Very good interview where Nadal discusses the differences between him and Federer [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Very good interview where Nadal discusses the differences between him and Federer

Clara Bow
05-31-2006, 07:03 AM
Or should it be "he and Federer?" Translation from Gaby at vr.com.

To counteract the inevitable comments of "doesn't Rafa have his own forum?" I thought that since some of Roger's recent interviews have been posted and since the Rafa/Roger rivalry is the main story in men's tennis today- that posting this on the main board would be appropriate.

Might I say that this interview further exemplifies why I like this kid so much. He seems very grounded and realistic. I really wish that he were more fluent in English because in his Spanish interviews you can tell that he is much brighter than his interviews in English along the lines of "It was a very difficult match, no?" would suggest.


Nadal: "Federer is much more complete and much more elegant than me"
Manel Serras - Paris

EL PAIS - Sports - 30-05-2006

When Rafael Nadal (Manacor, June 3rd 1986) exploded, in 2005, the whole world was conscious that he would be a star on the tennis firmament. He won 11 titles, among them Roland Garros, and he placed himself as world's number two, right after Swiss Roger Federer, whom he's beaten four times in a row, the last time in Rome, where he saved two match points. In Paris, where yesterday he marked on 54 the record of consecutive victories in clay courts, after imposing over Swede Robin Soderling by 6-2, 7-5 and 6-1 -- he was tied at 53 with the argentine Guillermo Vilas--, and his participation in the final is expected. But his successes don't make Nadal lose sight on reality.

Question. How can you be so high up and still keep your feet on the ground?
Answer. I've never been floating high up. Whether I've won or lost, my motto has always been the same: to work every day so things won't twist the wrong way. It's the only way to achieve something.

Q. Last year you won 11 tournaments. You're on that road again...
A. No, no... I'm on a really great road, but not in the road to winning 11 tournaments again. I can't complain. I would've never imagined that, at this point of the year, I'd already have four titles out of seven that I've tried to win and that I'd only lost once on the first round. I think it's incredible.

Q. It's harder to stay there than to get there. Is that your case?
A. Everything's complicated, hard. When one becomes number two, you have to work really hard to defend the points and you play with a lot of pressure. On the other hand, when you're ascending (positions), everything comes really straight-forward. You don't think much. If you're young, your nerves don't oppress you or anything. When you're already up, you are the head of the series. If you know how to use it [the not confronting the best players at the beginning], it's hard to go too far back.

Q. Do you intimidate your rivals even before going into the court?
A. I always go with the intention of giving it a hundred percent. They know that and that helps me. They see me so determined that they get nervous.

Q. Did that help on the Rome final against Federer? You were down 5-3 on the fifth set and you kept on fighting.
A. I did what I always do: fight until the end. When you see someone in front of you that won't give up no matter if you're winning or not, you hesitate. Federer had all the chances to beat me. And I had the luck to avoid him beating me.

Q. Did you think at that point about the record of 53 straight wins on clay courts that you were going to tie?
A. Yes. It wasn't very important for me, but I started to value it as I got closer to beating it. It's hard to achieve that. And, on top of all, against the number one player and in a master series. It's not easy to win a master series. Juan Carlos Ferrero, that got to be number one, has won four; Carlos Moya, three; Lleyton Hewitt, two; Federer, the best player in history, 11.

Q. Do you like the statistics?
A. Yes. I rule myself based on its logic. I'm conscious of how much it takes to win so many straight matches and I'm surprised to have done it. You can always have a bad day. I looked at my results and truly I only suffered a lot in two or three of them. That means that I maintained a great level of focus. When problems arose, I got lucky, but I also was mentally strong.

Q. Do you think about renewing the RG title?
A. One always has the illusion. But the probabilities of winning are slimmer than one thinks. Having won in Montecarlo, Barcelona and Roma helps me because now I can confront Roland Garros with more tranquility, knowing that I've already accumulated many points. If I played a good tournament, and I don't mean winning, some catastrophe should happen in the second half of the year to make me not end at least among the top four by the end of the year.

Q. Do you already visualize a final against Federer?
A. No. I almost never think about the finals until they come. I only worry about my next rival. But there are too many things that you can't control. It would be my wish to play a final against Federer or some other player. But it's too soon to think about that.

