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June 1, 2015
R. NADAL/J. Sock
6‑3, 6‑1, 5‑7, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions in English.
Q.¬† Well played.¬† Great match out there today.¬† Can you talk about first how you felt your game was, and then also about Jack Sock, first time you guys had played?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬†¬† I think it was a very good first two sets for me.¬† I think I played great.¬† Very, very happy the way I was playing.¬† Crazy with not many mistakes. ¬†Changing the action with forehand and backhand, so played a great two sets, no?
Then the third I think a lost a little bit intensity.¬† Even before the 5‑4, being honest and realistic, in the third, only one very positive game.¬† That was after the 3‑2 for me with break.¬† He break me back, so then with 3‑All I think I played a fantastic game to break him back again.
But after that I think my serve today was the worst thing.¬† I didn't start enough points with advantage, and that's why he had the chance to break me in the third twice and in the fourth.¬† He didn't break me, but he has a big chance with Love‑40.¬† I was lucky that game.
But it was a very positive match.¬† I'm happy.¬† And important thing, I suffered a little bit beginning of the fourth, but I did well.¬† I am glad the way that I accepted the situation and keep fighting, and then I finished well again.
Q.¬† Now comes a match that everybody was talking about in the draw.
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† Yeah, now we can talk.¬† (Laughter.)
Q.We can talk about it. ¬†What's your approach for this match?¬† Does the fact that it's only a quarterfinal changing anything?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† No, is probably the toughest quarterfinal in my career here in Roland Garros, without a doubt.¬† But is not the final, you know.¬† It's a quarterfinals.
And, no, the winner of that match will not be the Roland Garros champion.¬† Will be semifinalist of Roland Garros.¬† That's makes a big difference.¬† Even if it's a special match, you know, is a quarterfinal match.¬† It will not be a final like other years.
Q.¬† You had relatively easy first three rounds.¬† Could this lost set even be good and sort of tested you before the quarterfinals?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† I don't know.¬† No, no, I prefer to win in straight sets.¬† (Smiling.)
But lost one and I accepted well the situation and keep fighting.¬† That's the way.¬† I did the right way, trying calm, trying to think point by point.¬† It was a positive fourth set winning in 6‑2.¬† It was a confident set.¬† Happy for that.
He's a very dangerous player.¬† He's a great player.¬† You know, I was playing great.¬† When I stopped a little bit to play with that intensity, is true that later it was slower because the weather conditions, the temperature go down a little bit and the sunshine, you know, is not anymore there so the court is a little bit heavier.
So he hit every ball very hard.¬† It was a little bit more difficult for me to push him back.¬† It's like playing a little bit on the night.
But not an excuse.¬† The real thing is I opened it up for him to go for the shots, and he did very well.¬† Is true.
I know that if I continue playing the way that I was playing the first two sets probably would be a different story.
Q.¬† Compared to Monte‑Carlo, what do you need to do better or differently against Novak this time?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† I played well in Monte‑Carlo.¬† I lost 6‑3, 6‑3; I played great.
Here it's Roland Garros and it's different tournament.
But, no, Monte‑Carlo I lost 6‑3, 6‑3.¬† You know, easy result; not an easy match.
I have to play a little bit better, yes.¬† I gonna try.¬† (Smiling.)¬† That's all that I say today.
Q.¬† Before this tournament you talked about your nerves quite often.¬† You said when it comes to the important points sometimes you get nervous.¬† So I was wondering if you can handle your nerves in this tournament so far.
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† You know, I have been playing a little bit more up and down talking about overall.¬† Not only here.¬† I said every day, no, I have been playing, you know, more up and downs the last few months before the clay season start.¬† Playing with nerves for some moments.
That's the real thing.¬† But since Monte‑Carlo, you know, if I am honest saying that ‑‑ in Miami, for example, I say it after the press conference I was anxious.¬† I was probably not ready to compete well with that nerves that I had there.
In Rio, something similar.
But since Monte‑Carlo the history change a little bit.¬† I play a lot in Monte‑Carlo; no nerves in Monte‑Carlo.¬† I played a very bad match in Barcelona against Fognini, true.
But in Madrid I played a few very good matches; one bad match against Andy Murray.
In Rome I didn't play not one match, not one bad match.¬† I lost a match that probably I should win, but I lost.¬† But competing well with no nerves, positive attitude.
So here the same.¬† The feeling is completely different.¬† Not thinking about the next couple of ‑‑not thinking about the next match, but thinking overall that's my season is not finishing here in Roland Garros.¬† I say it every day.
I think my dynamic changed a lot, and I am enjoying again on court because I'm able to play more days with calm.¬† And enjoy on court and ultimately winning, you know, is feel yourself ready to compete and feel yourself with that calm that gives you the possibility to compete well.
I think I am doing better now.
Q.¬† For the last ten years, you have set the standard for everyone else, a very high standard.¬† Do you think Novak has made you a better player?¬† If so, why?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† I don't know, no?¬† I don't know if ‑‑as always, the competition gives you, you know, information what you need if you want to win important things.
Novak is one of these players that have been very, very dominant for the last couple of years, in exception of 2013 ‑‑ well, 2014, first six months he had not been that dominant like I have been competing well, and I think after here I was No. 1 in the race and then I get injury.
But for the last year, he had been very ‑‑he has been very dominant, no?¬† Tough opponents help you to know that it's not enough what you're doing.¬† It's obvious that 2011 against him was a year that give me a lot of information about what I need to improve if I want to be competitive against him again.
I think I make that improvements in 2012 and 2013.¬† But then, you know, when you have been ‑‑when you have injuries, then it's tough to be back at the highest level each time.
