Rafael Nadal plays Richard Gasquet in a tough first round match at the US Open. If you’re nervous about Rafa’s chances, his comments from today’s press conference should make you feel better:
Q. How are your knees feeling? How are you more generally physically? Are there any other problems you’re dealing with?
RAFAEL NADAL: Hopefully not, no. The knees are perfect right now, my feeling. I think everything is okay, so I don’t have any problem.
Q. How tough has it been psychologically for you to deal with what you’ve dealt with the last couple of months?
RAFAEL NADAL: Psychologically for me now, I am perfect. After important stop, came back with more energy than ever, no. Probably I need few time to be ready, to get the rhythm, to play your best tennis, but the energy and the illusion is 100%.
Q. Have you changed your workout routine at all? Have you slowed down because of the knees? Work less, shorter hours?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. When you come back after an injury, you start slow always. You have to be progression, but later I am like normal right now. Yesterday I practice two hours and a half. Today I practice two hours. I am feeling really well.
Q. Is it a bit of a psychological advantage to be a bit of an underdog here because of the injury? Less is expected so you can be more relaxed. Is there anything to that line of thinking?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t know why, no? I think I am perfect, no? I am relaxed to be here another year and to try my best another time.
Q. Can you say you are 100% well, feeling well, for this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am 100% well to play this tournament, yeah. (laughter.) I don’t know if I am playing at my best level, but I am 100%. You want me 100%? Me too.
In terms of Gasquet’s troubles, spending months off the tour dealing with allegations of cocaine use, Rafa is unequivocally supportive. . .and maybe a touch paranoid, no?
Q. You showed a lot of support for Gasquet when he was suspended. He says he appreciates that very much from you. Can you talk about the reason, what went through your mind? You showed so much support for him.
RAFAEL NADAL: The true is I support him a lot. First thing, because I believe in him. Second thing, because I think he’s a very nice guy. I know him since 13 years old or 12 years old. I talk with him what happen. He told me he didn’t take nothing. So I believe him 100%, and I think you know, it is open. I don’t want to speak a lot about that and a lot of history is out about when I speak about that, but it’s not 100% perfect sometime. If someone wants to kill you, somebody can kill you, you know? And you didn’t do nothing. That’s the true, no? That’s my feeling what happened with Richard, and of course they say that, no? He won. In the beginning, it was three years, and then it was three years because he didn’t take nothing. So I’m very happy for that, and I am sure a lot of players are very happy for Richard.
Uhhhh. . .translation, please?