Indian Wells, California

March 9 - 22, 2020

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Rafael Nadal – Friday, March 15, 2019

by BNP Paribas Open

R. NADAL/K. Khachanov
7-6, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Seemed like you were struggling a little bit out there. How did you kind of find a way to fight through that?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am used to play with some issues, so I just tried to be focused until then, no? And to keep holding the situation. Yeah. Yeah, it’s one of these victories today that I am really proud of.

Q. You get asked about it a lot, obviously, but the matchup with Roger is pretty special. What sets it apart? What are the qualities, the contrasts that you guys have that make it such a special rivalry?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, main thing is all the things that we shared in our careers. That makes always the matches really special.

And of course then, yeah, different styles, different ways to understand the sport. And at the same time, two players with a good relationship after all the things that we went through in our careers, competing for the most important things.

Yeah, all these things makes the match always really special between us and is beautiful to have the chance to keep competing at the highest level in advanced rounds, in the most important events at that late part of our tennis career.

So that’s something really special and just happy to be part of it.

Q. Are you sure you’re going to be able to play tomorrow?

RAFAEL NADAL: Hopefully. It’s difficult for me to answer, but anything that I can answer, you can put it in a negative way.

Nobody can guarantee anything about what can happen the next day because, in this world, anything can happen. But of course my goal and my idea is be ready for tomorrow. Then happened what happened on court, so I cannot guarantee how I gonna wake up tomorrow morning.

Q. It’s going to be the 39th time that you’re playing against Roger tomorrow. Do you approach it differently when you’re playing Roger Federer than any other opponent? Do you view it as a special matchup the way that fans do?

RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, if I don’t see this match special is because I don’t love this sport and I don’t appreciate the story of this sport. So is not my case. Of course it’s a special match.

But, yes, at the end of the day is another tennis match, no? It’s not that we are playing chess tomorrow (smiling). It’s still a tennis match. Even if it’s between us, even if it’s more special than any other match, still a tennis match and the goal always is the same: Go on court and play at the highest level possible.

Q. Have you had pain or discomfort in that right knee earlier this week in Indian Wells?


Q. First time, today?

RAFAEL NADAL: (Nodding.)

Q. With social media you have a lot of opportunity to tell your own story the way you want. Do you see social media as being positive or more negative?

RAFAEL NADAL: Depends how to use it. Sometimes the social media can be very positive, and sometimes can be very negative. Because when you are in a table having dinner and you are eight people and you see six people with the phones checking the social media, then become negative. That’s my feeling.

You have all the information about immediately about what’s happening around the world, but then you miss other information that’s what’s happening in front of you.

That’s my personal feeling. You know, I am not from this generation. I am a little bit older. So I appreciate it. For me, of course it’s mandatory to have social media because is part of my life, and I cannot go against this world and I will not. And it’s good to be in touch with the fans and that’s one of these positive things.

But at the same time, I am not this kind of guy that I am, you know, checking my phone to check the Twitter, to check Instagram, or Facebook all the time. No, not me.

Q. Next week the Miami tournament moves to a new venue. What are you going to miss about Key Biscayne when they relocate next week?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is always tough when you change events that are part of the history of our sport. Is always a strange feeling. Key Biscayne has been a charismatic event in our sport for a very, very long time.

So for my point of view, it’s a sad feeling.

Q. You will be playing in an NFL stadium. What do you think that atmosphere will be like?

RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot tell you, because I didn’t play yet. I will let you know if I go to Miami.

Q. You said on court through your whole career you have had to deal with these issues, injuries and things like that, that keep cropping up. When another one happens, what goes through your mind? Is it just frustration, Oh, no, not another one? Can you explain that at all?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, but maybe is not the right day (smiling) being in the middle of a tournament.

You know, if I go on court tomorrow, if I lose tomorrow or if I win tomorrow and I play the final, after the final I will be more than happy to answer this question. If you understand that you can ask me this again after my tennis tournament, I will answer that completely normal, and I will give you my point of view.

Q. Can you try to explain why you seem to prefer faster surfaces at this stage of your career than slower, and has this developed later on in your career?

RAFAEL NADAL: What I prefer is play well, more than faster or slower or this kind of stuff.

No, what I prefer is play well. Because when I’m playing well, I had success in all the surfaces. No, it’s not about the surface. It’s about the way that I am playing.

I think I don’t have to demonstrate myself today where I can play well or not. Because when I was playing well, I played well everywhere. And I was playing bad, I played bad everywhere. Is tennis.

And I tell you, at the beginning of my career probably have been a different story, but today not. I had success all around in all type of surfaces, and I have defeats and bad moments in all the surfaces, too.

So it’s just about your personal moment and is about if you are able to adapt your game to that situation in that particular moment.

Q. Is the issue really just the hard courts? Are you feeling problems elsewhere these days with the body and the knee as much?

RAFAEL NADAL: Probably is more than 1,100 matches on tour more than any surface. The thing is if I say now something against surface, looks like I am always talking negative when I am in troubles, no?

Something that I said a lot of times when I was younger, earlier stage of my career, is true that if you check all around the world and which kind of surfaces the other sports are competing at the highest level, is difficult to find a surface that hard like the surface that we play tennis and with the aggressive movements that we have in this surface.

And I love to play on hard, but probably my body don’t love it that much. Less as I love. And my feeling is there is a lot of players that love to play on hard, true, but their bodies don’t love to play on hard, either.

So when I say that, I am not talking about, because sometimes people can say or can think that when I say that, it’s about thinking about the personal benefit on saying this, to play more on clay or this kind of stuff. Not at all. I say that knowing that will not affect at all what I say in my career. The tour will not change.

But in my opinion, will be better if, in a couple of years, maybe 15 or 20, doesn’t matter, we find a solution to play on a softer surfaces for the bodies. It’s not about only during the tennis careers that I am worried. It’s about after your tennis career that you are still a human person and you still want to have a normal life at the age of 35, 32, 31, or 38 when you retire and playing in this kind of surfaces. I see this a little bit more difficult.

Q. For sure, I think the only counter-argument is you see Roger playing until he’s 37. You’re 32. Guys are playing longer. Your points are well taken but the fact is, players’ careers are holding up. So it’s interesting.

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is not about we play longer or shorter. It’s about if you check all the injuries that players have during their careers. It’s not only about how long a couple of players are able to hold and play. It’s about how many hip injuries, how many hip surgeries you have all around the tour, how many problems with the knee, how many problems with the joints in general, ankles.

Yeah, and is not, as I say before, is not only about today. Is about tomorrow. Maybe we gonna pay the price at the age of 45 or something like this. That will be not nice. And when I see some old legends walking around the tour, is tough to see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2019-03-16 00:04:00 GMT

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