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May 31, 2019

David Goffin

Paris, France

R. NADAL/D. Goffin

6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. When Rafa is coming at you with that intensity like he did today in the first couple of sets, can you describe what that's like as an opponent to try and stem the tide?
DAVID GOFFIN: Yeah, it was not easy at the beginning of the match because I didn't used to the center court. It's not easy because he's playing so far back. And it look like you hit too slow, you know, because it's -- he's like a wall, five meters behind. And it looks like you serve 120, and then it looks like you hit with a soft balls because it doesn't go. He's so fast and he's behind and he's playing so heavy. So it's not easy to make a winner.

But you have to find some solutions. And then I tried to be more effective with my serve and especially, yeah, in the third obviously. But I started to find some solution in second on my service game because, after first set, I knew that it was impossible to play the rally because he's too solid. He covered the court so well. And so I had to play faster, but on the good one, on the good shot.

And I started to find some solutions on my serve. Some drop shots, good forehands, and then I was more aggressive in the third. But it's tough to play the whole match like this because, yeah, he's really solid, really consistent. Doesn't give any points.

So, yeah, it's tough. It's tough.

Q. What do you take out of this tournament going ahead to the grass court season?
DAVID GOFFIN: Yeah, next will be the grass court season. But after this tournament, I'm going on the grass with some -- a lot of positive things. I think my game came back. In this tournament, I was playing well. I was more creative, more positive, more competitive as well.

Played two really good match and some good things also today. So it's really positive for the upcoming tournaments.

Q. It seems like Rafa and Roger, as well, they often get off to quick starts whereas there's guys that maybe take some, you know, second or third set to get into the match. Is that just their style of play is so much different and the way they attack? I'm kind of curious why that is, just not just with you, but with a lot of guys.
DAVID GOFFIN: No, but obviously they are two different players, Roger and Rafa. But, yeah, they always come on the court and play such an unbelievable intensity, both. They always, like, first -- I mean, first three games, it's unbelievable the intensity to put the pressure on the opponent.

And when you play against them, it's tough, the beginning of the match, because you feel the pressure and you have to stay with them.

But, yeah, and then you have some opportunity if you stay with them in the match. But, yeah, it's tough, and especially in match like in the Grand Slams.

THE MODERATOR: Question in French, please.

Q. How do you feel coming off the Chatrier court?
DAVID GOFFIN: I'm disappointed obviously. This is a defeat. I'm out of the tournament. This is the end of a Grand Slam. This is when you take stock of the situation. And it's unfortunate because there were many good things. My game was in place. Therefore, I do think that there are positive things to use during the next season.

Q. Are you proud of having managed to win a set, to take a set from Ralph Nadal, which is not the case of everyone on such a tournament?
DAVID GOFFIN: Yes, it was a great set, but it was only one set and I was far from being able to win the match.

As I said, there were some good things throughout the tournament, and it's the most important. I was competitive, creative, spontaneous, and it is my strength, and it's the most important.

Q. Could you please explain to us when you look at the second set, halfway through, I think this is when you started playing to win the third set. Did you see an opening? Did you think, I can do some damage?
DAVID GOFFIN: When you are one set and a half into the game, it was complicated. I was starting to be more robust in my rallies and I was trying to dictate the rhythm, but it's impossible in the face of such an opponent.

I think I got off to a good start, but at the end of the rally, he would always have stronger shots than I did. He was just more powerful. More intense. I had to run all the time.

So I had to find solutions. After the first set, I decided to focus on my serves, to be more efficient in my serves, to win my service. And little by little, I started finding other opportunities. And it's really in the third set that I started doing some damage. It's in the third set that I was able to win the set.

But at the end of the day, I was only broken twice in the last two sets.

Q. Were you afraid of being crushed?
DAVID GOFFIN: During the first set, I thought, I need to change something. He was cruising to victory. He had balls to play. There were rallies, but he would always end up winning them. And therefore, I had to change something.

I had to be more aggressive, to lead him to make more mistakes. This is what I had to do. But at the same time, the match is so long that you think, well, I think opportunities will arise. Because it's a long match. I mean, one set is nothing given that it's the best-of-five sets.

Q. What did you change? You changed your service? Your serves? You start doing some drop shots?
DAVID GOFFIN: Yes. This is one of the weapons that I used at the right time and it was useful. I tried to use my forehand and to attack him aiming for his forehand. My serves were better in the third set as well. I was able to win some first serves, and I was more aggressive with the second serve. So the first to shots were the most important ones.

Q. Compared to your previous matches with Rafael Nadal, would you say that this is the Nadal that you were expecting or was he even more impressive? Were you surprised by his game?
DAVID GOFFIN: I was not surprised. I know how he plays. I know what his strength is. Once again, this was Nadal being himself. We know how he plays. We know where his strength lies. But physically speaking, he's very impressive.

He's very hard to play. He's very much at home. He knows how to move around. This is his courtyard. He knows how to move around the court. It's very difficult to follow his pace. It's very difficult to be more intense than he is because he's able to return every single ball, to use as much strength as possible, to keep his opponents running around the court.

I was not surprised. But, again, it's quite an impressive player.

Q. You talked about your serve. How do you manage your serves when Nadal is so aggressive in his returns especially?
DAVID GOFFIN: It's not so much that he is aggressive. He's eight meters behind the line, but he plays very high. And it's very difficult to play the ball that he returns because it's high, it is deep. You need to be able to attack it.

But we know that he is immediately ready to either hit a winner or to have you on the run. So it's difficult to deal with this.

Q. Will it be more difficult to digest, so to say, this defeat given that you have stepped up your game compared to the previous weeks and you seem to be at your best for the grass season? Are you less frustrated given the draw you got in the first place?
DAVID GOFFIN: Yes. When you start the tournament with a good game level, it's always easier obviously. And it's always better for the following tournaments and the following matches.

Today, Nadal was quite simply stronger than I was. But I do find that there are some positive things about this tournament.

Q. Unfortunately you will probably be out of the top 30. Do you think that this was a difficult phase for you?
DAVID GOFFIN: I was not really focused on the ranking. What really matters to me is my game, and I'm glad that I was able to step up my level. And when you get lower in the ranking, you start facing stronger opponents and, therefore, it can be Rafa Nadal or other players. In this case, it was Rafa Nadal in the third round, but it's not the most important thing.

I know that if I continue down this track, I will increase my ranking.

Q. How do you see your grass season? Where will you play?
DAVID GOFFIN: In Hertogenbosch and in Halle, and I will play to prepare for Wimbledon. It will not be easy because I was just starting to get comfortable on clay and now I need to move onto grass.

I play well during the grass season, but it takes some time to get used to it because you are forced to learn once again how to move around a grass court, which is very different from a clay court.

But I will try to be as ready as possible, as early as possible, so that I feel as comfortable as possible on grass.

Q. You won the third set in this match. At some point did you think, well, maybe I will go even further and win another set?
DAVID GOFFIN: Everything remained to be done. I knew Rafa. I knew that he could step up his intensity at the beginning of the set, of the fourth set, to widen the gap between the two of us again.

I think I got off to a good start at the beginning of the fourth set. My serves were good. I had a few opportunities in the rallies, but he had good returns. He used his forehand immediately after my second serve. It was difficult to cope with this.

I tried to keep up my serves until the end, but he was robust. He was very strong.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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