Rafael Nadal (Mallorca, Spain, 1986) speaks with EL ESPAÑOL in an exclusive interview after being eliminated in Australia. In a quiet environment he covers all aspects of his game, the current status of tennis and much more. These are the highlights of the interview that you can read fully by clicking here.
It's a tough loss. I’ve been training a lot more than usual because my body now allows me to do it. When you've worked hard, and you feel that you’ve done everything right, and the match goes in the wrong direction...
I know I've been doing things the right way. The work that I’ve done is well done. Tuesday's loss does not change the reality: I am well and I hope it continues this way from now on. Yes, I had lost in Qatar against Djokovic in the final, but I'm on the right track. I will try to follow a similar work line, and I will try to leave the match against Verdasco behind me.
In any case there are no excuses. I failed to take advantage of what I should have and when the match goes sideways it is impossible to fix. I could have won in the fourth set. I think I did the right things to finish it, but he had an adrenaline rush that lasted until the fifth set.
The loss to Verdasco cannot take my current perspective: I’ve been playing at fairly high level since Beijing. I’ve been playing at a high level regularly in the last few months, at a level that I hope to have. Yesterday’s defeat is a stone in the road of this recent positive streak and I just need to assume it.
We can find many things, but the sport is usually pretty simple. We can make up stories and write whatever you want, but the reality is that I lost a match that I was close to winning.
NEW TENNIS BALLS
It is a fact that the new tennis balls have affected the game. It is so. In the Verdasco match it had no effect, for example. There are different factors causing this. The balls have changed a bit and are now hollower. Balls are less lively. A few years ago, the ball came out very fast of the racket and nowadays they stay longer on the strings.
Things have changed and I have tried to adapt to the change. I'm not playing with as much effect as before, I'm playing in a slightly different way.
I know that what I do is not forever, this has an expiration date and I do not know when it is. So I try to make the most out of it. I want these years I have left to be productive, but especially productive on a personal level.
I have no fear of my expiration date, but that does not mean I don’t like what I do. Therefore, I will try to make my expiration date last for as long as I can.
Success is a very relative thing. A person can be successful externally, that is to succeed in life from a superficial point of view. The real success is personal happiness. If you can have a lot of money, if you get to be the number one in anything that you propose yourself, but if you're really not happy in your personal life...
In the ATP Tour, I have not felt that this ever happens, nor have I seen it, and no one in my life has contacted me, nor I have information that this happens. (…). People who have researched all of that, which I neither criticize nor accused, have to release the actual names. You cannot say Grand Slam champions might be involved and leave it at that. What are we talking about? Individual matches? WTA? Doubles? Mixed? The first thing should be to make clear what it is that we are talking about. And then, in the last 10 years there have been six or seven Grand Slam winners. I say it clearly: in our circuit it is impossible for any Grand Slam winner to have rigged matches.
The solution to all of this is for the ATP to seek who’s involved and punish them accordingly. We have to have rigorous controls so this situations do not occur so that our spectators, partners, peers and people in general don’t feel betrayed.
Talent is something that people confuse. Talent is not play pretty or hit the ball very hard. One will have talent to play nice, another one will have talent to not miss hits when the ball comes around, another one to make very good backhands and another person might have talent to be a good athlete. In tennis, and in any sport, the ultimate goal is to win. The summary is clear: the one with the most talent wins more frequently.