PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
March 19, 2008
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Did you think at all about the match in Melbourne
during this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. 100% not, no? It's always a
different match and normal match. In Melbourne, he played at
an unbelievable level. I didn't play my best, for sure,
But the ball and the court is a little bit different here,
no? The ball is getting a lot topspin, so much more than
Australia, so that's help me a little bit for me.
For the rest, well, I didn't play -- I play better today
than in Australia, but I say the conditions are better here
Q. Can you talk about what happened from 5-2 in the third
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? I always try to fight every
point. I have a little bit lucky, for sure, because maybe
come back in the match with 5-2, losing 5-2 in the third,
especially against big server like Tsonga, the normal thing
is lose 6-3, no?
But, well, I have tough first point in 5-3, so long. Finally
I can won this point, and that gives me confidence, no? So
important for me having I think having this victory anyway.
The victory important for me, but the victory like this
always a special and give me confidence. I will be better.
Q. Seemed like at times you were playing well defending,
and then you would go offense aggressive and then defending,
then offense. Talk about how you were feeling mentally and
what your approach was to the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Tsonga is a tough, because if he serve well,
it's very difficult to try play aggressive. His second serve
is tough, because the bounce is very strange and difficult
The true is when I have the chance, I try to have the point
on the forehand and trying to start the point with --
against his backhand.
But when he has the chance, he has unbelievable forehand,
no? So I think I didn't play -- I play a good match. I play
comfortable match, because I didn't have too much mistakes.
Probably I have some mistakes with the forehand was because
in the last weeks I didn't have very good results, but I
feel very well, the ball.
Q. Looking back on the Australian match going into this
match, did you feel like it was a chance for you to really
even the score with him? Did you look at it as a very
RAFAEL NADAL: When? Today?
Q. Today, yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always important beat against one player
that he beat against -- he beat me the last time, no?
Because especially in semifinals in Australia like this is a
match, always tough, no?
But today I say it's not revenge, not a special match, but
the true is important win this match for me. Going to be one
of the rivals for this year, try to be in the top positions,
so try to win. These matches are very important always.
Q. Were you nervous?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Nothing special, no.
Q. In Australia you never got into the match. He just
kind of flew away from you. Today it seemed like you were
working hard just to stay in there to push him.
RAFAEL NADAL: It was so different, no? I say the conditions
are different here. I am playing better right now, I think.
Well, for the rest, there the match start very bad for me.
Break against in the first game, and his serve very well. He
play unbelievable tennis in the first set, and it was very
tough later for me.
Here he start with break, and the next game he break me and
I break me again. I break myself (laughter). Two easy
Well, but anyway, the start of the match was so different,
and sometimes the first games of the match can change all
the match, I think.
Q. So talk about the mental game at the end of third set.
He's obviously a very talented player, Australian Open
final. But you have the three Grand Slam Championships, the
three French Opens, many titles. At the end it looked like
you were mentally stronger than he was.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it's difficult to say something like
this in one match, no? The true is, well, I have more years
on the top position, like I have three years I win a lot of
matches like today.
Well, some important matches, like two finals in Rome, some
matches, a lot of the matches, no? Youzhny in Wimbledon,
this year against Moya, one match like this in Chennai.
So the important thing is try to be there all the time, no,
try to believe in the victory. Anyway, if you're losing 5-2
in the third, try to be focus in every point. The normal
thing is lose, but if you are there, you're going to have
one chance, no?
Q. In Australia you said, Let's see if Tsonga can
maintain his level. Do you feel like he's in the top 10
players at this point?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure. If he play like this, he going to have
his chances in the Masters Cup in Shanghai, for sure. He has
a lot of points right now. You know, 700 in Australia and
right now 75 more.
So if he continues normal year, I think he going to be to be
in the Masters, no? Because 700 points in the first week of
the year is a lot.
Q. More specifically, do you think he could get to the
very top with the top two or three players, like you and
Roger and Novak, that level?
RAFAEL NADAL: Who?
RAFAEL NADAL: Tsonga?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know the same like you. I don't know. What
do you think? I don't know. Because for be in the top
positions, you know, depends. You have to three, four
matches during the season, and if you win you going to have
your chances for be in the top level.
If you lose, you going to fight for another things. Because
if you arrive to the semifinals quarterfinals in Masters
Series, Grand Slam and you win these matches, it's a lot of
difference, points, no?
But if you lose third round or be in quarterfinals or
semifinals is big difference. So you always in one, two
matches, change your qualifications I think, your ranking,
no? So depends this. My opinion. He has very good shot for
Q. Are you saying that he needs to win matches like he
lost today to be at that level?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn't say that, no? I say if he, during
the year, win these matches, he going to be there. If he
lose, he going to have more problem for be there. Like me.
Like every player, no?
No difference between him and me. So for be there I have to
win these matches, too.
Q. Tsonga expressed he was a little disturbed about how
long you took with the serve, and he said he complained to
the umpire. Did you hear the complaint, and does that ever
effect you when players complain about how much time you
take on your serve?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think it's not nice for the other
player to go to the umpire and go to say you have to put
time violation to other player, no, because the umpire is
there for this. So you don't have to do that, no?
Q. Did you hear him complaining during the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I am focus about me.
Q. Just talk a little bit about either Blake or Gasquet.
RAFAEL NADAL: Against Blake, I never beat him before, so
it's a challenge for me try to play against him and try to
beat him. So going to be nice match for me if I play against
Against Gasquet, I played more matches and have more wins,
but always very tough matches, no? So going to be very tough
quarterfinals if James or Gasquet. Anyway going to be very
Q. Can you also talk about what you remember about
playing against James here two years ago?
RAFAEL NADAL: 7-6, 6-3, something like this.
Q. Yeah, I believe so.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, so I have some chances. But, well, in
the second set I was 6-3 but I was closer than the result.
Well, the last match against him was in Masters Cup in
Shanghai. I lost the first set 6-4, and later I was winning
like 4-0 in the second.
Finally I lost 7-6, 7-6, no? So in the last matches against
him I have chances, but I didn't convert these chances.
Q. Why is it so hard to convert those chances against
James when you're able to do it against other players?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, James is very aggressive player. He's
always playing aggressive. If he's playing at 100% level,
it's very difficult play against him, no?
Q. Yesterday after his match, Roger said he liked playing
French players who I think show a great variety, more than
the Spanish players who get the ball back. Comment on the
difference between the Spanish and the French style and
RAFAEL NADAL: If I win the match 6-1, 6-1, later I say it's
very nice to play against one player, too. That's my
opinion. If you win one match like me today, it's different.
Your mind is different, no?
I think it's not French style, Spanish style or Swiss style.
Every player has different style. My opinion.
Q. So you think there's a lot of variety within the
Spanish players, not just a tremendous baselines, but a lot
variety within the Spanish players?
RAFAEL NADAL: Feliciano serve and volley. Me, I play from
the baseline, but David Ferrer play from the baseline too,
but different than me for sure. Verdasco play with
unbelievable forehand. Moya play very aggressive, very good
serve, very good forehand. Not the same backhand.
Well, the styles are different for every player, that is my
End of FastScripts