February 18, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. TSITSIPAS/R. Nadal
3-6, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 7-5
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Bad luck, Rafa. Did you feel the match slipped away from you in the tiebreak in the third set?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, was a little bit of everything, no? I missed couple of balls in the tiebreak that I shouldn't that I could not miss if I want to win. And that's it. I think Stefanos played a great fourth and fifth set.
I was there. I played a couple of bad games. Just well done for him.
Q. How do you assess your emotions so swiftly after the match? What's your overall emotions?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?
Q. How do you assess your feelings right now so swiftly after the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, of course sad. I lost a match in quarterfinals of an event that mean a lot to me. Australian Open is one of my favorite events, without a doubt. So I missed an opportunity to be in that semifinals again. And that's it.
Well done for him. He played better than me probably in important moments. Was an equal match.
I tried my best in every single moment. With the right attitude. No complaining (smiling) at all in no one moment, even in the tougher moments.
Just trying to, I think I stayed positive all the time during the match, fighting. And was not enough. Sometimes it's enough. Today was not enough.
And that's it. Just another story in my tennis career (smiling). That's it. No, another match I lost here in Australia with important advantage, and just accept and keep going. That's the life.
Q. Even with the missed tiebreak, third set, did you expect him to come back in the fourth and fifth with such a big game, so many winners?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am playing against one of the best players of the world, so you always have to expect the best from the opponent, no, and be ready for anything.
I think he changed a lot the level then. I think in the third he already start to play much better. Then in the fourth and fifth I think he played a very, very high level of tennis.
Just well done for him. As I said before, I made a couple of mistakes. Was not enough for me, and I have to go back home and practice to be better. That's it, no?
I think I was in great condition before here. Then have been with bit unfortunate for me what happened for 20 days, and then I fight back to play I think a decent tennis.
Today wasn't enough. Was close. Just that's tennis. That's all. That's the sport. One player wins; the other lose.
Today I lost. So the only thing that I can do is try to be better next time, and today congratulate him.
Q. Was your back an issue at all tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, no problems with my back.
Q. Do you feel kind of cursed by -- I know you love to play here, but when you have all these sort of near misses and frustrations.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?
Q. I know you love to play here, but when you have all these close matches and frustrations here, does it start to feel like you're a bit cursed? You've had so much success elsewhere.
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, no, no. That's sport. Sometimes things go well; other times the things goes worse.
Unfortunately for me in this tournament I had more injuries than in the others. Then matches that you lose like today against one of the best players of the world is something that happens.
No, no, no. Not at all feeling unlucky for me and not at all I complaining about my luck here in Australia.
Everyone have what deserves. Tennis isn't a sport that is fair. I have what I deserved in my career, and over here in Australia I had chances, but I was not able to convert it. That's all. I didn't deserve more.
Can't find a lot of things or excuses or reasons, but one reason is I was not able to convert the opportunities that I had in my career here since today. Next year gonna be another year.
Q. I was just wondering how tiring it was for you physically playing for four hours? Exhausting? I saw both of you go long rallies deep into the match. Was it tiring? Is that something you're thinking about?
RAFAEL NADAL: I should be ready for that. I think my physical hold quite well. Is true that I probably need a little bit more time because is true that I was in great shape and for 20 days I was not able to practice the way that I expected, not able to play one single match in ATP Cup.
Yes, maybe this kind of stuff will helps a little bit to be a little bit better physically, no? Because how much if you play more matches and more practices against good players, playing sets, then you have better chances, no, to be better.
But I am not complaining much, no? I think physically have been a very humid day out there. Physically I was not fantastic but not bad, you know. I was able to fight until the end, and that's it.
No, no, no, the whole issue is I missed an easy smash at the beginning of the third, an easy forehand with 2-1 in the tiebreak, and then another smash in that tiebreak. That tiebreak I made a couple of mistakes that I can't make to win the match or the rest of the things.
He played well then later. Well done.
Q. Novak said yesterday, and Zverev said he agreed with him, that there needs to be serious consideration of the tour not having tournaments coming up with quarantines and that a different approach might be necessary. What are your thoughts on the way the tour should handle the tournaments over the next couple of months?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, but if I am not wrong, I don't see events that we have to do quarantine to play in the next couple of months.
I am right or I am wrong? There is an event that we have to do quarantine before playing? Because is okay, yes, I agree, but there is any tournament that this thing gonna happen? Can you answer me that?
Q. Well, it's unclear what will be needed, but if there is a need for quarantine, such as there was at this major, he said for tournaments that aren't majors, a different approach might be necessary such as having a few weeks consecutively in one place instead of traveling to many different places.
RAFAEL NADAL: But honestly, this was the first event that we had to do this quarantine. We didn't have events before that with this quarantine.
I mean, we had maybe it was New York but was not the same at all. I mean, the situation is that we are facing is tough, and the world is facing a very tough situation. That's very clear. And he's completely right that for our sport things are difficult because governments are changing the rules constantly. So it's difficult to make predictions about how the things gonna happen.
But there is very clear thing, you know. There is two options. Two options is stop the tour or keep going. My personal feeling is it's tough for the players, of course, have to do bubbles in every single event, flying just plus two, a lot of players have family and they cannot have the family with them, so that makes our tour probably tougher than ever, no?
But in the other hand, if we stop the tour, why and how and when we will be able to come back, and a lot of jobs gonna suffer a lot. I mean, not only players. A lot of people are living from our sport, no? If we stop our sport again, a lot of people gonna suffer, no?
So we need to have a little bit more -- I mean, we need to think a little bit bigger, no? And of course we need to protect players. Probably we need to find a way to protect the players with the ranking, to not force them to keep playing, yes, 100%, because the situation is very tough for a lot of players depending on the countries.
But that's it. We need to find solutions and we need to adapt to this very tough times that we are facing. Not only us; world. We are here to find solutions. I mean, and we need to be grateful to life that we can keep doing what we are doing.
Q. Over the years you have had a few injuries, a few physical problems at the Australian Open. Probably more than at the other slams. Do you think you have just been unlucky, or is it because it's a difficult time of year for you because you haven't played many matches coming into it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I mean, is difficult to define. I can give you an answer but it will not be clear answer, because I don't know (smiling).
So I can give you my feelings, but if what I am answering you is the truth or not, nobody knows. Because with the body and these issues, it's difficult to know exactly why these kind of things happens.
The only thing that I can tell you is I always prepared the proper way to be ready for here. You know, always have been a huge goal.
I really believe that sometimes, yes, we can find a reason because we were not able to prepare the proper way because I have been injured in December and this stuff, and then you arrive here with very short preparation, this kind of stuff, yes, happen a couple of times.
And other times, I mean, I probably have been unlucky, no? 2014, for example, final against Wawrinka, why that happened in the final after a great tournament for me and a great preparation, no? Why?
I don't like to say "unlucky," but why? I don't know. We can't find a reason, no?
Or today, this time, why I had for 20 days the back very stiff and I couldn't practice the proper way. I really don't know.
We can find excuses or reasons or maybe this quarantine that we need to be more time in the room than usual, yes, maybe. But, I mean, I am not the guy that I gonna find excuses on that or gonna complain about what happened, no.
Just accept. I never considered myself unlucky person at all. Doesn't matter the injuries that I had. I think I am very lucky person.
The only thing that I can do is just keep going. I put myself in a position even the challenges that I faced that I was in quarterfinals with two sets up, close to be in that semifinals. So have been a chance lost, yes, but life continues. I hope to keep having chances. Well, I gonna keep fighting for it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports