Sunday, 29 January 2012

Rafael Nadal - Post Final Press Conference

Q.  How are you feeling physically? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Fine.  No, I'm tired, sure.  Physically was the toughest match I ever played, if not the tougher.  I am tired.  

Q.  Has this sunk in, the results, the magnitude of the match? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Can you repeat?  

Q.  Has the results sunk in yet?  How do you feel mentally as well as physically? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Yes.  No, no, no, nothing to do on that, no?  Just accept.  

I think we played a great tennis match.  It was I think a very good show, my opinion.  I enjoyed being part of this event and this match.  That's the true, no?  

I wanted to win, but I am happy about how I did.  I had my chances against the best player of the world today.  I played one against one.  For a long time I didn't felt that I was playing in less advantage than him, you know.  

I didn't play at lower level than him for a long time, so that's a very positive thing for me.  I am very happy about my mentality tonight, the mentality worked like in my best moments.  

So very happy about the beginning of the 2012 season.  That's all that I can say.  

Yeah, I had big chance for the 52, yes.  I had that easy passing shot with the backhand.  I miss it, yes, but I was 43 Love40 in the fourth, too.  Anything can happen when the match is there.  

Important thing for me, during all 2011 I didn't play much like this.  I'm happy I am in the real right way. 

Q.  If the day before the championship someone would say you would play a fivehour53minute match in the final, would you have been completely surprised that you could even compete? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, seriously, 20 hours before the tournament start for me I was more worried and try to play the first round, try to play the tournament, because I had a really strange thing, as you know, the Sunday afternoon. 

So that's past.  I was lucky.  Recovery was fantastic.  I had very good people around me here working for me, doctor, physio, so that helps a lot, no?  

If you are alone here, you don't have this team around, is impossible to recover that.  But I am lucky that I have all of this team around me.  Without them, probably I gonna be at home two weeks earlier, no?  

So very happy for everything.  Very happy with my level during both weeks.  Is the moment when I realize the whole tournament did I well.  I did a lot of very positive things, much more than in 2011 for the most of the time.  

I played more aggressive.  I played with more winners than ever.  My serve worked well.  The mentality and the passion was there another time better than probably never another time.  

So that's very positive aspects on whole game that I am very happy, no?  So I just lost the final of a Grand Slam.  I am not happy to lose the final, yes, but that's one of the loses that I am more happy in my career. 

Q.  Did you feel at any time in the fifth set the match was in your control?  Given that he had to play so long against Murray a couple nights ago, were you surprised that he could stay with you that long? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  I didn't have any doubt that he would be ready for that, no?  But the match under control when you're in the fifth set, when you won the fourth like this, you don't feel the match under control in that moment.  You are worried in every point, no?  

Well, with the 42 was advantage because I felt very well physically in the moment.  I felt with very positive energy, and I played a fantastic first point of the 42 with the forehand winner down the line after he had that return.  

Is something unbelievable how he returns, no?  His return probably is one of the best of the history.  That's my opinion, no?  I never played against a player who's able to return like this.  Almost every time.  

It's true I had big mistake with 3015.  But it's not moment to think about that.  That's another just moment in an almost sixhours match.  Forget about that knowing that I really had real, very real chances to have the title and to win against a player who I lost six times last year.  

But I didn't.  I never put him in this situation during 2011, all 2011, so that's another positive thing for me.  I didn't have mental problems today against him.  I had in 2011 all these mental problems.  Today I didn't have.  I compete with normal conditions against him, no?  

So that's another positive thing.  Probably never say that many positive things after I lose.  (Laughter.) 

Q.  You always said that Roger is the greatest that ever played the game.  How great now is Novak? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Now he's the best of the world.  That's how great it is.  Five Grand Slams, so the history says that he has a part in the history today winning five Grand Slams, winning a lot of titles, No. 1 of the world. 

We'll see where he arrives. 

Q.  You have been a part of two of the real epic battles in tennis history, this and the 2008 Wimbledon final.  Is that something that you're proud of or a reason why you think you...  

RAFAEL NADAL:  A pleasure.  That's means that I did a lot of things well to compete against best players of the world and winning on them, losing on them, but always having tough matches.  And final 2008 Wimbledon and this one was very special. 

For me it was a little bit more special the 2008 (smiling).  But I really understand that was a really special match, and probably a match that gonna be in my mind not because I lost, no, because the way that we played.  

So that's happy be part of these two great matches, my opinion. 

Q.  Where does that rate?  How tough was that?  Was that the toughest match?  Toughest game you have been involved in?  Where does it rank? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  I think it's the longest one that I played ever. 

Q.  Are you going to watch it again on videotape? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Too long.  (Laughter.)  Highlights only.  

