Rafael Nadal - January 12, 2008
Australian Open Pre Tournament Interview
Q. How you feeling physically ahead of the Australian Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: Perfect, no? Physical is no one problem, so I am very happy about that.
Q. Chennai seemed to be quite a demanding week for you with that long semifinal. Been no problems with that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Was only tired, no? Was terrible semifinal, no? Four hours match. Well, I only have less than 24 hours for recover. I go to sleep late because I finish the match late. Was tough to recover.
So Michael play good tennis and he beat me very easy.
Q. What do you think of the courts, the new courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't see too much difference. My opinion. I don't know.
Q. You have a chance to take the No. 1 ranking. Is that a focus for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is not a real chance; not yet.
Q. Do you feel like you're better prepared for Melbourne than you have been ever before in terms of having played here now over the last few years, gained a bit more experience?
RAFAEL NADAL: 2005 I played very well, no? I have big chance for go to quarterfinals. I lost against Hewitt. Last year probably was worst year. I play bad tennis.
This year I am arriving well, practicing well, and I had some matches in Chennai. So I hope will be fine for Monday.
Q. Are you feeling confident?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I am. I say, no? I practice very well, very good the week before. In Chennai, I play some tough matches. It's important to win like semifinals. Is always important match for confidence.
Well, is first important tournament of the season. Well, always is new. Is not always new, but seems like new every year, no? Well, gonna be interesting. I gonna try my best, no? I think I am prepared.
Q. What is your expectation for this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Play good. That's my expectation.
Q. Do you think Roger's illness, the fact he hasn't played any competitive matches, will be a benefit for the rest of the men's competition here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I will tell you in two weeks.
Q. It certainly doesn't hurt the competition, though, does it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Depends, no? Because if Roger play one match, two matches, that's enough for him, no? Normally maybe he don't have a lot of problems in the first rounds, so he can get the rhythm in these first two rounds. And later, that's fine.
Q. Last year I remember you played a very exciting match against Andy Murray, a five set match. You perhaps have seen that he won in Doha. Do you think he may have the sort of year that Djokovic had last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, we will see, no? I think is not good speak about that for him. For him, too, no?
Well, he start the season very well. My opinion, if he last year don't have the injury, maybe he gonna be in Shanghai for last year. He wasn't in Shanghai. Disappointing for him, he has important injury in Hamburg.
I think he gonna have his chances for have unbelievable year, no? But is early to speak about that, no? I think he has everything for be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 of the world.
Q. What did you do in December?
RAFAEL NADAL: Practice, a lot. Too much (laughter).
Q. Training, too? Hitting balls? Playing sets?
RAFAEL NADAL: 8:30 to 9:30 physical performance. 9:30 to 1 tennis. 3 to 5 tennis. 6 to 7:15 physical, and after I sleep. I always go to sleep at 1:00 in the morning, something like this. I don't know, this year in December, at 10:30 I was in the sofa watching the TV only five minutes, later sleeping every time, every day.
Q. Did you get any chance over Christmas to have a little bit of time off, to just relax as a normal person?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I spend the Christmas with the family, dinner. Well, after the family dinner, I go out a little bit with the friends. Well, a little bit more than a little bit (smiling). The next day is day off, holiday.
Q. As far as the draw goes, are you happy with it? It looks like you could play Moya?
RAFAEL NADAL: Who is playing against Carlos Moya?
Q. That could potentially happen in the quarterfinals.
RAFAEL NADAL: I would love to be in fourth round against Moya, no? I am focused about first round now.
Always is the same. You always ask me the same and I always answer the same.
Q. Is there any aspect of your game that you've worked on in December that you feel like you needed to improve to take that next step?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think in one month is impossible to improve a lot. That's my opinion. But in one month you can work for continuing improve during the competition, no? You have to improve, not new things, well, for example, if you are going to volley more than before, well, you can volley very good in the practice, but for improve you have to do in the match, no? That's an example. I don't gonna be serve and volley right now (smiling).
Q. Is there anything that you can do in the December month to prepare for the conditions here, for the heat?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in Mallorca the weather is not the same for sure in December, no? Was tough year in December. Some days terrible cold. But I practice a lot, no? I practice hard. So week before I was in Chennai. It's hot. Similar like this. A little bit more humid. That's good preparation. And I arrive here Tuesday night, so I have some days for adapt.
Q. Do you like it to be hot? Do you prefer if they keep the roof open when it's hot?
RAFAEL NADAL: Today is perfect. Two days ago, too much. 42 degrees is too much. I practiced.
Q. Is 40 degrees in Mallorca completely different?
RAFAEL NADAL: Mallorca, it's not 40 degrees.
Q. Not 40 ever?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I was in the players, not lounge, but when we were having lunch outside, because inside was no table two days ago, I think. Yeah, two days ago. In Mallorca, that's never happening, something like this. If you have cover, not in the sun, always a little bit fresh air anyway if is the summer.
But here, it's terrible.