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March 22, 2008

Rafael Nadal


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed to have trouble finding your game most the day, and you appeared to have an injury. Give us an overview of what happened.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, sir, no. No injury. I didn't feel very well playing tennis. I had more mistakes than usually. Well, I feel a little bit tired from last two matches. That's sure. Because, well, in the runs I feel a little bit more slowly than days before.
Well, if you play against one player like Novak you have to play 100% if I want to have chances to win.

Q. Can you compare him from this time last year when you beat him in the finals?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I can't compare Novack with last year. I play more times after the last year final from here, so we can't compare with other matches. I play like four or five matches. And, well, this one is the one who -- one he beat easier to me, I think is the one I play worst. That's sure. Well, the true is he play better than me, and for that reason he beat me. Difficult to say more things.

Q. Do you know why you didn't play your best today? Were you not feeling so good getting on the court, or did you know beforehand that you were not maybe 100% in your tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I have very tough matches in the rounds before, very tight matches. You have to be 100%, so he play, for sure, less hours than me on court, easier matches, and he play better than me, so cannot do a thing. That's it.

Q. Did you still feel that you can take confidence from the matches you won this week?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me it's a very positive tournament, no? Play semifinal in the first Masters Series of the season in hard court, beating two big players against Blake and Tsonga.
Today unfortunately I didn't play my best, and day was easier than I would like. But tennis is like this. The positive thing is I'm in semifinals, no? I have to think in positive and try to go to Miami with my best chances. I going to try my best for play a very good tournament there, no?

Q. Which tournament suits you better, this one or Miami, because of the conditions? Where do you feel more comfortable?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me here is very good conditions, no? Semifinals, Champions semifinals. I think in no other tournament in hard court I have this results, so maybe this one is very good conditions for me.
Miami I have final after one quarterfinals, third round, and fourth round, something like this. Not bad, too.

Q. What did you take the medical timeout for? What was happening with your foot?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I was -- I don't know exactly, no? But very tough in English for me. I improve but not a lot.
MODERATOR: Just next to the nail, next to the toenail. It was just, you know, bothering me. It was hitting -- every time I was pushing near the toenail.
RAFAEL NADAL: I'm not saying that this affect something in the match. It's not an excuse.

Q. Even though you were tired and he was playing well, you did have some chances.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. I had the break in the first set. Well, he break me in the next game so it's too soon. If I won that game 3-1, I can get more confidence because he had start the match having some mistakes, too.
It was tough, the break back after my break, no? So, well, after this I feel he (in Spanish).
THE MODERATOR: With very little he was hurting me much more than I was doing to him.
RAFAEL NADAL: And I think that this thing happened because I was a little bit slow, slower than the day before, no? So I can't go to the ball and continuing running 100%.
So he play very inside the court. He always beat me the position inside the court easier than I can do against him. With his backhand, cross backhand, it is bothering me a lot.

Q. It seems like with Djokovic now as opposed to last year - I think you played him seven times in the last year - it's hard to hit through him to find places to exploit him.
RAFAEL NADAL: He's a very complete player, no? Very good serve, very good backhand, very good forehand. He's moving fast and moving well. He has very good position on court.
He has the position -- feel the position inside the court very easy, and that's very difficult when you're playing with these fast balls. He can do it, so that's exceptional quality.
So, well, the only way for beat him is the way when I play against him in Shanghai: Very aggressive. All the time playing the ball with -- touching the ball with big powerful backhand, forehand, and try to play very good.

Q. On a hard surface, how would you compare a guy like Novak to someone like Roger in terms of being difficult to play against?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I don't like to compare the players, no? Everyone have his style, so that's it.

Q. Did you feel you were moving slower than usual right from the very start of the match or a few games into the first set?
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel slower from the beginning, I think, no? Well, I am coming more tired during the match, no? I think I start the match --
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know in English. Sorry.

Q. How good do you think Novak is playing right now? He's had such good result this year. Do you think he's maybe even better than Roger right now the way he's playing?
RAFAEL NADAL: Another comparation (sic).

Q. Really more his level.
RAFAEL NADAL: Right now he's No. 1 on the race, and he going to continuing be No. 1 because he has a very good result here, no?
I think he's not better than Roger, but in the first part of the season he play better than no one, so going to have big chances for be No. 1 this year for sure. Why not?

Q. What do you do now? Do you rest a little bit? Take some time off? Disengage everything? Or do you go back out there and work hard?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I have a lot of hours this week on court. I have to rest one day, that's sure.
Tomorrow I going to have day off, and I think fly tomorrow night to Miami. I going to practice in Miami late Monday, late in the afternoon.

Q. Will you do anything on your day off? Play golf or anything, or just sit around the room?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sleep a little bit and well, love to play golf, yes. That's it. Maybe watch a little bit the final tomorrow. I don't know. Depends.

Q. Nothing special, Rafa, for Easter? You know it's Easter Sunday.
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing special, no? I would love to go to Los Angeles for watch the Lakers, but Gasol is injury, so I am thinking. I don't know yet.

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