Q.  When you're in that match, did you ever look at the clock?  Did you ever look at the clock during the match, at the time? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  The time?  No, you watch, you look around and you see the watch, five hours, four hours, three hours, finally five hours, 30.  Seems like never gonna finish, no?  

But that's nice be there fighting, you know, trying to go to the limit, bring your body to the limit of his chances.  Something I really enjoy, and I always said is good suffer, enjoy  enjoy suffering, no?  
So when you are fit, when you are, you know, with passion for the game, when you are ready to compete, you are able to suffer and enjoy suffering, no?  

I don't know if I express very well, but is something that maybe you understand.  So today I had this feeling, and is a really good one.  I enjoyed.  I suffered during the match, but I enjoyed all the troubles that I had during all the match.  

I enjoyed.  I tried to be there, to find solutions all the time.  I played a lot with my heart.  I played a lot with my mind, and is something that is nice to be around and not just play tennis. 

Rafael Nadal - So Close Today

Oh man, I am knackered after just watching that match never mind playing it.

I feel so much for Rafa right now.  He fought, gave it everything he had and it was not enough.  I am sure I am not alone in thinking that he had the match won when he broke in the 5th set.  I was just waiting for Rafa to hold serve a few more times and that would be it, Australian Open #2.  But no, Novak found the energy from somewhere and snatched the victory away.

Comparing the final today against those of 2011 gives me hope for Rafa.  No doubt this is going to hurt, I am sure he is very downhearted right now in the locker room but he needs to look at the match, maybe in a few days.  Look at all the positives.  He was certainly more aggressive at certain points during the match.  He has pushed Novak like no one has done before.  He has improved a hell of a lot from the defeats of 2011 and he can be very proud of his match today.  I strongly believe that he will get that win over Novak this year, don't know when but it will come.  When it does the game is going to get very interesting.

Until that time Rafa, have a good month off, relax, don't let this get you down too much.  Prepare well for Indian Wells and remember that we are all with you.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Rafael Nadal - Semi Final Wrap-up

Press Conference

Q. Congratulations. How do you think you have succeeded to turn this match around tonight?

RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you very much. Well, I think he started playing aggressive, very, very high level at the beginning of the match.

Always you can do a little bit more, no? But I really felt that when he plays like this, it's almost impossible to rise there to that level, no?

But after the first three games I started to have the chance to hit balls, to play with a little bit with my rhythm, so I started to hit a few good forehands so I felt that the point stays.

So before one shot winner, another shot winner, so almost impossible for me, no?

After that moment I felt that the level start to be closer and closer. I had the break in the 42, and for the rest of the set I think anything can happen.

I felt at the end of the first set that my level was there, close to him. For moments I felt dominant at the end of the first set. That gives me confidence.

You know, finally I lost the set, but even the first game of the second that he had the break he was playing with the wind in his favor, so he played fantastic game, first game of the second.

But that moment was a little bit more calm, because in just the first game of the second set I felt that I had chances on my returned, too. So was very important to have break back in the next game.

But in general, after that I think I started to play aggressive. I started to play my game finally. I had the chance to move him a little bit more. Open the court from his forehand after changing to his backhand.

I didn't play as I played hundreds of times against him. I didn't play all the time against his backhand like I did a lot of times.

Today I think I played more normal match, playing in his backhand, playing in his forehand, too.

I really wanted to do that before the match, because I felt that in the last match against him in London he played very aggressive with his backhand, so he was very inside the court. Was very difficult for me to find, you know, spaces to move him, no?

Even the final of Roland Garros, the same. He played more aggressive with his backhand. On clay is different. You have more time.

But today went on court with the idea change a little bit more the direction against him, and in my opinion it worked well. Because I think he was a little bit tired.

Q. When you're in a match like that and he has started so well, can you draw on your experience to having beaten him now so many times in Grand Slam matches? Can that be an inspiration for you even when he's playing well?

RAFAEL NADAL: Any moment is different, and what happened in the past is past. Last match against him was 63, 6-0 in 50 minutes.

Q. That's not a Grand Slam.

RAFAEL NADAL: Not Grand Slam, different conditions. What give me more calm is I play best of five. I play not indoor. I play outdoors. That's always a little bit more advantage for me, because when you play indoor, when you play best of three, he plays aggressive. Is very difficult to come back when he start like this, no?

Playing best of five outdoor, you normally have more time to do things and to try to find solutions and on the problem that he's causing, no?

So in general, I am happy about how I did. I think I played a good match with some mistakes, as usual. But I tried to play aggressive with my forehand, trying to hit winners with my forehand.

I did for moments. For moments I had few mistakes with the backhand. But I am trying with the backhand to not go behind the baseline, to stay in the baseline, to hit the ball earlier than before.

That's something that I am working on and something that we believe that I have to keep improving, to don't lose court, to play more inside. It's working well.

I a, very happy about my result on these two weeks. I did much better than what I thought, what I dreamed for three weeks ago. So very happy for everything. It's a fantastic victory for me. Very, very happy playing against the greatest of the history in semifinals, big match on Rod Laver.

It's one of the victories that's gonna stay in my mind forever, no? It's a fantastic way to start the season. Very happy for everything. He deserves to be there because, in my opinion, he was a little bit unlucky for the last year and a half in a few matches.

He was a little bit unlucky in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon; a little bit in the semifinals on the US Open. So he had the chance to win more Grand Slams the last year and a half, and he lost a few matches that he really had chances to win.

Today he had his chances, too. So the match was close. Anything can happen there. I won.

Q. You celebrated like it was a final. Did it feel like that to you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. Didn't feel like that. I feel like semifinals match of Grand Slam. That's a very important match for me. Start the season with the final here is a fantastic start, and that's give me a lot of confidence. That's give me a lot of calm. At the same time, that's give me confidence about how I working.

You know, I working in few things that are working well. With nothing of practice, just thinking a little bit about what we have to do to be better player. I really didn't had the chance to practice a lot. I practiced one week and a half in Mallorca.

Seriously, Doha was a very important tournament for me. Qatar I think I played very, very well there, because I arrived without preparation. Play four matches there was decisive to my preparation for Melbourne, no?

So was a very important tournament. And for the rest, just these kind of matches actually better like this, because I played not bad the second half of the season in 2011. Not bad, but not very well.

So I really need to win points to stay in the top positions of the ranking. Because the final of the US Open give me calm, yes. But for the rest I had a few struggling results in Masters 1000.

That's a lot of points for me. It's a fantastic way to start the season.

Q. I guess the question is whether or not you feel like you're playing aggressive enough with the forehand and more inside the court with the backhand and feeling calm enough if you have to play Novak this time to get over on him again.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I happy about how I am doing. Any time to do this during all the match, as I am doing for moments for moments I am playing a little bit like before  but when I am able to play inside, to play aggressive, I think the things are working fantastic.

I don't know if it's gonna be enough against Novak or against Andy. But what can I say? I'm very happy about my tournament. I gonna try my best to try to play a fantastic final, and hopefully I will have my chances.

But if the opponents play better than me and he beat me, I gonna go home very happy about my tournament. I gonna go home knowing that the way that I am working is working very well, and keep working on this way. Probably this way give me a good success in the next months.

Q. You said when you were interviewed on the court that if you were told before the tournament that you had made the final you would not believe it. Is that because of the injuries you have had or what?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I explained before the tournament. I explained that after my match on the first round of Monday, not what happened the Sunday before on my knee, something very strange.

But that's why, because Sunday afternoon, 24 hours to play my first match, I was in my room crying because I believe I didn't had the chance to play Melbourne.

So it was a very, very tough situation for me, these hours. Two weeks later I am here in the finals, so is a dream for me because having very bad expectations 24 hours before the first match, and now two weeks later I am playing well. I am in the final.

Always play Grand Slam final is very good news. I played last four Grand Slams I have been in the finals, so is a great effort, I think.

Q. How is that knee feeling?

RAFAEL NADAL: I am feeling great. No problems.

Q. Do you think having the extra days to recover on the final will be a big advantage for you? Having the extra day advantage for the final? Your opponent plays tomorrow night.

RAFAEL NADAL: I am fine physically. I believe that they are strong. They are feeling very well, very fit, so not gonna be decisive, no?

When happens like the US Open that you play the day before, yes, because if you have five hours match, four hours 30 match, next day you can be destroyed physically, no?

But one day in the middle, if it's not something very, very crazy, you will not have problems. I had that four hours 30 match two nights ago. I was in perfect condition today.

So you can have a tougher match, yes, but four hours and a half is a lot. The recovery is very good, and they don't have problems on that, no?

If you play a match like I played in 2009 against Verdasco semifinals, maybe yes, you can have a little bit troubles for the final. But that's something not usual.

Q. Roger says he has the impression that you play your best tennis against him. Do you have that impression, as well?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think sometimes. London I didn't play my best tennis. I play my best tennis against him when I am ready to play my best tennis. I don't play my best tennis because it's Roger in front. I play my best tennis because I am ready to play my best tennis.

That's what I can say. Normally when I play against Roger it's because I am playing my best tennis because I always was in a finals or was in a very important matches, and having a good confidence because I have won a lot of matches before.

It's true I played a lot of good matches against him during my career, so is something fantastic. But I believe that he played a few fantastic matches against me too during his career, during our rivalry, no?