Q. Everything seems to indicate that the ‘Nadal-Federer’ battle will mark history. How do you feel about this?
A. When I play against him, I always have the feeling that he's better than me. He plays more aggressive, has more ease on his volley, serves better, and has more resources to attack... I have to play my best and try to hold on as much as I can. My only possibility is to drive him to despair, make him realize that he should win a point plenty of times, that he should do something else that he doesn't do when playing against others, and try to place him in a situation more extreme than those that he's used to. And, then, anything can happen. Up until now I've had the luck to be in a better situation than him or that he's made a mistake when playing a point.

Q. Are you becoming Federer's curse?
A. No. He's a great player on court and an excellent person outside of it. I have a good relationship with him, although for me it's easier because I'm beating him. But he's human. We've seen him throw his racket, get mad when he's about to lose: against Nalbandian, against Almagro; against me, in Montecarlo, when he threw a ball to the sea. He's got attitude. But he's number one. The logic thing is for him to beat me.

Q. What makes you different from him?
A. He's more complete and more elegant than me. He's got every right shot. But he's also older [August 8th 1981] than me. The issue is to try to copy him. When one does it so well, you have to take his techniques as a model and better them. He's also colder and doesn't show his emotions much, especially when he wins. Maybe that's why he's so good. But I like to play with a bit more of blood, showing my feelings more.

Q. You seem prepared to win the Australian Open and even the US Open. What about Wimbledon?
A. I give myself three years to try it. In order to play well there you have to have good feelings with the court, and actually understand playing on grass. On a normal court, in ground, you have to have a really defined way of playing. Not on grass. You have to learn to move better, to run better, to serve better, and to move to the front or to the back..., get used to the sliding balls. I understand concrete and clay. I'm only missing grass. But when I retire, I want to have a clean conscience and know that I've done everything I could in order to play well on grass. It's a special tournament and I always look forward to playing it each year.

Q. You said while receiving your trophy in the Godó Tournament that you thank your parents for yelling at you when you do stuff wrong.
A. When I do things right, I know it. When I do them wrong, there's a lot of people around me that don't have enough guts to tell me so. They don't have the courage to tell me "Eh! Where are you going?". They don't realize that you're an actual person just like everybody else. However, my parents don't really care if I'm number two, or three, or 200. They treat me the same way. And I thank them.

Q. And don't you get mad at them?
A. Evidently, just like every other 19-year-old kid. When they tell me the same thing over and over again, I get annoyed. I'm proud and I can have strong impulses. But I end up realizing that I'm the one mistaken.

Q. Is it true that you've never thrown a racket against the floor?
A. I've never done it. I've always had the temptation several times, but I've always controlled myself just in time. Ever since I was a little kid, my uncle has educated me that way. I don't think I'll change.

Q. How do you control yourself?
A. I get angry very rarely. When playing against Federer, after losing 7-6 in the first set, I got to the tiebreak in the second and he was up 2-1. That's when I missed an easy volley on the net. That's when I was just about to throw my racket. It just was the object closer to me. But I said to myself: "Hold on". Had I thrown it when I was smaller, my uncle would have thrown me off the court.

Q. Have you argued with him? (Uncle Toni)
A. Plenty of times. In my formation phase it was really hard. When I used to go training, I felt almost upset. He always put tons of intensity in the training, always yelled at me a lot, he was always on my case... I guess all of that's helped me to be who I am and to have so much self-control.

Q. Why did he chose to make you play with your left hand when you were about eight or nine years of age?
A. There wasn't any other option. I was playing with both hands both the drive as well as the backhand, and I was even switching hands when going from one hit to the other. He decided that the time of playing with just one hand had come. He chose the left one because I played soccer with my left leg. I accepted because that's what seemed most appropriate for me too. I felt comfortable.

Q. What do you think when your uncle tells you that you're only the best when passing balls over a net?
A. He's a very special person, that thinks a lot and that, if you listen to him, says things that aren't the usual. You just have to do as he says.

Q. Do you feel privileged?
A. It's been hard to get to where I am now. When I was little, my friends went playing after school and I went training. But I've always loved sports: soccer, tennis, golf... that's what made it easier. Yes, I feel a bit privileged for doing what I love to do.

Q. Are your aspirations to have a great car, a huge mansion..?
A. Not at all. I live with my parents, very calm. I have a KIA that my sponsors gave to me because they sponsor me. And a Mercedes that I won in Stuttgart and that is still there. My illusion is to be happy. Have a small boat so that I can go fishing and... Not much more. Not having the best car, or the best computer, nothing of that kind. I don't need those things.

Q. Is your aspiration becoming number one?
A. My main objective is to become a better player and to be happy. Right now I have slim chances of becoming number one because I'm in a time period where I have to play against the best player in history. In any other time period I would already be number one because of all the points that I have. And that makes me very happy. But it's true that someday I'd like to become number one.

