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Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon, June 26, 2008

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The Championships Wimbledon
at Wimbledon, England


Thursday, 26 June 2008


R. NADAL defeated E. Gulbis 5-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafael Nadal.


Q. The way the match started, was there perhaps a fear in your mind you may have missed kickoff?



Q. With losing the first set, there was a fear that the match might drag on.

RAFAEL NADAL: If I'm going to miss the football? If I play the longest match in history, yes.


Q. In the first set you got to a dropshot on time, but the umpire incorrectly ruled it. Looked like you flew into a rage. What was the conversation you had with him about that?

RAFAEL NADAL: My English is not very well. Especially when I am a little bit nervous on court worse.

Well, I only said it wasn't ‑‑ was easy one bounce, not two bounce. I say that's unbelievable how you can't see something like this, no? I said probably for your fault I gonna lose the set. Disappointing for me, I lose the set.

But wasn't for this. I lose the set because I played terrible, terrible next game.


Q. The challenge for you in this match was to find a way to stop all of his power, his great serving. Did you change tactics here and there to find a way to win this match?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, I changed a little bit after the first set, trying to return a little bit more behind, with the second serve especially, too.

Because in the beginning I tried to play aggressive with the second serve, going inside, but was impossible. With the first, the same, and it was impossible, no? He was serving too good. The second serve, too, was very difficult.

But later I go little bit behind and I felt like I had little bit more control of the situation there, no? I can play the first shot with more time, playing normal shot, but starting the point.


Q. How dangerous do you think Gulbis will be when he has more experience?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, for sure he can improve. But more than right now is not easy, because he has very good serve, very good forehand, unbelievable powerful, no?

So I think when his game stops maybe a little bit, because in one moment he has to think a little bit more and don't hit all the balls with this power, he gonna be in the top positions for sure.

But, you know, sometimes I don't know is better stop a little bit or don't stop, because player like this is very dangerous. If you stop little bit the opponent have more chances for playing against you, no? But you never know.


Q. I know the Spanish players are proud of how well they're doing on grass right now. Do you feel like you led that progress? Were you the leader for the Spanish players on grass?

RAFAEL NADAL: I answer this question the other day. Before me was good players like Feliciano Lopez doing quarterfinals here. Ferrero do the fourth round here.

So I don't know if I am the leader. Probably I was the first ‑‑ because Feliciano has a very good serve, very good volley. Everybody say Feliciano, he going to be a specialist on this surface.

But probably I was the first who did a very good result playing normal: aggressive from the baseline, but changing a little bit the tactic. But for sure I can't play the same like clay or hard, but playing from the baseline and playing rallies, for sure playing aggressive.

But I think everybody right now is trying to play similar in Spain because is our game. Our game is not going to the net. But probably in the past was a little bit mistake try to change a lot your game when you are playing on grass, no?


Q. Are you happy with today's performance?

RAFAEL NADAL: Very happy with my win today, sure. I know I had a very tough opponent. Before the match I know that. Very happy on my win. Is very important win for me.


Q. He hit a great number of dropshots today. For the most part you did not do well with them.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn't did very well.


Q. Have you ever had a day where you had a worse day dealing with someone else's dropshots?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I did terrible today when I arriving to the dropshots, so for the next day I gonna do better.


Q. What can you do about it?

RAFAEL NADAL: What can I do? Well, change a little bit the tactics. Probably another dropshot. I never did another dropshot when he give me dropshot.


Q. You are very young, but he obviously is still a teenager. Does it make you feel old to play a player that young?

RAFAEL NADAL: Not old, no? But lucky for me or not lucky for me, I had six years on tour. No, I feel young. But I feel like 22 years old, very young person. But when we speak tennis player, not the same.


Q. You are aware that Manolo Santana won this tournament in 1967.



Q. So when they ask you if you're the leader of Spaniards on grass, he would be the leader, right?

RAFAEL NADAL: He was the leader in his moment, but right now maybe the Spanish are not watching how Santana played in that moment.


Q. Are you friends with any of the Spain footballers on duty at the moment? Has there been any contact between you in the past few days? Have you been in touch with them, encouraging each other?

RAFAEL NADAL: I only send message to say best of luck to Casillas.


Q. Do you think the good weather is helping your game this year?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. Worse than last year is impossible and I did the final.


Q. When playing Gulbis, which shot did you find the most challenging with him being so young?

RAFAEL NADAL: The most impressive shot him has? I think the serve and forehand.


Q. Is it a special challenge? Do you enjoy playing younger guys because you have to be a little more careful because you don't know them so much?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always is dangerous to play against very good players like Gulbis. If he's young more, because he had always a special motivation.

Probably he don't have the same respect for the top player, because I know for me. So always very dangerous play against one player like Gulbis, no?


Q. What are your expectations for the game tonight that Spain will be in?



Q. Any other details that you'll be looking for?



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