November 13, 2006
J. BLAKE/R. Nadal
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Do you expect that result when you came to see Tiger Woods this morning?
THE MODERATOR: He didn't go this morning. He went yesterday.
Q. Yesterday, did you expect that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know is when I was visiting the golf, I wasn't think about today, no, I was thinking about the golf.
But today I know is a difficult match against James. I lost. I was losing the last two times. I know I can lose today, and I lose.
Q. So sorry you lost today, Rafa. Have you realized that James is the only one that holds the winning head-to-head record against you? Have you realized this record?
RAFAEL NADAL: We have more players with positive record against me. But, well, is one of the more difficult players.
But today the problem is not this one maybe, no? I was playing very good. I feel very good on court. I have break up in the first set for 4-3, playing very good tennis. Maybe he play a good game there because I was playing too good. I was losing the game Love-40 and I come back to deuce. I play very good points. And after, he play good points, too. I have my chance, but I can't convert.
In the second I was winning -- in the second I was winning 4-0, 4-1, 30-0. I can win the game for 5-1 and after that all change, no?
James play very good points, very aggressive some points in the decisive moments, important moments. But, well, if you are winning two breaks up and 5-4, for third time and serving for the second set, you cannot lose the set, no?
Q. James has a bit of a reputation of not being able to hold his nerves in a situation where he would have been down 4-Love. Were you surprised how he was able to come back, because he was surprised a little bit, I think?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? When you are winning 4-0, you are thinking about you have a big chance for win the set, no? I was thinking if I am playing normal, I gonna win the set.
And he play good. He come back well. He play very good points. But, well, if you are winning 4-1 and two breaks, you have to -- you are dominating the second set and the normal you win the set, no?
Q. Given that you did not play for a few weeks before coming into the tournament and that you were injured, were you happy with the way you played your tennis today?
RAFAEL NADAL: I said before, no, I play very good tennis today. I said that before. I am happy with my game. The problem is not my game because I was playing very good with my forehand. I have a good passing shots. The same like a long time last year. So I feel comfortable on court. I feel playing good. I have very good feelings.
But in the important moments I lost my confidence, so that's decisive on the game, no? But I am playing well. I lose against Blake 6-4, 7-6. He is one of the best players in the world on this surface. I have a lot, a lot of chances for win the match. I don't know if I win the match. But for win the first, for win the second, for win the second three times.
That's it: If you are not convert -- if you are not with confidence in the moments of win the games, in the important points, you gonna lose because you are playing against the best players of the world.
Q. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that you didn't play a lot since the last week? You were missing competition, that you lose rhythm of competition.
RAFAEL NADAL: When you are playing a lot of tournaments, when you are playing often, you feel more comfortable on court always, no, because you are playing more games, more matches, more important moments. When you don't play a lot of tournaments, you have problems sometimes, no? But I don't have the best of luck in the important moments, no, in Madrid, no, in US Open, no here.
So you need think about that, why, why is happening that. You need try to improve in these moments, because the problem is not the game, is not the good game, bad game, because I am playing very good. That's it. Because I have chance in all tournaments, in quarterfinals in US Open, quarterfinals Madrid. I don't win the match, and I was playing good all times. And the problem is not the tennis. So the problem is a little bit confidence. Win one of the matches all change, no? So I hope win the next after tomorrow.
Q. You still have so many fans here. Yesterday I was talking with my friends about your perfect muscles. Has anyone told you that you have the muscles which look like popcorn?
RAFAEL NADAL: Si, okay. So what?
Q. How do you feel about your muscles?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Smiling). What can I say now? What answer you want? I feel normal like always. I don't look in the...
THE MODERATOR: He doesn't look in the mirror.
Q. So you are very good at many kinds of sports - of course tennis and football. I want to ask you whether you have some sports you not good at, you're poor in?
RAFAEL NADAL: A lot. A lot. Maybe when I was a little bit younger I was playing good football, too, but now I lost all. Basket, bad, too. Golf, well, bad. But I can practice a lot, because if I practice, I gonna play very good. But I am not. I just play tennis now. Fishing isn't a sport? Snorkeling, like this, is not a sport. Maybe I'm just playing tennis now.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about Tiger Woods. You went and met him yesterday. What is this about all the tennis players? We also saw David Nalbandian there. What is this recent bonding between tennis players and golfers? Can you shed some light on it. What did you talk to Tiger about?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I love the golf. I always look Tiger on the TV. For me, he is an idol because he play always very good important moments. He has unbelievable mentality. So for me, that's very difficult. Is very nice.
Was very nice for me know him. He was playing the last round yesterday. He can win, and he come after one shot, he come to me and say, "Hello, Rafa. I am Tiger." And after four holes, hole 13 maybe - I don't know exactly - but he come, he play the drive, and after when the other guys was playing his first shot, he come to me and speak a little bit with me. He's very nice. Was very good experience for me, no?
Q. Federer was awarded the trophy, the cup, today, and also we interviewed the former No. 1, Michael Chang. As the youngest star in the tennis world, how do you see the generations of different stars emerging and then declining? What's your plan, your own plan, for your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I saw Federer, his third time consecutive the No. 1. He's the best now. That's the truth. And, well, my plans on my career, I don't know, no? I plan now is improve my tennis. Always I have big illusion for improve my tennis. I always say the same, but that's the truth.
Well, I want to finish good this tournament, and after I gonna practice a lot, I gonna practice very hard for the next year. So that's my illusion now.
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