home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 8, 2019

Rafael Nadal

Madrid, Spain

R NADAL/F. Auger-Aliassime

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the feelings that you have on the court, physically, and talking about your tennis, too?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think that everything is secondary. The important thing is to win, you know, especially given what's happened in the last three days.

And then I'm talking about feelings. The first seven games I didn't have a lot of rhythm. Both him and I, we were struggling when returning the balls. We had a lot of first serves and returning was very difficult.

In a game, I managed to save some balls, I managed to do a break. And from there onwards, it's a turning point. I think I started to return a little bit better from thereon. And I done things better than him.

I have played a lot of parallel drives and then perhaps when he was crossing the angle, maybe I was not doing really well. Then there was another point when I think I struggled a bit. And when he did a drop shot on the net, I think I played really well in that point.

Then I did two loops which I think I played quite well. And I think those were the points and the scheme that I had in my mind and what I want to continue to do on other occasions.

But in general, it's a day to be very satisfied, very happy. I managed to win. I managed to win in two sets, to an opponent which was not easy and the day was not the best, it was windy and cold.

And of course there have been positive things. I think that my backhand has been really well and other things. There are many things to improve of course, and especially after the last days, which have been really complicated for me.

Q. Has this been the best match of the clay season for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the best match on the clay season was against Thiem, when I lost in the semifinals of Rome a week and a bit ago. In Barcelona, sorry. That was the best tournament, the best match of this season, and today's match was completely different.

Given the circumstances that we had today, I think it's been a correct match. Let's see what happens tomorrow. And, of course, all of the victories at this moment are really important for me because they help me to have another option to play the next day, as I'm saying. Two weeks' ago maybe the issue of playing the next day was not an opportunity to improve because I didn't feel like that on the training, but right now I'm training well. I have better feelings than a few weeks ago.

So whatever can happen in a match, you know. You go out there, you try to win against an opponent who is also trying to win his match. I think that every match gives me the possibility to go a step forward, a step forward that can help me a lot in my game and during the season.

I think that today was an important match in that way and tomorrow it's another great opportunity to keep improving my feelings. I think that my feelings are fine, as I said. Training is good so we have to look at what happens during the matches.

Q. Frances Tiafoe, you are playing against him. Zverev. You are facing players that are promising. Which is the one that you think has the most talent if you have an opinion of those players?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Of all of these young players, the one that has won more titles is Zverev. That is the reality. And what can they do? Well, I don't know. Today's player is one of those candidates to be really good in the future. Shapovalov is also a good player. We have Tsitsipas. We have a group of players that I cannot predict the future, you know.

The best player will be the one who is able to improve the most during the next months and years. And we will be able to see that as spectators and hopefully me as opponent.

Q. You are saying you are happy with your serve. And during this season and during this tournament, it was not your best shot. At this level in your career, how important is it to have a good serve to win tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you have to look at the things globally. It is true when I played against Thiem I didn't have a good serve. I committed a few double-faults. I think that the match against Thiem, as I said before, it was my best match on clay. I think that with my serve it was not my best day. I served pretty badly that day.

We cannot say I lost due to the serve. You know, we cannot say that my serve is due to my defeat or whatever. You know, I also committed other errors and the serve seemed worse. When they break me, in my case only, it's not only because of the serve, it is because I'm doing other things wrong.

And if you are asking mow how important is the serve in every break, I would say it's not more than a 25 percent of importance, that's my feeling. From the baseline, I play in a comfortable way. If I'm playing with security, calmly, the serve automatically just improves point after point.

And, for example, at the beginning of this season, I changed the serve. I think that on fast courts and hard courts I was playing really well. In Australia I served really well. And I served well on tour. The serve was playing very good. And here on clay it's a completely different story.

I have to try to adapt that serve to the surface because it's a little bit different. I have to tweak things and have to find solutions and I think today I found it.

I think I played with a lot of confidence. I have been very comfortable and I'm able to play the next round.

Q. Now you have to face Tiafoe. I would like you to talk a bit about him. And if you keep on making it to the next rounds, you won't be able to rest till the final.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Smiling) First of all, Frances is a very high-level opponent. He has a lot of speed. He's very aggressive. And he's an electric player. He serves very well. He moves very good on the clay. His feet movement is really good. He's already won some good matches against Kohlschreiber. He comes in with a lot of confidence. He is young. He is playing really well. He has that drive and energy and it will be a good test for me and an opportunity for me to play a tough match and to keep improving.

Q. You are talking a lot about these last two weeks. The other day in the press conference and today you are always talking about the last two weeks.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it's just a personal feeling. As I say, the other day after Indian Wells mentally I went down, I had a drop down, a big drop down after what happened to me.

You know, I had different struggles like in Acapulco where I was not able to train for five days. Then I recovered. I was playing quite well in Indian Wells and a few things have happened. I had to stop once again for two weeks. I had to try to recover and mentally.

I had a complicated moment, I had a drop down. It was really complicated for me to come back to be able to stay fit and to recover that energy that I need to play. And right now I think I have it again.

So, this is the joy that I need, the joy that I need to do things and this is what gives you the drive and the passion to do things and then fix my work or not.

Right now, I have the possibility during these next two weeks to do something good and before, I didn't have this opportunity.

And normally, when you have the capacity, this is what makes the difference, to have the energy and the joy and the attitude to be able to try to do it and then you have some better times and worse times. This is just part of a sportsman's life.

But I think that right now, I have the drive and the option and the will to do it. Two weeks' ago, I didn't have the energy. Right now, I have that energy to do the things real good.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Could you explain in English what I am sure you have already said in Spanish about how you felt on court today given the upset stomach you have had over the last couple of days?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's been a difficult three days with the virus in the stomach. Happy to be able to win the match in straight sets and the level of tennis has been okay, not bad today. So, against a tough opponent it was a good test. And I was able to win and that is the main thing today more than any other issue that we can talk about, the tennis.

Today was a day to be focussed, to be with the right attitude and to try to win the match and that's what happened and that gave me a chance to have better body feelings tomorrow and just try to play a little bit better tomorrow against another tough opponent.

Q. Is it possible for a player under the age of 20 to win a Grand Slam now like in the past?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Smiling) Why not?

Q. Maybe more difficult physically, I don't know.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Smiling) Why?

Q. To win a Grand Slam before the age of 20?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Smiling) Why more difficult now than 15 years ago?

Q. Maybe physically it's more difficult because the bar is higher?
RAFAEL NADAL: The level is higher?

Q. Physically...
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry, I cannot agree with that (smiling). I believe that the best players in the history, not all ones, but almost everyone who has won a Grand Slam before 20, so there is no one reason today why this cannot happen again, that's my feeling.

He's good enough to do it, and he's good, he has a good eye, he has a good attitude on court, why not? But then you can win or you cannot win. But if you have the chance, of course.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297