Mechlan
05-31-2006, 07:16 AM
Thanks, Clara. Nice interview. I've never seen him be anything but humble and grounded. A difficult person to dislike. ;)

World Beater
05-31-2006, 07:57 AM
It's a nice interview, but I am pretty sure that rafael is much more confident than he comes across here. He isn't going to say "im better than federer", but i am pretty sure he believes he is better. That is the nature of competition, nothing wrong with it.

Surely, he has a better strategy than hoping roger will miss. He isn't revealing anything in this interview, so its hard to make a judgement. But he definately seems like a good kid, and he is great for the game.

Bibberz
05-31-2006, 08:12 AM
Best Rafa interview I’ve ever read. He was extremely forthright. Favorite quote (on playing Federer):

“My only possibility is to drive him to despair, make him realize that he should win a point plenty of times, that he should do something else that he doesn't do when playing against others, and try to place him in a situation more extreme than those that he's used to.”

blosson
05-31-2006, 08:33 AM
Great intelligent answers by Rafa.

Lopaka
05-31-2006, 08:39 AM
Thanks Clara for posting the interview. :worship:

It give added depth to Rafa's apparent maturity. With the humility you also see his inner strength and determination

Jairus
05-31-2006, 09:07 AM
Q. You seem prepared to win the Australian Open and even the US Open. What about Wimbledon?
A. I give myself three years to try it. In order to play well there you have to have good feelings with the court, and actually understand playing on grass. On a normal court, in ground, you have to have a really defined way of playing. Not on grass. You have to learn to move better, to run better, to serve better, and to move to the front or to the back..., get used to the sliding balls. I understand concrete and clay. I'm only missing grass. But when I retire, I want to have a clean conscience and know that I've done everything I could in order to play well on grass. It's a special tournament and I always look forward to playing it each year.

Interesting, very similar to what Americans say about clay, except that Nadal seems to actually have a plan (gimme 3 years).

Halba
05-31-2006, 09:19 AM
yeah thats a much better interview....its better a translated to english interview than a few one liners in english...No?

Hagar
05-31-2006, 09:47 AM
What a wonderful interview. This is one smart kid. He makes a very good analysis of Federer's game.

Mrs. B
05-31-2006, 09:49 AM
Nice interview, thanks for posting, Clara! :)

He seems very humble and has has both feet planted firmly on the ground. i like the 'having a small boat that he can go fishing' part. :cool:

scoobs
05-31-2006, 09:55 AM
What a terrific interview.

He really comes across as amazingly down to earth, level-headed and self-aware. I agree he's probably underplaying his confidence when it comes to Federer a little bit - which is very clever because it contrasts favourably with some of the things Federer says that can be taken as being as a little cocky sometimes given the head to head.

Given how much I want Federer to win the French this year I would really like to be able to demonise this guy right now but damn! he's just too nice! Great guy, we're lucky to have him in the game, and if Feds can't win in this year there isn't a player who I would rather win it in Feds place than Nadal.

yanchr
05-31-2006, 10:30 AM
That's a nice interview.

I still don't think he fully expresses himself especially regarding his position vs Fed's, but I believe he is very clear in his mind, and really have some determination.

oz_boz
05-31-2006, 10:47 AM
Thanks Clara, would have goodrepped you if I were allowed to :). Nadal really comes across as down to earth and impossible to dislike. Very mature and intelligent too. The interview confirms my view of him as more cool-headed than Federer, Nadal being the more Borg-like of them since he can control his negative emotions.

I enjoy Federer's game more. But since Nadal seems more likeable, I cannot onesidedly root for Roger when they clash. And I hope that Nadal will eventually play more agressive, he's really good when he does it (discussed that in another thread already).

connectolove
05-31-2006, 10:58 AM
I think that he is honest when he says that Fed is better, he knows that he has a lot to improve in other surfaces, what he is not saying is that he wants to surpass Fed in the future. So far he is trying to copy Fed and he takes his time and has a plan. Great head.

I think that he is great for the sport and very lucky for having a great family behind him 100%. Almost impossible not to like him unless you envy him.

Conita
05-31-2006, 11:06 AM
Great intelligent answers by Rafa.
:yeah:

lilfairyprincess
05-31-2006, 12:47 PM
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Clara Bow again.
:smash:

thank u for posting this interview...it was an ecellent read and not just like all of the other interviews relating to this topic recently!

FSRteam
05-31-2006, 01:02 PM
Rafa :yeah:

Funny how I dislike his on-court manner and like is off-court manner!

I think that is why most players like him very much which is not the case with hewitt for instance...

This guy is pretty smart, humble and very nice indeed off-court! While when he is jumping, fist-pumping, grinding and shouting his vamos, I think he's just a jerk!

One has to accept the others' ways of playing the game... :)

mandoura
05-31-2006, 01:11 PM
Yes Rafa, Roger is very elegant but, you know what? So are YOU. :hug:

Why would anyone dislike this kid is beyond me. :shrug:

Great interview. Thanks CB. :kiss:

mandoura
05-31-2006, 01:21 PM
Or should it be "he and Federer?"

Or maybe "himself and Federer"? :scratch:

mangoes
05-31-2006, 01:55 PM
Very nice interview. Thanks for posting.

ExpectedWinner
05-31-2006, 03:09 PM
Why would anyone dislike this kid is beyond me. :shrug:


Well, it's beyond me how anyone can dislike (on a personal level) a stranger who has never killed/robbed/*****, etc.,anyone.

On the other hand, any exclusive interview is just a PR product. The quality of the product depends on the skills from both sides. It's very common to sit down and discuss the purpose of the interview- either the image that needs to be created, or the message that needs to be sent.

The bottom line is that real Nadal/Federer/Agassi/Rios/Whoever can be very different from their PR image. Therefore a lot of comments in this thread are a bit naive, to put it mildly.

mallorn
05-31-2006, 03:21 PM
Thanks, Clara, for posting it here. :) I only wish Rafa haters took the time to read it.

I love the bits about his family and especially Toni. Rafa can't be anything but down-to-earth when he's surrounded by such people.

It's a nice interview, but I am pretty sure that rafael is much more confident than he comes across here. He isn't going to say "im better than federer", but i am pretty sure he believes he is better. That is the nature of competition, nothing wrong with it.

Surely, he has a better strategy than hoping roger will miss. He isn't revealing anything in this interview, so its hard to make a judgement. But he definately seems like a good kid, and he is great for the game.
I don't think believing you can win equals believing you're better. Rafa undoubtedly believes (and has said so) that he can beat Roger, but he has never even hinted that he thinks he (Rafa) is the better player. As he says in this interview, his chance of winning is giving it his all and making Roger go for something extra, taking him out of his comfort zone. I think it's the only viable strategy against Roger; I mean what are anybody's chances of outplaying Roger if he's in the comfort zone?

mallorn
05-31-2006, 03:30 PM
Well, it's beyond me how anyone can dislike (on a personal level) a stranger who has never killed/robbed/*****, etc.,anyone.
:yeah:
On the other hand, any exclusive interview is just a PR product. The quality of the product depends on the skills from both sides. It's very common to sit down and discuss the purpose of the interview- either the image that needs to be created, or the message that needs to be sent.

The bottom line is that real Nadal/Federer/Agassi/Rios/Whoever can be very different from their PR image. Therefore a lot of remarks in this thread are a bit naive, to put it mildly.
True, but only to an extent.

These things accumulate. It's not like it's just one interview that we can base our opinion on. Rafa comes across as very modest, down to earth and just thoroughly nice in all his interviews, both printed and recorded. I don't think a jerk could pull it off.

Interviews do give us some insight into people's character. Of course it would be naive to think that we actually know them, but there's no reason to assume they're not nice just because it's possible (as long as there's no evidence whatsoever).

A_Skywalker
05-31-2006, 03:34 PM
Very smart kid ! :worship: , not many people can be so wise at that age !

Carito_90
05-31-2006, 04:14 PM
What an awesome interview. He's such a down to earth kid, it's amusing, really.

Thanks for posting it, Clara. :D

DhammaTiger
05-31-2006, 08:40 PM
Clara thank you very much for posting Rafa's interview. This interview confirms absolutely my impression of Rafa, made when I met him in Stuttgart 2004, and how he responded to the questions my friend was asking him. For anybody to hate him or any other human is beyond my understanding. Vamos Rafa!!

chicky841
06-01-2006, 02:51 AM
Great interview thnk u for posting it. Best Rafa interview ive read so far. Very intelligent answers from Rafa.

Merton
06-01-2006, 04:39 AM
Thanks for the interview Clara :hug: That was an interesting read.

Mimi
06-01-2006, 04:57 AM
the young man nadal is always gracious and speak high of roger even he beat him 4 straight times ;) , i wish some day roger will do the same ;)