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July 9, 2006

Rafael Nadal


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please, for Rafael.

Q. You didn't seem to be on top of your game the way you have been in the last couple of matches.
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe in the first set was tough for me because he's playing different than the other guys, other players. He play with more slice. He change a lot the game. And is difficult because, sure, he begin well, he break me the first game. So that's tough for me.
And after, I don't see very well the goal in the game, no? Not the goal. I don't see very well the strategy of the game, no, because he was playing different with his slice. And after he change the rhythm.
So was tough the first start. (Speaking in Spanish.)
THE INTERPRETER: It was tough to get to his level.
RAFAEL NADAL: But after I have a little bit good luck in the first game of the second set. Maybe I play very good second set, no? Finally I play bad the 5-4, for sure. But for that, maybe in this these moments, maybe I lost a match, no? But after I play very good the tiebreak of the third. Sure, the third set I play very well. And in the fourth I play good. I play good, too, but I miss the volley in the breakpoint down, and that's decisive, no?
But is not easy with the wind. Is tough. That's why it put me a little bit down.

Q. Do you believe Roger is or can be the greatest of all time?
RAFAEL NADAL: He can, sure. He can. They always say he win a lot, and he win easy, no, a lot of matches easy. So that's good for try to do the best of the history, no? But he has 8, Sampras 14. We gonna see.

Q. I know it's disappointing to lose, but while you were playing, were you enjoying how great the tennis was that you guys were playing?
RAFAEL NADAL: I enjoy the match, sure, after the first set. I play good after, no? So is important for me play good this final, after the first, because I know in the -- is important for me for the future belief I can win here, no? I can beat Roger, too. Is important for me to believe I can win Roger, too, here, in this surface.
After I play good tennis, and when I play good tennis, I have a good chances, too, no? He don't beat me easy after that, no? So that's good.

Q. Can you explain what makes Roger's serve so difficult to return?
RAFAEL NADAL: Because is tough because I can't -- (Speaking in Spanish).
THE INTERPRETER: I cannot see where he serves, read his serve.
RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot see where he serves, no? So he change very good angles. And for him is the same. He can put -- toss the ball like this. He can serve here, he can serve here. Is not some guy if he serve the ball here, serve here or serve here, but he change all the time. That's tough, especially in this surface because it's faster, no?

Q. What are you going to take away from this whole Wimbledon? You didn't think you could reach the finals. You got to the finals. What will you take from that in the future?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, is important, is unbelievable tournament, unbelievable tournament for me play this final, no? I improve a lot in this surface this year. I can play good in this surface, sure. So I want to continuing improve because I want to win here.

Q. What was the best match here on Wimbledon by the level of your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe Baghdatis or Agassi, I don't know.

Q. Yourself and Marcos Baghdatis seem to come here with the belief that they could beat anyone, you could beat Federer. There doesn't seem to be anyone else on the tour who shares that belief. Do you think they're letting themselves down; that too many people walk on the court and think they're beaten before the first point?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I don't know, no. I don't know exactly because I am not inside the other guys, no? So I can't say exactly.
But, sure, I go to the court believing with the victory, no? And if every player come to the court the same, Roger sometimes gonna have more problems.
But now he's winning easy, so that's tough for the other players, for everybody, no? So we gonna see in the future. He's unbelievable. Now he's the best. We gonna see in the future.

Q. You made some big winners from your backhand. Was it a surprise for you to be so good on the backhand?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, not surprise because I was playing very good with my backhand all tournament, no? I was feeling very good before the tournament, during the practice. So after, in the tournament, when the tournament come back, I improve a lot with my forehand. But before the tournament, I was playing better with my backhand, no?

Q. Did you feel special coming to Centre Court for the finals? The tradition of Wimbledon is very special, the way the guy carries your case. Did it feel special this morning coming on to court, this afternoon?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, is a little bit special sensation, no? We are in the cathedral of tennis, so it's nice. For me is very nice be in this final, be the second Sunday here. I never think that before when I was young, no. It was my dream, but I never think I can be there, no?
So now I arrive today, and I hope any more year I can come back, no?

Q. You are the only person to take a set off of Roger this tournament. How close do you think you are to beating him on grass? How many years?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I don't know exactly what. But I saw in the match when I was playing my best tennis, when I was playing good, the match is close, very close. Not much difference, no? So that's good. That's nice for me.
And the title is for him, so that's the real thing now, no? But we gonna see. We gonna see. I want to improve. I just have 20 years. He has 25. So maybe, maybe in the future I can improve.

Q. What can you improve? Maybe your second serve?
RAFAEL NADAL: Anything always you can improve. Anything. Here, in clay, in hard, always you can improve. Federer is difficult, but always we can improve (smiling).

Q. What were you thinking after you lost the first set?
RAFAEL NADAL: I was thinking, Win one game (laughter). That's important for me, because I just need one game for come back to the match, no? I know that. I was thinking about that, sure.

Q. How much more do you know about playing on grass now than you did when you arrived at Queen's, what was it, three weeks, four weeks ago?

Q. What sort of things?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know more the movements, the strategy on court, the way to serve and play more aggressive with my forehand than with my backhand. I need change a little bit, or play a little bit more slow, not with a lot of topspin. Sometimes you can play, but not every ball, no? That's the real important points for improve on this surface, no?

Q. Would you come to net more if you played this match again than you did today? Would you go to net more?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe not because I saw Federer against the big servers, and was tough, every time passing shot, every time. He has unbelievable passing shot, especially on this surface.
You need go to the net sometimes, but not much, no, because he has unbelievable passing shot. The forehand, you can't go to the net with his ball, with his forehand. With his backhand, sometimes, but not much, too. I saw once against Ancic, it was unbelievable.

Q. Would you agree that Roger played better in this match than the match that he beat you in Key Biscayne in 2005?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but is a different history maybe now. That is last year, in the beginning of the year. Maybe now is maybe lit the bit different. We can speak about the last matches, but about in Miami, sure, he can play -- he play better today, sure, because he was playing no good in the first two sets.
But maybe is different now. I improve a lot, so is different.

Q. You've shown a real love for Wimbledon and an appreciation for this place and different surface and everything. The next time you guys meet in a major potentially would be the US Open. Do you feel the same strength and same desire to win at the US Open as you do here and of course at Roland Garros?
THE INTERPRETER: I forgot the question.
RAFAEL NADAL: Because he has a nice watch (laughter).
Yeah, sure, I want to play good in the US Open, no? Is one of a special goals of this year, no, because I never play good there. So this year I say a lot of times, and I speak with my team always about that. So I need have a good preparation for the US Open, no, because last year I arrive there without hundred percent mentality, no? I need to stay hundred percent for this tournament. I want to play a very good tournament there, no? I gonna try. I gonna do (smiling).

Q. You've qualified for Masters Cup Shanghai. What's your expectation for Masters?
RAFAEL NADAL: Now I am qualified to the Shanghai maybe, no?
THE INTERPRETER: Hundred percent.
RAFAEL NADAL: Hundred percent, good. So last year I can't play. I was there for a week before, but I can't play. So I hope this year I gonna play, no? I hope that the surface gonna change, and I hope gonna play this tournament because is one of the biggest tournaments of the world after the four Grand Slams. So I gonna try play my best tennis there.

End of FastScripts...

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