So I enjoy playing against him. It's always a special feeling because our matches always have been special, and especially today after a lot of ones, a lot of important moments for our careers.

So our relationship always have always been in a very positive way. So for all of this facts our matches are special, no?

I think hopefully we will repeat soon.

Q. Would you rather play Andy in the final than Novak?

RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer the player who gonna play worse that day. (Laughter.)

That's what I can say, no?

Q. What are your thoughts on the other semis, and how closely will you watch that match having in mind Andy changed his coach and Djokovic had so much success against you last year?

RAFAEL NADAL: Both players are top players, very, very high level.

The level of tennis of both players is fantastic, so gonna be a fantastic tennis match tomorrow. I gonna watch the match, because it's gonna be a fantastic show, my opinion.

Both are playing very well. Novak has the advantage that he won the last two Grand Slams. He's No. 1 of the world. He's coming with big confidence.

But Andy is doing really well. Only lost one set at the first match of the tournament. After that, he won all the matches you cannot say easy, because nothing is easy but with very comfortable result.

So when you win with a comfortable result, it is because you are playing well. That's true. So both players gonna have chances. The player who will play better tomorrow gonna be the winner.

Match Report

Rafael Nadal reached his fourth consecutive grand slam final after overcoming an early Roger Federer onslaught to again beat his old foe at the Australian Open.
Federer came out firing but Nadal gradually wore him down to clinch a 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 win in three hours and 42 minutes and secure his place in Sunday's title decider against Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray.
Federer versus Nadal remains one of sport's great rivalries and this was another classic - both players slugging it out until Nadal broke crucially for a 5-4 fourth-set lead before serving it out.

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He's done it: Rafael Nadal lets out a roar as he celebrates beating Roger Federer
He's done it: Rafael Nadal lets out a roar as he celebrates beating Roger Federer
In the first three games, Federer was simply brilliant. A routine hold was followed by a break, set up by two thundering backhands. And when he opened the third game with a stop volley and a drop shot it was a sign the confidence was flowing.
Nadal was simply trying to stay with him and he did well to stem the tide with two holds.
Mr Muscle: Rafael Nadal fires one straight back at Roger Federer
Mr Muscle: Rafael Nadal fires one straight back at Roger Federer
The world No 2 was then gifted a way back into the set when Federer unexpectedly shanked three routine groundstrokes to relinquish his serve.
The set went to a tie-break which the Swiss claimed with a solitary mini-break.
The pair traded breaks at the start of the second before Nadal upped the tempo by racing to 0-40 at 3-2 and, although Federer applied the pressure by getting it back to 30-40, a sublime cross-court winner from Nadal, played from five yards wide of the tramline, restored his advantage.
The 10-time grand slam winner held for 5-2 before the match was suspended for 10 minutes for a nearby firework display to celebrate Australia Day. And when they returned Federer's game deserted him.
Fireworks: The Australia Day celebrations light up the Melbourne sky during the thrilling semi-final clash
Fireworks: The Australia Day celebrations light up the Melbourne sky during the thrilling semi-final clash
Nadal broke again to take the set and then held his own serve to love. And when he raced to 0-40 on the Federer serve, the Spaniard had won 11 successive points since the resumption.
Federer, though, refused to buckle and dragged it back to deuce before making it 1-1. And the Swiss remained on the front foot by breaking only to toss the advantage away again as Nadal hit back for 4-4.
Federer had to save a set point at 5-6 - a booming serve and a winning forehand doing the trick - but Nadal seized the initiative in the second breaker by racing to 6-1.
Gutted: A dejected Roger Federer walks off court after his defeat
Gutted: A dejected Roger Federer walks off court after his defeat
The four-time Melbourne champion dragged it back to 6-5 but Nadal was not to be denied.
If the first three sets were good, the level moved up a notch in the fourth with both players flat out.

And it was Nadal who continued to offer the greater threat as Federer had to stave off break points in the third and fifth games to keep it on serve.
Never give up: Rafael Nadal chases down another one against Roger Federer
Never give up: Rafael Nadal chases down another one against Roger Federer
The Swiss was next to threaten as the momentum swung one way and then the other. But he missed a backhand pass by the narrowest of margins on break point as Nadal held on.
It proved a crucial moment as Nadal grabbed the break in the next game, Federer thrashing a backhand wide.
Even then the drama was not over as Federer bravely attempted one last time to stay in it.
Having saved one match point as a Nadal pass missed by inches, he set up a break point for 5-5.

Go Dad: Roger Federer's twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva watch him in action
Go Dad: Roger Federer's twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva watch him in action
And he must have thought he had it when a Nadal groundstroke sat up invitingly off the top of the net.
He powered a forehand deep and came in only for a desperate Nadal lob at full stretch to land on the back half of the baseline. Federer's ensuing sliced smash was wide.
He set up another break point but could only net a backhand and it was to prove his last chance as Nadal served it out.