But I am in quarterfinals here and Novak is in front.¬† He's the best player of the world without any doubt today.¬† Very dominant.¬† Probably everybody's with me that probably he is the favorite here.
But I am here to fight, and I hope to put him a difficult match.¬† I hope to play my best.¬† That's only way, and I gonna try to play my best.
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions in Spanish.
Q.¬† It's very difficult to play against a player you have never played against.¬† You watched him on video, that's all?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† No, it's not really tough.¬† I know all the players.¬† I know this player to a certain extent.¬† He's one of the best players at the present time.¬† He's very fit. ¬†I know more or less how he plays.
Of course, I mean, I don't know everything about him, but you can get some information.¬† You can get some details.¬† So it was not special, in fact.
Q.¬† Apart from the match of today, you have reached the quarterfinals and you're going to play against Djokovic.¬† You've said that he's the best player, so what can Nadal do to compete with him?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† I don't know.¬† We'll see in two days' time.¬† Before the match you can't guess what the future has in store.¬† You are in uncharted territory.
When you start playing you can get some information, and at the end of the match you realize whether your performance was enough or not.
Of course, he's by far the best player in the world.¬† He's brimming with confidence; he has exceptional form.¬† He's won almost all the matches since the start of the year.¬† He hasn't had a lot of defeats, only two defeats.
But I'm like any other opponent.¬† It's a match.¬† It's a complicated match, of course.¬† But I will have to compete with a spirit of confidence and determination and self‑assurance, as well.
At a given point in my career, I experienced these same feelings as those of today.¬† But when you play well, when you win matches, confidence is back, confidence is strong.
When you step out on the court without being frightened, without being jittery, this is an important asset.¬† If you want to win important matches, that's a big asset.
But my situation is different to that of Novak.¬† I will try to play one of my best matches, and in so doing, I will have the opportunity to beat him.
I love Roland Garros.¬† I love the tournament.¬† I love the courts.¬† I will pull out all the stops to win the match.
If I don't win, I will think about the next tournament.¬† I will try to make progress.¬† I feel competitive.¬† I'm calmer on court.
I don't have this problem of nerves that I suffered from at the start of the year, so we will attempt to move forward.¬† The year is not over.¬† I will fight to the bitter end.
We will see what's going to happen the day after tomorrow, and I hope that I won't be injured for the rest of the season.
I hope that my year will be injury‑free.
Q.¬† You said that this quarterfinal was coming a little bit earlier.
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† I don't know.¬† I will tell you the day after tomorrow.¬† Of course I don't like playing a quarterfinal against Novak, that's for sure, and I hope that Novak won't like playing me in a quarterfinal.
But I was out of the tour for six months, and when I came back I was consistent and I managed to get back into the rankings.¬† I climbed the rankings by four spots, so I'm very happy.
I'm in the quarterfinal.¬† I'm ready to play this match, so I will try to do my best.¬† I will practice tomorrow.¬† Then I will make sure that I have to step it up.
Of course this is not something that you can prepare the day before.¬† I have been preparing myself for quite a long time, so I will try my best.
Q.¬† In the first two sets, do you think the level in the first two sets will be enough?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† I don't know if it will be enough.¬† The first two sets were great for me.¬† I played well.¬† The level was good.¬† Is it enough to win against Djokovic?¬† I don't know.¬† I don't read a crystal ball.
So if I play well and if my opponent plays better than me, I will shake hands and congratulate and then I will move on.¬† I will continue to work.
As I told you, I just want to be injury‑free.¬† If I can do that, I think that I will be able to fulfill some goals for my career.
Because my career won't stop after the quarterfinal of Roland Garros.¬† I have already lost at Roland Garros, and if I lose in the quarterfinal, it means that I would have lost against the best player in the world.¬† Djokovic is an excellent player, is physically fit, and is in form.
But of course this match won't be a final.¬† It will change things altogether.¬† Of course you shouldn't think that this is a sort of anticipated final.¬† The person or the player who wins the match tomorrow will get 25% of winning the tournament like the other players.
Q.¬† Winner of that Wednesday match is pivotal for you.¬† Do you think that this match could be called the match of the year or the match of the century?¬† What does it represent for your career?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† As I told you, this is not vital.¬† If it were to be a final things would have been different.¬† This is the quarterfinal, and if you win the quarterfinal you will go to the semifinal.¬† It's not a matter of lifting up the trophy.
Last year it was great because I defeated Djokovic in the final.
Of course this is not the match of the year.¬† I mean, you can write lots of articles about it, but this is not the match of the year.
The matches of the year are finals and decisive matches.¬† That's the way it is.
We shouldn't be misled.¬† We are aware of the fact that this is a quarterfinal match.¬† I'm very happy.¬† I'm ranked seventh, so if I lose in the quarterfinal my life won't change.
To have a look at the ranking at the end of the year, I will see where I am in terms of wins, in terms of injuries.¬† We have to accept the ups and downs in our careers.
Of course, I would have preferred playing Novak Djokovic in the semifinals or the final, but we are in the quarterfinals.¬† I want to be positive about the events of the past few months.¬† I wouldn't be honest if I were to tell you that the previous months haven't been positive to me.
There have been some positive aspects in the past few months, so I will rely on that momentum.¬† I want to keep that dynamic, that momentum.
Of course the year of tennis won't end Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday.¬† If I lose, I will move on; life continues.¬† We have gone through many events, many positive events in my career, but this quarterfinal is not as important as some previous events I went through.
Q.¬† It will be quite hard to coordinate with the weather forecast.¬† What do you prefer?
RAFAEL NADAL:¬† The hotter it is, the better it is for me.¬†
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports