21 April 2018: Rafael Nadal (English)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Rafael Nadal
Press Conference
R. NADAL/G. Dimitrov

6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You felt the need to go back to practice after that match. Did you need to get better sensations or…
RAFAEL NADAL: After the match? No, it’s something that is nothing new. I did lot of times in my career. After the match, I was little bit more nervous at the beginning. Just I want to hit some forehands winners that I think I need for tomorrow, and that’s it.

Q. Was that the reason why you picked up the phone at the end of the match? You went immediately to your bench.
RAFAEL NADAL: I was texting Carlos to tell him that we need to book a court quick, that’s all.

Q. Back to 4-4, you won seven games in a row. Is there something you changed, something you did to increase your level at that point?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I think I played solid. Have been a very hard first set until the 4-All. Lot of tough games.

Yeah, I make a big mistake with 3-1. I played a very bad game in that game. Then he came back. Then I had the breakpoint, I think two breakpoints, in the 3-2. I again had the breakpoint for 5-3. I missed a forehand down the line.

Yeah, I really had a lot of chances in the first set I think to have little bit better advantage on the score. I didn’t convert it. I played a very bad game in 3-1. Playing against one of the best players in the world, No. 5 I think, match become difficult.

I was little bit lucky he made two double-faults in that 5-4, and one miss with the forehand. That give me the advantage. Then a good point to finish the first set.

In the second, I think he started to miss more. He missed more than usual. I was there solid. That’s all.

Q. I know you said you’re not good with numbers, but it’s going to be your 12th final. You won 10 out of the 11 you played. Are you impressed with that as much as we are?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course. No, is a real thing, no? Being 12 finals already here is something difficult to imagine. Win 10 is difficult to imagine, too.

In our sport, there is not much time to stop and think about the things that happened or not happened. You have to keep going. I won today. Tomorrow I have another match. I won yesterday. Yesterday I played great. Today I had another tough opponent in front.

All of these special things I know I have done, all around, but especially this clay court season. When I retire, probably we will have the chance to think about it, how difficult was all the things that I done.

Q. Since I met you 14 years ago, I remember you always hate to make comparisons. People ask, Is Rafa today a better player than five, six years ago? We have to try to answer. Maybe you are a little slower, but maybe you are more wise. Maybe a better second serve than you had before. Can you help us to say something to give an answer to the readers?
RAFAEL NADAL: You are answering.

I know what I know. Not necessarily more. I know my feelings.

Q. Which are?
RAFAEL NADAL: That I lost things during all this way, and I improve another things. That’s it. The only way to hold the level and to hold the chances to keep winning after 10, 12 years of career is improve things that you need to improve. During all this period of time, you going to lose another things on the way. So that’s it.

I don’t know if I am better or worst. I think I just adapted my game to the new times, just tried to find the ways to keep having success.

Q. 16 games lost in eight sets. What that means? Players you are competing now are weaker than before?
RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot answer that. Things happens. Is always a reason why things happens. Is not always easy to find the real reason.

I played a great event since the day of today. That’s a real thing. I cannot think about what happened to the other part of the court, if they played well, they don’t play well. There is always a balance.

When somebody’s playing well, looks like the opponent is playing worst. When somebody is playing very well, looks like the matches are easier or the opponents are worst.

I don’t believe that, no? If I not playing well, I see all opponents very good. If I am playing well, still I see the opponents difficult and good, but I feel I have better chances.

There is always a balance about how you are playing.

Q. You don’t know your opponent yet. Can you have a word about Zverev and about Nishikori.
RAFAEL NADAL: Is a tough final, as a Masters 1000 should be, against great opponents.

With Sascha, we played last week. But is a completely different match. With Kei, we had a lot of good matches in our career, no? Going to be two tough matches.

I know I have to play at my best to keep having real chances of success. Is an important match for me tomorrow. But still be in the final already after period outside of the courts is a great news for me.

Let’s try to be ready for tomorrow. Let’s try to play a great match and give me another chance.

Q. You’ve been considered the favorite, especially on clay court tennis tournaments, since about 2003, 2004.
RAFAEL NADAL: 2003, no. ‘4, too, no. After half year of 2005, maybe.

Q. Is there any way your approach to this status changed all over these years? You had more pressure when you were younger?
RAFAEL NADAL: I going to be 100% honest with you. I really don’t care if I am favorite or I am not favorite. I go on court, I try my best. I want to win. Doesn’t matter if I am the favorite or I am not the favorite.

That’s the things that you matter, because you have to write who is the favorite. For me, I don’t really care who is the favorite. I know I have to keep playing well if I want to keep having chances of success. That’s my goal: just to play well, win my match, be better player every day, every week, every month, every year.

The rest of the things, when I go to a tournament, believe me, I don’t think if I am the favorite, I am not the favorite. I just think about try to prepare myself well and try to play the first match as good as possible. If I win the second, then the third… Every day is a different story, no?

You’re always talking about favorites. Always the favorite is the same: is the person who have the trophy on his hands on the Sunday. Before, you can write, but doesn’t matter who is the favorite or not. The only thing that matters is the player that will play better that week, is the player that is going to have the success.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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