Working up a sweat: Rogerer Federer swaps his top
Working up a sweat: Rogerer Federer swaps his top
Thirsty work: Rafael Nadal takes some water
Thirsty work: Rafael Nadal takes some water

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Rafael Nadal - Second Aussie Open Final

Tough match today, very tough but he came through in 4.

Horrible start to go down 1-4 but he fought and he got it back to 4-4. No more breaks so we went to a tie break. Roger the much better player in the breaker and he took it 7-5.

Second set saw a mixed start with breaks traded in the first two games. A fantastic FH cross court shot from Rafa during game six was rewarded with a was a massive leap into the air and a VAMOSSSS. A lovely tight BH down the line sealed the break for Rafa to lead 4-2. There was a break in play due to the Australia Day fireworks but Rafa managed to keep his concentration and broke once again to take the set 6-2.

Again we went to a tie break in the third but this time is was Rafa's to win it even though he managed to make it more difficult after facing into a lead.

I stopped making notes during the fourth set but all you really need to know is that Rafa won it :-) and took the match in 4.

Novak or Murray awaits in the final on Sunday. Who do you want Rafa to play?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Rafael Nadal - A Little Wobble

But he got there in the end.

It did not look good after the first set and Rafa had to fight hard but finally after four sets and over four hours on court Rafa made it to the Semi Final where he will face Roger Federer.

Match Report

In the night session at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday, Rafael Nadal had to rally past Tomas Berdych 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3 in a four hour and 16 minute battle.

“I think the level of the third and fourth set for me was very, very high, top level for myself playing on these courts,” said Nadal. “Very happy about how I finished the match. I think I finished playing at very, very high level.”... Full Story Here

Match Photos

Press Conference

Q.  The level of play tonight was quite exceptional.  How did you manage to turn the match around, do you think?

RAFAEL NADAL:  At the beginning wasn't exceptional for me.

Q.  For him maybe?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Maybe, but I think the level of the third and fourth set for me was very, very high, top level for myself playing on these courts.  Very happy about how I finished the match.  I think I finished playing at very, very high level.

The first set especially I felt that I started the match too nervous, no?  I wasn't able to hit the ball long.  My movements weren't enough strong, enough fast.

It's true is difficult against a player like him, because you don't have chances on return.  He hit the ball very, very hard and very flat.  Very difficult to find the rhythm.

But I had to do it a little bit earlier, no?  I was a little bit unlucky at the end of the first set.  I was lucky with the 5‑4.  I saved that three points, four set points.  But I was unlucky with the 5‑All, because I believe that ball was out.

The umpire was right.  I didn't discuss with the umpire his decision, because I know that if we had the rule book and we read how the rule is, he's right.

But I am not happy.  They are there to make something, not just to call 15‑All or 15‑30 all the match.  That's the only thing I'm unhappy about.

The rest, I know he's right.  I came back to the middle.  But, you know, is natural act, because in the 5‑All, seriously I saw the ball out, and I believed that the line called something.  For sure wasn't like this, but that is what I believe at that moment and I stopped.

But anyway, very happy with anything.  Semifinals is fantastic result for me.  Start the season with semifinals in the first big tournament of the season is very good news.

The level is very positive, much, much better than the end of the season.  The character on court, the way to win the points, everything was much more positive, so I'm very happy.

Q.  With Novak being No. 1 and now when you play Roger it's 2 versus 3, is it still as special as it ever was for you to play Roger?

RAFAEL NADAL:  The numbers are important, No. 1 and No. 2, No. 3, No. 4.  The ranking is important, but when we talk about a player who won 16 Grand Slams and I won 10 and we played a lot of matches between each other and all ones, in very important moments for our careers and very high moments.

So the match is special.  I don't know how many we played, but the most were finals or a few semifinals in a Masters Cup.

But for everything, for what represents the match, all the matches against him are special and will be special even if we are 20 against 25.

Q.  Five hours and 40 minutes with Verdasco, four and 16 minutes with Berdych, but two different matches.  One celebration tonight; the other more rhythm.  Which was hard are for you?  Which one was more tiring?  Is it more difficult for you to recover now or not?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I want to believe that was harder in 2009, but I am three years older.

Q.  That's why I'm asking.

RAFAEL NADAL:  No 2009 matches; 2009 was much harder.  Was harder, I believe.  After the match I really couldn't move next day.  I hope tomorrow I will be able to practice with normal conditions, but not perfect condition, but I will be able to practice.

2009, the day after, I wasn't able to practice.  That's important.

