to do these changes because he believes that can help him, hopefully will.

Q. Is it still part of your plan to take time off after this event?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. My plan is this one. After, if I lose tomorrow, you never know. That's the tennis. That's not football that you have your matches, your calendar. Here your calendar is every day. It's not depends of how many events you play, it depends how many matches you play.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Photos: GettyImages

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