22 April 2018: Rafael Nadal (English)
Sunday, 22 April 2018
R. NADAL/K. Nishikori
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. 11 titles here, 31 Masters, 76 career titles. Still the same enjoyment, same passion for the game? How do you keep this going?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I always repeat the same. My true feeling is these kind of things not going to happen forever, so just try to enjoy and to play with the full passion and with the full energy and concentration, full love for the sport until I can. That’s it.
I know the day to say good-bye is closer than 10 years ago. Is something that I am not worried about, but is a real thing. So just enjoying every day and trying to play with the best attitude possible, to keep being happy playing tennis, no? That’s all.
Yeah, of course is a special day for me. Winning again this title here in Monte-Carlo means a lot, especially because is the first tournament in the year that I finished. Have the victory in a Masters 1000, especially in Monte-Carlo, that for me is, yeah, one of the most important ones in terms of personal feeling and in terms of history of our sport.
Very excited and very happy for everything.
Q. Yesterday you said you were maybe a bit more nervous before the start of the match. Was it the same today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Little bit different than yesterday. Is true that I was break against at the beginning, but was few tactical mistakes in the third game. But my feeling on court was different, no? It was different. Immediately I had the break back. I changed little bit the way that I was playing.
In my opinion, the beginning of the match, first three games, I was playing well, but I was sometimes repeating too many times against his forehand or too many times against his backhand. I was not changing directions.
Then I opened the court much more after the 2-1, changing the directions of the ball more often. The match changed a lot, no? Opened full opportunities for me. In terms of visual chances to go for the point, to have a clear view about how I have to play the point, was completely different after that first three games.
Then probably Kei became little bit more tired. That encourage me little bit more to keep doing that, to keep moving him around. Open the angles with the backhand was so important shot today, to change the direction later.
I played a solid match. Of course, the best match of the week was against Dominic in quarterfinals. But today I improved from yesterday, in my opinion. I played little better than yesterday. Was a great final, a great week. Of course, I can’t say much wrong. Winning an important title, playing against difficult opponents without losing a set, it’s a great week.
Q. Yesterday after your victory you went back to do some training again to correct something. Did you change something with respect to your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: With the practice of yesterday? No, nothing change. Of course not. I was not looking for a big change. I was just looking to relax me little bit, to hit some balls hard, and to move the arm without nerves. That’s all.
I was not looking for an improvement. I practiced 15 minutes, 10 minutes after the match. I didn’t practice for 45 minutes. I just went on court to hit some balls with no nerves, without worry if the ball goes two meters out or two meters in. Just to hit strong and to move the arm the right way. That was the only idea of the practice yesterday. That’s all. No, it was not improving something. It was just about to stay out of the nerves.
The memory is important. For day after day to have the right memory after day like yesterday, that was the only goal.
Q. Before the ceremony they showed some pictures of your 10 past victories. What goes through your mind at that time? What kind of emotion does that bring to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I’m old (smiling). A lot of times.
But, of course, very special. Yeah, is not nice that I say that. But 11 titles here, it’s unbelievable, so… It’s something difficult to imagine.
I always say the same: If I did, somebody else can do it. But is very difficult. I really don’t know how these things can happen because is lot of years without making mistakes and without being unlucky on this week. I have been unlucky other weeks, but not this week.
Yes, very special. The history with this tournament is unique. Yeah, put another trophy in my museum, in my academy, is going to be something great. 11 is a lot, especially here in Monte-Carlo.
Q. Do you think only the best Djokovic, if he comes back, and the best Wawrinka, if he comes back, since Federer doesn’t play any more on clay, do you think they are the only two that really have a great chance to maybe beat you when you are at the top of your form, or do you see some others?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t think that much. I just think about my opponent every day on the other part of the net. That’s true. Of course, I know there is rivals that are more dangerous than others.
Q. Like the ones I mentioned?
RAFAEL NADAL: The ones you mentioned, one won 12 Grand Slams, the other one won three. Of course, these two players can beat me. Of course, there is other ones that can beat me, too. But you mentioned two great players.
Of course, Nishikori is another great player. Dimitrov yesterday, No. 5 of the world. I don’t know, Zverev No. 4. Of course, when you play against the best players of the world, you can lose. At the end of the day you can lose every day.
But, of course, there is the best players that have better chances.
Q. I don’t know what physical doubts you had before here, but how important was it for you to come through this week without any problem?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it’s important, of course. It’s important for my confidence. Is true that the longer one was 1 hour 30. That’s a great news. But remain a lot of clay court season, hopefully – hopefully – a lot of matches. I hope to have the chance to be healthy for the whole clay court season. That’s it, yeah, it’s an important beginning.
Next week is another week that I have a tough draw in Barcelona. Today is a day to enjoy this because winning a tournament like this one not happening every day. But tomorrow I need to start being focused on the next week. Is not the moment to stop and to disconnect your mind. Is the moment to stay focused and to keep holding that momentum that is good one after winning seven matches in a row on clay now, this year. That’s a positive thing. The way that I won the matches are very positive. So is the moment to keep going, and that’s my goal.
Q. Did you set any goals for yourself for this year, and maybe these goals changed now that you won here?
RAFAEL NADAL: My goal is always the same thing: be healthy, because if I am not healthy, I cannot have any goal; second goal is be happy. That’s it. Then if I am healthy, I’m happy, I know that normally I have good chances to play good tennis. If I play good tennis, then I normally have opportunities. Then you win, you lose. That’s sport.
What really makes me happy is go on court and start the tournament knowing that if I play well I have the chances to compete well against everybody and have the chances to win every match.
As I say, you can lose, you can win. But knowing I have the chances to compete with 100% of chances to have success against everybody, that’s the main goal for me. Week by week, day by day, enjoy the tour and enjoy the life in general.
For me, tennis is a very important part of my life, of course, but not everything. Never have been everything for me. In life I enjoy. The value of other things outside of tennis are so important for me, too.
I going to try to keep being healthy and happy playing tennis, enjoying the life outside of tennis, too.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports