27th GERRY WEBER OPEN 2019 June 15th to 23rd 2019

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Interview with Rafael Nadal

How frustrating is it to play the first match on grass against an opponent, who doesn’t give you any rhythm at all?
Rafael Nadal: I told you yesterday that it is the worst draw possible against a player like this. It’s very difficult to talk about the match because I don’t know what to say. I didn’t play. My opponent always served over 200, first and second. So, that can happen on this surface if you find an opponent like this. But I don’t want to talk about the opponent. At the end, I can do a bit more with my serve, it’s not something that I didn’t practice a lot these days because I had a back problem in Roland Garros. So, I played with infiltration there most of the days. I tried but the serve was not good enough. At the same time he changed the dynamic completely. For four games he really didn’t put many returns on the court and then suddenly he was playing winners from the return. So, it’s difficult to analyse these kind of matches. The only thing I can do is keep working the way I did the last three days I was here. I tried hard, I tried my best. I was unlucky with the draw because at the end this match has zero value for preparing Wimbledon because I really didn’t find not one feeling. I didn’t play one point. So, that makes the match negative in a way because I lost, that’s the first negative thing. In the end, when you lose and you can think positive I really had a chance to play points, to have a rhythm. This was not the case. So, I’m very sad for me. I’m sad for the tournament because at the end they put the confidence on me to be here. But at the same time the only thing I can say is that I tried. I tried my best and it was not possible.
So what is your plan now? Are you going back to Mallorca to train on a fast court?
Rafael Nadal: I will go back to Mallorca. I’m not sure if I’m going to play. I don’t think so. I didn’t stop playing tennis for one day for the last month. So, probably I will take two or three days off. I will fly to Wimbledon Wednesday early morning and play and practice a few days there. I don’t know if I’m going to have one match or not before, an exhibition maybe in London. I don’t know. I didn’t make it but you never know. I will try to work hard and I will try to rest a little bit and I will try to be ready for the next one.
Are you looking forward to the next year when the grass court season is a bit longer so you can take maybe one week off after Roland Garros? Would that help you?
Rafael Nadal: All depends on the results on clay. But it’s obvious that if you arrive to the last rounds of Roland Garros the transition is aggressive. It’s true I was playing in Queens few years before and for me it’s more difficult here. The grass here is faster. The grass is a little bit more humid here than there. That makes the transition even more difficult for me. That’s it. I cannot say many more things. I feel that I need to keep working hard and we’ll see.
The back problems are they from the Australian Open or was there some accident before the final in Paris?
Rafael Nadal: No, before the final I was better. I am better by the way. I don’t have a very bad feeling but I still feel the back a little bit. It’s something similar I had at the Australian Open. I have a little bit of an oedema in the bone in the back. So, that creates me some problems. And I felt that during Roland Garros in the first round, especially in the second round it was worse. But it’s true that after the second round I was improving. Today is not the worst day but I feel that I need to improve, I need to rest a little bit. I need to improve a little bit to try to play well in Wimbledon. The serve here is deciding.
Does it bother you for the service?
Rafael Nadal: Yes, a little bit. It’s a little bit more dangerous for me to change the directions. It’s difficult to create all the power with the back.
In Wimbledon you have done really well. You have reached five consecutive finals till 2011. In the last two years you lost very early. How much is actually due to some physical problems and will it actually affect your confidence playing on that surface?
Rafael Nadal: I was able to play very well on grass in the past. But I always say the same. To play well on grass the most important thing is to play matches. You need to play with confidence, you need to play with determination, you need to adjust. The only way to adjust is by playing matches and winning matches. 2012 I don’t count like a loss. I was total injured from my knee. I didn’t play anything for seven month. Last year I tried. I was not well enough. And this year, talking about my knee, I’m much better than last year. I lost today because the rival was playing better than me. And at the same time, I said yesterday that everybody, who knows about this sport knows how difficult the transition is from clay to grass in only a few days and especially when you arrive a little bit tired, when you arrive not 100% and can’t work 100% every day. But I tried my best. I thought that I will have the possibility to not play bad. But actually I didn’t have a possibility to play.
Will you be making some changes to your game and your strategy to play differently on grass?
Rafael Nadal: You can see, you can check on the videos. That’s obvious. That’s nothing new. You always try to play more aggressive on hard and on grass. That’s nothing new for me. I started playing on grass in 2003.
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