World No. 1 Rafael Nadal had a personal best showing at this past week’s ATP World Tour Finals in London, coming just one set short of the title on Sunday in his loss to Roger Federer. He had some interesting things to say after the match about his (non) rivalry with Roger Federer, his search for “calm” this season and his busy, working holidays. Visit Ubitennis for more from Rafa’s presser, including his breakdown of the key moments of his season.
Q. Could you give us your thoughts on today’s final.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he played unbelievable. I think in the beginning was unplayable I think this first set. I still having chances in the second, and the beginning of the third, so‑so.
But, anyway, my thought is he played better than me, he beat me. I just can congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him. He played unbelievable during all the week without losing a set, being in the final. So his level was very high.
I try my best this afternoon, but he was better than me.
Q. Yesterday almost nobody believed that you were tired, because you’re never tired, but today you seemed to be tired. You were a little slow. Did you feel that in your legs, apart from Federer playing well, or not?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is not the right moment to talk about that. The thing is everybody saw the match of yesterday, so everybody’s free to think his own opinion.
But I don’t gonna say I lost the match because I was tired. What I gonna say and what I feel is I lost the match because I played against a very good Roger Federer in one of his favorite surfaces. And when he’s playing like this, is very difficult to stop him, no?
I had little bit chances. I was there, but wasn’t enough.
Q. On what level did you find it difficult or the most difficult, most demanding, to play against Roger today? Was it on the physical, tactical, or mental level?
RAFAEL NADAL: He played very aggressive. He played great. His serve was good, with good percentage outside in the important moments, wide in the deuce. The forehand was unbelievable. And he was playing really well with the backhand, too, no?
Was difficult to play because he played very close to the baseline, going to the net. He tried to don’t play very long points from the baseline, no? He’s trying to play inside and play very aggressive. He did well, no? So everything. Roger is probably the more complete player of the world.
When he’s playing well, is difficult to find solutions. But for the moment, I found it. I am happy about my match of this afternoon if we think about the global conditions. Was very difficult final for me. I still won a set. So in general I’m very happy about this afternoon.
But I am more happy about all the week. Was a fantastic week for me. Four top‑8 players in the same week in a difficult surface for me. So I think never happen that in the past. So that’s very good new for me.
Q. How has your rivalry and your relationship with Roger changed over the years?
RAFAEL NADAL: All the time? Another time you want to know?
I think everybody knows about our relationship, no? We have a great relationship all the time, no? Our relationship didn’t change a lot since the beginning because was all the time very respectful. The only way the relationship can improve is being closer and closer because we spend more time together, always being in the council, being on court, playing exhibitions together.
Right now we going to have these exhibitions in December, one in Zurich for his foundation, one in Madrid for my foundation.
So I think is not a rivalry. We were playing lot of important moments together. So I think that’s makes something like (speaking in Spanish).
THE MODERATOR: All these moments in tennis makes you appreciate it more.
RAFAEL NADAL: We never had any problem in all of our careers. So being a lot of hours on court, a lot of tension moments, never had a problem. I think that’s not easy. That says that we always had a really good relationship, no?
Q. Can you tell us what you’ll be doing over the next three or four weeks until you play those charity matches.
RAFAEL NADAL: This week I gonna work with the sponsors. I have to do some TV spots. So I have to work almost every day, tomorrow till next Monday. So that’s going to be my holidays (laughter).
After that, practice. I gonna start to practice next Monday. Practice as good as I can to be ready for January. That’s what I gonna try, try to repeat the same like last year, that I practiced all well in December and I arrived to the beginning of the season with very high level, but without calm to don’t win in a long time.
My opinion now, if I arrive with the same level like last year in the beginning of the season, the situation can change, because the calm going to be there after this probably more emotional and good season of my career, no?