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June 21, 2008

Rafael Nadal


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafa.

Q. What effect does your performance last year, especially the final against Roger, have on your thoughts on this year's Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not much difference, no? Similar like every year. Just come here with motivation, best motivation, try to enjoy playing on grass. Is strange surface. Well, try to find my best performance.

Q. What has been the biggest change that has made you the player you are on grass right now?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every year you try to improve your tennis, no?
I think is stupid say what you improve on grass? What are you improving on grass? Because is impossible to improve on grass when you are only playing two weeks in a year. Is impossible to improve on grass.
Is possible to improve your tennis on other surfaces. You can have more options for play on grass. But you improve your tennis in the rest of surfaces. Later on grass, if you have more options, you can serve a little bit better, you can go to the net more times, you can have one slice, you can play more aggressive. That's going to help you a lot for play on grass, no?

Q. You had breakpoints last year in the fifth set against Roger. Was there a time after the match that you replayed those points in your mind thinking you could have done something different?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, that's too much, no? The tennis continuing every week after the Wimbledon final of last year, no? Was a very, very good week for me, two weeks. I played very good tennis, especially in the final. Finally I lost. I have to accept that. That's a hundred percent normal. Just, you know, one hour after the match is tough because you lose important chance, and you never know if you gonna have another chance in the future.
But after that, the life continuing. Always try my best in the next tournament.

Q. After you beat Roger in Paris, Bjorn Borg said he thinks you're going to win here. What are your thoughts on that prediction?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, Bjorn is a special person, special tennis person. And when Bjorn say something, everybody listen Bjorn (smiling). I only can say thanks to Bjorn for his words. A lot of times he spoke very nice things about me, so just thanks of this.
But, you know, Bjorn is not magic.

Q. Over the years there have been many great French Open champions, Bruguera, Muster, Guga, who haven't bothered to come here after winning the French Open. You never thought like that. Why?
RAFAEL NADAL: If you wants to be a big player, important player, you want to be in the top positions, well, is impossible don't come of one tournament like this.
So, well, Wimbledon was very important in my mind always. Just happy for be here for another time.

Q. Have you been able to relax in between your tennis matches and practice by watching the European football championships?

Q. Do you think Spain can beat Italy and go on and win the title?
RAFAEL NADAL: We gonna win this year, no doubts.

Q. What do you think of Ronaldo joining a rival club of yours?
RAFAEL NADAL: Don't ask me nothing about this, please. Because in Spain, all they are speaking about is Ronaldo going to Real Madrid. But I don't know.

Q. Would you like to see him play in Madrid?
RAFAEL NADAL: For sure, yes. Sorry for Manchester (smiling).

Q. Would it be a dream summer if you could win Wimbledon and Spain to win Euro2008? Would that be a perfect scenario for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: More than perfect.

Q. Since we touched on other sports, what were your thoughts on what Tiger Woods did last week? And what are you thinking, knowing he did it with these bad injuries?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, is very tough finish a tournament and can't play more during the same season, no? But, you know, Tiger is probably my idol. I never have an idol, no? But is probably the sportsman who I admire more, no?
Because I like a lot his mentally -- I like a lot his eyes when he's gonna have the important shot. So he is always playing with unbelievable determination in important moments.
The last part of the fourth day, only one guy with unbelievable concentration, unbelievable determination, and big confidence on yourself. Only Tiger can do it something like this, no?
He has two days for lose with the par 5, and both days he had a birdie. You know how tough is -- I know how tough is playing having pain, and the concentration is very difficult have very good concentration when you are, in my case, running or touching the ball and you feel pain.
That's unbelievable win U.S. Open like this, no?

Q. Do you think Roger is more vulnerable on grass this year than previous years?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, a lot. He didn't lose a set on Halle. 59 matches without lose. C'mon.

Q. On the court, you're a very hyperactive person, but you also like to fish, which is a quiet, serene experience. How do you explain that difference in your personality?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I am more hyperactive outside the court than inside. I hate be at home on the sofa watching television, waking up at 11:00 in the morning, because I feel I lose the day.
No, at the same time I am normal, calm guy probably, but always love doing things, no?

Q. Did you catch anything when you fished in Mallorca?
RAFAEL NADAL: Four tunas.

Q. At the end of Queen's you were tired. Do you feel better for your few days in Mallorca?
RAFAEL NADAL: Always is good coming back at home, no, especially if your home is Mallorca.

Q. Maybe it hasn't happened in the long time, maybe when you were a junior, but when you lost very badly to an opponent, how did you feel psychologically the next time you played that same opponent when they beat you very badly?
RAFAEL NADAL: When he beat me easy?

Q. Yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don't know. When he beat me easy, I think I didn't play very good tennis or he played unbelievable, no? You know, when you go on court, you can lose, you can win. But if you lose easy is because you are not prepared mentally.
The next time when I play against him, just try to be very focused all the time and try to play my best.

Q. Did it affect you the next time you played?
RAFAEL NADAL: In what way?

Q. In a good way or a bad way.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always is better when you come back on court if you have one head-to-head 6-0 for you than 0-3.
But, you know, later is a challenge, too, no, beat a guy, one person, no, one player, who your game -- his game is not very easy for you, no?

Q. Apart from watching Spain at Euro2008 and catching tuna, how else will you be spending your time to switch off from the tennis once you walk away from Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: After Wimbledon?

Q. During the tournament, but after you've played a game, how do you spend your evening or your time to allow you to switch off?
RAFAEL NADAL: You never know, no? I have a house here. Easier for everything.

Q. Do you have your friends and family here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope have a lot of time for spend, because if not I going to spend a very good time in Mallorca (smiling).
But, no, I don't have friends here. I have lot of films, PlayStation. I have some books to read. I don't know. You never know.

Q. Probably for you Roland Garros is very important, but how important is it to win this tournament, Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me is important like any other player, no? Everybody wants to play good here and win. I think for everybody is a dream win the tournament in Wimbledon, no?

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