Rafa did an interview for Swiss TV.
You can see it here: http://www.videoportal.sf.tv/video?i...d-66332274120a
I translated it for those of you who might be interested.
Steffi Buchli: For our todays ĄSportloungeď talk we stay at the US Open. We had the opportunity to meet the world #1 there last week for an interview. This was an exclusive interview because Rafael Nadal hasnít given any interviews about his private life in the last months. On court we all know a lot of him.
Powerful, aggressive and athletically Ė thatís the game of Rafael Nadal, the world #1. Thatís how his fans love him and thatís how his opponents fear him on the court, also Roger Federer. Nadal made his breakthrough when he was 19 years old in 2005 when he won the French Open for the first time. It was also his first appearance there. 2008 he dethroned Roger Federer, the ďKing of WimbledonĒ. The final went into the history books as best ever final. 41 tournament victories, amongst them 8 Grand Slam titles, and the Olympic Gold Medal belong to Nadalís trophy collection. Every time at his side is his coach Ė his uncle Toni Nadal who is the most important person for him in tennis.
Manacor Ė Rafael Nadalís hometown. Despite his huge success he always likes to return here where he feels at home. Everything has been said about the self-confident tennis player Rafael Nadal. Privately he is very reserved. It is known that he is a huge soccer fan. We got to meet him at the US Open in the playerís garden for one of his rare interviews.
Steffi Buchli: You are a tennis player but nearly become a soccer player. How hard was this decision for you?
Rafa: It was only hard because I had to stop playing soccer. Soccer is my passion. But I had still to study. I couldnít do everything.
It was too much.
Rafa: It was too much for me.
What was the deciding factor that you choose tennis? Did you have more passion for tennis as for soccer?
Rafa: I didnít really have to decide. I played much better tennis as soccer. In tennis I was the #2 on the world amongst the U12 players, in soccer I was only one of many. Soccer is much easier for a child because you play together with friends but in tennis you are alone. Thatís more difficult.
You started on the professional tour when you were 15 years old. How was it for you as a small boy in this tennis circuit?
Rafa: I was indeed very young when I started but I was lucky. There were several players from Spain around on the tour and they helped me. It was important for me to have a huge family of Spanish players on the tour.
Do you still have friends from this time?
Rafa: Sure. When I started Carlos Moya was my best friend. But also Alberto Martin, Albert Costa, Feliciano Lopez. Some of them are still around on the tour. Fernando Verdasco for example. I have a lot of friends on the tour, also from other countries, but because I still donít speak that good English Iím mainly friends with players from Argentina and Spain.
Ah, your English is perfect.
Rafa: No, not perfect.
When you started your Uncle was your coach and he still is. Does it never get boring with him?
Rafa: No. First of all he is my Uncle, then my coach. Our relationship is great. He is a very important person in my career.
It must be a good feeling to have a family member with you around when you travel to foreign countries.
Rafa: Well, thatís important but my Uncle isnít always there when I travel and then someone else is accompanying me. Of course I really appreciate it when someone from my family is with me. I trust my Uncle and when I have a problem I can talk with him.
You were raised in a big family. In a house with your grandparents, Uncles and Aunts and your parents of course. How was it for you to have all these people around you?
Rafa: It wasnít that close as you might imagine. We lived in the same house but in different apartments.
So it wasnít that close.
Rafa: We were for ourselves. Family plays a very important part in my life, thatís always been the case. I have a really good relationship with everyone - grandmother, grandfather. I have many cousins. Itís great to be with them. When Iím back in Mallorca itís always a pleasure to be with my family.
You are still very young. Do you want your own family one day?
Rafa: In the future yes but not now.
You live your whole life in Mallorca. Have you ever thought of living somewhere else?
Rafa: No, I never thought about it. I love Mallorca and I think Iím always going to live there. No chance to live somewhere else.
How is it when you, the #1 tennis player, come back to Mallorca? Do you live in peace there?
Rafa: Yes, for sure. My life there is completely normal. That was always very important for me. When I finished a tournament and come back home my life continues exactly the same. I meet my friends from school and my family. I still live with my family. To come back home to Mallorca is very nice for me.
I have read that you are afraid of darkness and keep the lights on when you are alone at home. Is that true?
Rafa: Yes, that was the case when I was a kid but it gets better when you get older. But when I was a child it was almost impossible for me to be without light.
Did you worked-out in order to get such a biceps in order not to be afraid anymore?
Rafa: No, no, that was not the reason.
Do you like it when people talk about your body and your biceps or are you more bothered because of it?
Rafa: I donít care. Iím a bit shy in these things. I try not to listen to it and just do my job.
So itís not the work-out but your physical game which makes your body?
Rafa: I do a lot of work-out off the court but actually the body looks more natural without weight lifting. I think itís genetic with me but of course you have to do something to have the body in the right condition to do this sport.
Letís talk about one of your hobbies: fishing! When you compare fishing with tennis what is the main difference for you?
Rafa: Itís completely different. I love fishing and love everything which is involved with it like waking up very early, going on a boat and be on the sea. This feeling is always unbelievable.
Which is the biggest fish you ever catched?
Rafa: I donít know. Something like this, but only very few times.
Do you prepare the fish yourself or does someone it for you?
Rafa: Someone else. This is not my specialty.
Let us talk about one of your other passions, about soccer. You are a huge fan of the Spanish team. How was it for you at the World Cup in South Africa?
Rafa: It was incredible what the guys achieved. Whole Spain was on the streets to celebrate this victory. We had lots of chances in the past like in the Quarterfinals but never used them. Soccer has a huge tradition in Spain and is the ďking sportsĒ.
Is this victory comparable with your Wimbledon triumph?
Rafa: Itís difficult to compare the feelings of a team sport with an individual sport. But it was the highlight of the career for every Spanish soccer player. Everyone wants to win the World Cup for their country. It was a dream for them just like it was a dream for me to win in Wimbledon. At the same time it is a similar feeling.
Letís get back to tennis. I heard that you nearly know all of your results.
Rafa: All my results?
Letís say the Wimbledon final 2008. Do you remember it?
Rafa: Yes, of course. You can never forget it.
Letís tell the result.
Rafa: 6:4 6:4 6:7 6:7 9:7 I think.
Do you know the tiebreaks?
Rafa: The first one is easy. 7:3, 7:4?
Rafa: Well, 5:7. The second one I was winning at 6:5, then 7:6, so I lost 9:7.
It was 8:10 actually.
Rafa: I nearly got it.
Letís talk about the last tournament of the season. The Masters Cup in London, one of the few tournaments which you havenít won so far in your career. How important is it for you?
Rafa: Well, I donít really think about how difficult it is for me to win this tournament. It is indoor and against the best players of the world. Itís probably the most difficult tournament for me to win. Itís not really fair that the tournament is played on this kind of surface when you have to qualify for it on grass, clay, hard and on indoor too. And then this tournament is always played indoor. I think thatís angry for many players, not just me. But anyway this tournament is being played and during my whole career I will try everything to win it, but itís going to be very difficult.
Thank you very much for the interview and good luck for your career.