Q.  Why were you nervous in the first two sets against a guy you had won nine matches in a row against?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Every match is completely different, and every situation is completely different, too, no?
I was nervous because he was playing well.  I thought that I didn't put enough balls in when I was returning, so I only had a break point in that second game, so ‑‑ two break points.

For the rest, I felt it was really important match for me, because quarters to semis is a big chance.  You start with very good feeling the season.  You know, quarterfinals is not a bad result, but at the same time is not a good one, no?

Semifinals is a good one.  Is start of season being in the four best of the first important tournament of the season.  So is very good way to start the season.

That's why maybe I start the season a little bit nervous, and that's human.  That's what it is.  But the attitude was positive, because was the right one to overcome the situation.

I did, and finally I think I finished the match playing at one of my best ‑‑ fourth set was one of my best levels on this kind of surface, returning inside the court, making a lot of winners from with the first ball, the return, having serve, and winner.

So that's something that I really miss a little bit, especially second part of the season last year.  The first part of the season was positive, but winning with a different way, not that way.

So most important thing too is the character.  How I acted on court was completely the right one tonight.  For moments at the second half of the season last year wasn't.  Was not the perfect one.  Today was the perfect one.

Q.  I would guess that you probably against Roger are going to have to play how you played in the third and fourth sets rather than the first and second, because maybe he won't give you a chance to come back in the match.

RAFAEL NADAL:  I will try my best from the beginning.  I tried my best from the beginning tonight.
Sometimes the things didn't work as good as you would like, but that's the sport.  I will try from the beginning if happens the same than tonight.

So I will keep fighting with positive attitude, and the normal thing is lose.  But if I play like the third or fourth set, hopefully I will have my, you know, my chances.

Always playing in these kind of surfaces he's the favorite.  His level is fantastic, and he won today a fantastic match against one of the best players of the world, Del Potro.  So he's doing very, very well.  Did he lose a set yet?

Q.  No.

RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  So he's doing well and he's playing fantastic and he had a fantastic end of the season last year.  So he's coming with confidence.  It will be a very, very difficult match for me, and I will try.
But for me, the most important thing I had the calm.  The feeling of the level of my game during all the tournament was really satisfying.  Even if I lose, I come back home with very positive feeling about how I played, and for sure the result is good.

For me, semifinals after two years with troubles, injuries, is, you know, I must be happy for that.

Q.  The last eight times you've played Roger in a Grand Slam final you've won six of those.  Does that fill you with confidence going into the next match?

RAFAEL NADAL:  No.  I prefer that, but, no, every match is different, and I know I will be on court playing against probably the best of the history, playing well him.

So obviously my only way and my only chance to win is play aggressive, play very well, and to play to a limit.  That's what I gonna try.

Q.  Still Rafa, to play best of five seems an advantage for you, to be honest.  I mean, you won the last four times you've played against him, best‑of‑five sets, and he's 30 years old.  Okay, great class, great talent, we know it.  But physically normally you're stronger, or no?

RAFAEL NADAL:  If happens the same than in the Masters Cup three months ago the physical performance doesn't affect.  (Laughter.)  Hopefully will never repeat.

If the match stays strong and the physical performance affects on the result, hopefully that's gonna be a little bit advantage for me or not, because he's very fit.

He never had the physical problems.  No injuries, no problems.  Very good, you know.

Q.  Just on that point about the umpire's decision in the tiebreak, do you think that Hawk‑Eye has stopped umpiring as they used to?  They're a little bit concerned about making decisions because they know they have the camera?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I like the Hawk‑Eye.  I like the idea.  But, yes.  I agree with you.  I think, you know, that with the Hawk‑Eye the umpires have much less pressure than before.

Carlos is a fantastic umpire, one of the best on tour.  But for everybody the work when now is match is much easier.  They don't feel the pressure than before, because at the end, if you want to stop, you stop.
So that's why sometimes I miss more overrule.  Because happen before I had to stop one point.  One ball was clear out, and another ball there.  You can see like this.  I had to ask the Hawk‑Eye, because remain more overrules on the umpires.  That's my feeling.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Rafael Nadal - Swats Aside Feli

No love lost today on court as Rafa put fellow Spaniard to the sword.  Can't say I have much time for Felicity, woeful underachiever plus he beat Big Johnny so I am glad he is gone.

As for Rafa, a few wobbles and testing service games but he would not be Rafa without those :-)  The knee was well strapped up today but hopefully that, like other times, is just for protection.

Almagro or Berdych awaits in the Quarter Final, they are currently on court at one set all.

Match Photos

Match Report

Rafael Nadal continued his dominance of Spanish compatriot Feliciano Lopez to ease into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Sunday.
The world number two had not dropped a set in their four previous hard court meetings and maintained that record with a 6-4 6-4 6-2 success on Rod Laver Arena....Read more Here

Rafael Nadal - Lovely Close Up Practice Photos

Mmmmmmmmm, very nice :-)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Rafael Nadal - Round 2 Presser

Sorry for the delay, I got caught up in all the 5 set drama's.

Q.  Was that the perfect kind of match for you?  Because you played well, but you got tested by a good player and you get through in straight sets.  

RAFAEL NADAL:  I don't know if it's the perfect match, but I won in three sets.  I started match playing fantastic, especially the first seven games. 

So everybody arrives late because they thought that I am late, no?  (Laughter.) 

THE MODERATOR:  I'm so sorry.  

RAFAEL NADAL:  I usually am very late, so they know that.  

Q.  Were you worried when Tommy had the... 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Sure, when he had the break point at 54 with the first set?  Yes.  No, I had a mistake with the 52, big mistake with one forehand in one deuce.  

I was a little bit unlucky at that game with the 54.  I had 30love.  After I had breakpoint again, but I was lucky that I had two aces in a row.  And a third one in the set point, Tommy had the fantastic serve, too, and forehand winner. 

So I end the set well.  I started the second set very well another time.  Second set was, I can say, comfortable for me, because I had the break at the beginning.  I didn't suffer a lot with my serve, and I had the second break with the 53.  

So it's important, the break, I had a very bad game in the beginning of the third.  After that, you know, the set is in trouble.  If you don't have the break back next game, you will be fighting all the set to try to come back, no?  Finally I did.  

I think he played well.  He played aggressive.  He played with very good second serves.  For a moments his first serve was really difficult to read.  

Yeah, I think he played well.  My way has to be the seven first games of the match. 

Q.  How do you feel your game is at the moment?  

RAFAEL NADAL:  I really practiced well.  I had very good preparation in my opinion.  I practiced very well.  I won already two matches in straight sets with positive feeling.  I am well. 

You never know.  (Smiling.)  We are in the first week, and, you know, every match will be difficult.  Next one will be not be an exception. 

Q.  How is the knee today? 

RAFAEL NADAL:  Very good. 

Q.  Federer has the next day off.  Would you like to have the same?  He doesn't play because his adversary is out.  

RAFAEL NADAL:  Walkover. 

Q.  Would you like to have the same?  

RAFAEL NADAL:  Before the day start, yes.  Now I played and I win, no, I'm happy.  (Laughter.) 

Q.  Is it good to have a tough match like that early on?  

RAFAEL NADAL:  For me?  

Q.  Uhhuh.  

RAFAEL NADAL:  Good like... 

Q.  Like today.  

RAFAEL NADAL:  Sorry, but I'm not agree.  Tough match is when you play five sets.  When you play three sets  every match is tough.  I cannot say I won easy; for sure not. 

You cannot expect win easy against nobody, and especially against Tommy Haas.  He's fantastic player.  That to say, happy to have this strong match early on; I not agree on that.  

Was a positive match, but not that very strong, demanding.  We didn't play four hours and a half, five hours.  Three sets, so wasn't that tough, thinking that all the matches is tough. 

Rafael Nadal - Round 2 Match Photos & Reports

Match Report

Rafael Nadal followed Roger Federer into round three of the Australian Open with an impressive 6-4 6-3 6-4 defeat of German veteran Tommy Haas.

Haas, 33 and twice a semi-finalist in Melbourne, has seen his career derailed by injury in recent years, but showed flashes of the play which saw him rise to number two in the rankings 10 years ago.... More here

Match Photos

Rafael Nadal - Pushed Hard

But came through in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 6-4.

A very good fight from the oldest and one of the nicest players on tour in Tommy Haas.

It looks like a routine match at the start when Rafa raced into a 4-0 lead but Tommy dug deep and got it back to 4-5 and even had a chance to level but Rafa held his nerve. The 2nd set was more confortable but Tommy wasn't finished yet. He then decided to take a lead in the 3rd set though he couldn't hold on. Rafa then took control and took the match in straights.

Certainly a very good workout for Rafa. I don't like players having easy rides and I have always believed that Rafa needs to be pushed for us to get the best out of him.

He now moves on to Round 3 and a match against either Lacko or Young, who are currently on court.

Reports / Photos to follow.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Rafael Nadal - Round 1 Presser

Q. Could you give us a little sense of how the courts are playing here this year. Are they a little slower than last year, perhaps?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I don't have this feeling, especially when probably the practice week, the week before, yes. But for the weather conditions, the weather was, you know, cold, humid, was cloudy all day. That makes the ball slower, and that's makes the ball much bigger.

Today start the good weather. Good hot over there, and the ball went faster from the racquet. The weather makes a lot of changes on the conditions especially on the ball.

Q. Was it perhaps because of the weather that you felt you needed a bit more strapping on your leg, extra protection?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, that's not the reason, no? I gonna do because I think, you know, doing this band there, I don't want to create mystery or nothing. I gonna say what happened.

I had a fantastic week of practice with nothing of pain, no one bad feeling on the knee and no one place on my body. So I was really, really happy with everything.

But yesterday afternoon happened the more strange thing ever happen to me. I was sitting on a chair in the hotel. I felt like a crack on the knee, but is nothing really strange. Happens lot of time with articulation, movement, articulation. Nothing strange.

I stand up. I felt the knee a little bit strange. I moved the leg like this two times to try to find the feeling. After the second time, the knee stays with an unbelievable pain completely straight. I really couldn't move the knee like this (indicating just a little bit). I have no movement on the knee.

I have a hard afternoon. I did all the tests. Came here for ultrasound. Went to hospital for MRI. I just can say thank you very much to the tournament for all the facilities give to me on a Sunday. Not easy to find places, and they make fantastic work for me. So I just can say thanks to them.

And, seriously, yesterday during the evening I wasn't hundred percent sure I would have chance to play, because with the movement of that knee I felt that I will not be able to play.

I did a lot of treatment. The MRI was positive. Nothing wrong shows the MRI. So that's always a lot of calm. But still the knee, you know, with the pain.

Finally what happened is with the movement, articulation, probably pinch maybe the tendon little bit or something that put the tendon completely straight.

That's why yesterday we did a lot of work during the evening. At the end of the night with a lot of pain, but I finally really had the full movement of the knee. I wake up today morning with a little bit better feeling. I did all the treatment. I was all the day doing the treatment.

I started the match with a little bit of scare at the beginning, and nervous because I was really disappointed yesterday. But, you know, after the first 10 games that was scare, I started to play with normal conditions.

The best thing is I felt the knee very well. So is something that I really don't understand why happened everything, but I am really happy that today I was ready to play and I played a fantastic match.

Q. What sort of treatment did you get on your knee?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is really strange, because you can have feeling like this, because you have bad movement, aggressive movement playing. Nothing like that happened. So I did a lot of physiotherapy with my physio trying to relax everything. Antiinflammatories, a lot. Local antiinflammatories. Everything. Tried to, you know, take the pain out.

Q. As usual, hard courts are a very punishing surface to play tennis.

RAFAEL NADAL: But that wasn't the case.

Q. I'm just saying, to play seven matches potentially on a hard court in two weeks is asking a lot, or that should be okay as long as you feel the way you feel?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry, but I have good hopes. You can have an injury playing an aggressive movement. But sitting on a chair, you cannot have injury. So that's why I really keep not understand what's going on.

But I understand when the knee comes back to the right place, you know, and we are able to relax that. So I was much more scared about the first match than the rest, because today now I have 48 hours to the next match.

So I am really confident that having the worst feeling that I ever had in my knee yesterday and today was able to play. I have fantastic hope that gonna happen the same for after tomorrow.

Q. Have you had a chance to speak to Roger, following your comments yesterday, regarding the problems on the tour?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. But, anyway, probably yesterday what I said I said. Probably I am wrong telling that to you, especially because these things can stay, must stay in the locker room.

I always had fantastic relationship with Roger. I still have fantastic relationship with Roger. That's what should be, in my opinion. Don't create crazy histories about what I said yesterday, please.

Just I said, because, you know, we can have different views about how the tour need to work. That's all.

Q. Did the top four players get together on Sunday after the players' meeting on Saturday?


Q. Do you plan to speak to Roger soon to try to explain what you meant yesterday, maybe to apologize?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. You know, what I said I said. I feel sorry for say that, especially to you. Because when I say that, I have to say him personally. But that's it. Forget.

I do not talk anymore. During the two weeks, you can try very hard to asking me a lot of things. Yesterday, you know, I started, and I say I don't want to talk anymore about this. Finally I talked to much as usual. That's not gonna happen again.

I advise all of you. You can try hard, but I gonna talk about tennis. If I am here two weeks, if I am here two days, I gonna have less work.

THE MODERATOR: Any more questions?

RAFAEL NADAL: After that... You are only interested in that, not the tennis (smiling).

Rafael Nadal - Open Drive 2012

After helping launch the "Drive" last week it seemed only fitting that Rafa should be one of the first player to be featured.

Rafael Nadal - In A Hurry Today

Very routine, very good.  Only the loss of 6 games is a very good way to ease into a major.  Court time was quick too at just over 90 minutes.

Only concern is of course the strapping on the right knee but I hope that was just a precaution measure.  We know the history but I have not heard about any new issue with the knee.  Maybe the question will be asked in the press conference.  Fingers crossed for the next match.


Match Photos: