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March 20, 2008

Rafael Nadal


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You were very expressive at the end that match. Can you tell us how much beating James meant for you tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: The thing is not beating James, no? The thing is being in semifinal and beating against two big players like Tsonga and Blake in quarterfinals. So for me it was very important two matches.
Because in the last months I didn't have bad results. Semifinal in Australia, final in Chennai and semifinal in Shanghai and final in Bercy. So it wasn't bad results. But the true is I feel like I didn't win against the best players the world, no? So when I have two consecutive wins against these players, so that's very important for me.

Q. At the same time, obviously the most important is getting through. But because you lost three times before to James, that must feel nice to know that you can win?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure. I know he's a very difficult player for me for play against him, no? Very aggressive player all the time.
I like to play a little bit more from the baseline, no? And he play so aggressive all the time and it's very difficult for me. Sure, after three loses, it's very important for me and I'm very happy for that beat against big player like James and difficult player for me, no?

Q. Can you talk about the end of the third set, especially the game where you broke him. You were very aggressive with the forehand and the return of serve.
RAFAEL NADAL: I fought all the time. If I have the chance with the second serve in that game, I going to play aggressive. I going to play the winner inside or outside, but I going to try to do the winner with the forehand, no?
Sometimes in the match is some moments you have to do what you feel, no? And at this moment I feel like I'm playing good, good tennis, very good tennis today. I feel very good the ball with the forehand. So I think if I have to win this match, I have to win with my forehand. Well, lucky for me the ball is on the line.

Q. Next match is Djokovic in the semifinal. You have a better score than Djokovic. Any thoughts on that? Are you assuming maybe...
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, probably I play against one of the -- well, the best player of the first part of the season, so -- well, this is an interesting match for me, going to be challenge for me play against him.
The same time, very happy for be in the semifinal. Anyway, right now I have very good tournament, the first Masters Series of the year in hard court for play the semifinal is very good result, and for sure I going to try my best for play against Djokovic on Saturday.
So going to be a very tough match, I know. I have to play like the last part of the match if I want it bin.

Q. If you can compare, if that's possible, his game and Roger Federer's game, aside from the double-handed backhand and one-handed backhand, what are the similarities and differences between the two styles of the game?
RAFAEL NADAL: I'm nobody for speak about that, but I think the style is so different, no? I think, I don't know, what can I say? But I feel like Federer is more talented player, for sure. Both have very good forehand, both have good control with the backhand, and, well, good serve. Good serve for both, no?
Probably not big powerful serve, but always very good direction, 200, 210, 207 kilometers per hour. Perfect serve for his game, no?

Q. In the first set today, you were serving for the first set and you were down Love-40. Can you take us through what you did to turn it around and win that game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, first, he has one mistake in the return of Love-40 with backhand on second serve. Later I think I played two good points, no? I play one aggressive point. And later in the 30-40 I have a good serve on his forehand and I put one forehand to his backhand and he put the ball out like this.
So, well, the true is it was a very important game, no?

Q. What did you tell yourself going into the third set, because it looked like after the second set he had regained control and he was, like you say, very aggressive and dictating all the time.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, but I didn't feel playing bad, so I am happy for play good. Try to go to the third set for -- try to play my best and enjoy the match and enjoy playing my game, because I'm playing fine. Be concentrate, so that's it.
So just try to play my best tennis. I know if I play my best tennis, my thought was I have to win my serve, because I think I going to have one chance for the break, no? I going to have chances for break.
But I know his big returner, so going to be tough save my serve for all the set. I have some breakpoint in the first game I think.

Q. Can you talk about the hard courts here? Just seem to be very comfortable on these hard courts. How are these different from like other hard courts here in America?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the different is the ball, no? The ball is getting more topspin here than probably in Australia. The Penn ball is a little bit more favorable for me than the Wilson, that's for sure.
Well, for other reason I have more comfortable with the forehand, with the backhand, no? The ball getting more topspin and, well, my game is better like this.

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