TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 4th of June. R. Nadal d. D. Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1. An interview with Rafael Nadal
Q. The match changed totally after the first two sets. How did you see it, and what did you see make it change so fast?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think at the beginning David was playing with a higher intensity than me. Is true that I started first two points playing well, but then I make a lot of mistakes with my backhand. Amazing with how much mistakes I had with my backhand today.
Difficult to understand, because last two days I was practicing the best that I practiced since a long time ago in terms of feeling with my forehand, with my backhand.
I went on court relaxed. Not relaxed thinking that I’m going to win, but relaxed thinking I’m going to play well. I really felt the ball better than probably during the whole year.
So I don’t know. Windy day, too. I get a little bit block mentally with my backhand, and was a little bit difficult for me to change the dynamic of the match.
I needed to hit more forehands to change that dynamic, and I was not able to do it in the first set. I was hitting the backhand that bad that I couldn’t put David away from a good position and then let him play in not a good position I had the chance to hit with my forehand, no?
Then when I was hitting my forehand I tried to go too much for the points in the first set, because I know if I hit, he has that option to play against my backhand and then he will have that advantage again.
So it was tough the first set mentally. I decide to go more inside to return in the second set, and I decided to play much more times with my forehand.
I did, I think: When I did, I think the dynamic of the match changed. Even if the match was close in the second, even if he had some break points to break back to me, the dynamic was better for me I thought in that moment of the match.
I was able to make that change. That’s important and very positive.
And then after the second set, I don’t know, I think David play with more mistakes than usual, and I continue playing with my forehand.
Is true after that second set I relaxed and I was hitting the backhand probably not perfect, not as I would like to do, because as I told you before my feeling before the match was unbelievable with the shots but I was playing with no mistakes.
So that was very important.
Q. At some point you won like 10 games in a row. Was the fact that it was getting darker maybe helping you think that you want to be more aggressive and play faster and try to finish it tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: Would be real arrogance if I said yes to that. When you play a match of quarterfinals of Roland Garros against a big player like David Ferrer, you think about point by point and try to be an advantage.
But not winning faster because can finish the day. No, no, no, you can think that when you are 4 1 in the fourth. No, not when you are 2 0 in the third, because you know how tough is David. You have to take your own time.
Q. Mats Wilander said he was very impressed with the way Andy was playing on clay. He described him as a tactic genius, and he’s a threat to all the top players.Are you impressed as well about the way he’s playing on clay, or…
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I’m not impressed the way he’s playing on clay. I am not answering in a bad way. I’m saying in a good way. He can play very well on all the surfaces. It’s nothing new that he plays very well on clay.
I always say he’s able to play well on all surfaces if I really wants to do it. Is not the first time he’s in semifinals of Roland Garros.
I remember amazing match in semifinals against Novak when Novak was playing unbelievable in 2011, and he was very close to beat him. And it was on clay.
No, no, not surprised Andy is in semifinals. He’s a candidate to win Roland Garros. Before the tournament he was a candidate to win Roland Garros for me, so it’s not a surprise.
Q. David said he made many mistakes during the match. I would like to know if you are satisfied with your match.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, during these past two days I practiced a lot. I think that I managed to hit the balls a lot better, a lot better than in the past year, so I felt good really before I stepped in onto the court.
But then at the beginning of the match my backhand was appalling. I made so many mistakes with my backhand; therefore, I tried with my forehand, doing more with my forehand, but I was making mistakes.
But then on my backhand my shots were not long enough, not deep enough, not across the court, so I had to try and use my forehand; therefore, this was the battle.
The battle for me was with my backhand to try and overcome this endless spiral I was trapped in to at last have a good forehand shot. When the balls were high and deep, I couldn’t play on my backhand. This is what happened throughout the first set.
No, I couldn’t manage with my backhand. I thought, Play more with your forehand. Then, during the second set, I managed to do this. During the first one, I couldn’t.
Then I decided to turn around the ball, to hit the ball with my forehand quite often. I was surprised to see that I couldn’t play my backhand shots, even though I practiced and I was feeling the ball really well before the match.
Well, this is what I remember from the match. My memories are awful. So at the end of the day, I am rather happy to have been able to turn the situation around. I managed to pull through. Even though it was complicated, I managed to find solutions during the second set.
Then at the end of the match I think he made many more mistakes. I changed the rhythm of the match. I played more on his forehand; therefore, I got more shots on my forehand.
This is a turnaround as well, because my back was not really hurting today. It was okay. I didn’t put too much stress on my back.
At the beginning, I really wanted to be very careful with my backhand shots. At the same time, I didn’t want to hit too strongly because I wanted to protect my back.
You know, he was returning the points flat on my backhand, deep and flat. That was a problem for me. Then when I managed to react it was a lot better.
When I improved with my forehand I took control. I made fewer mistakes. This is what I was saying in English before. I was saying, now, given the last two sets, the third and the fourth set, it really shows that David didn’t really play well during these sets.
The score shows that I played well, but also he made mistakes.
Q. Now, what about these eight hours when you had to wait for the match to start? How did you experience this? Last year this match was a final. What about this one?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, we were in the locker rooms with Carlos, Albert, Toni, and we were enjoying ourselves. But I was a bit surprised I was not to be playing on the central court. I think I would have liked to play on the central court a lot better than the Suzanne Lenglen Court.
There were probably reasons, which of course I understand. But to be frank, I wanted to play on the central court.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status
The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.
The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.
However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.
Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.
“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.
The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
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