14-time champion in Paris
“I don’t even consider winning a Grand Slam this season. I would sign to be able to play all four tournaments,” says the 22-Major champion.
Outside the Intercontinental Hotel, in the middle of Paris, next to the Opera Square, hours after interviews given to several Spanish media, still young people, ready with their mobile phones, wait before Roland Garros. Contact the winner from 14 times only. Rafael Nadal He expresses himself naturally. He wants to keep playing. And he’s going to do everything he can to try.
- how was the night?
- Well, physically I am fine. I was fine during two weeks, even after long matches, surprisingly, because with no training before the tournament, I played a few hours of matches against Felix [Auger-Aliassime] East Nowaki [Djokovic], We were also three hours against Zverev. The next days I woke up well enough physically for this stage of my career. Of course, my leg hurts when I wake up, after two and a half weeks I take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs every six hours.
- How do you rate tournaments?
- It has a significant value at the tennis level, but I always give a little more importance to the mental issue. What happened to me at Indian Wells and with little training I knew I was going to be able to play, because with a numb leg you can play, but putting it all aside and having the ability to Being able to compete well knew it was not going to be easy.
- Djokovic’s game is one of the best matches I have ever played in his career. Do you think the same way? What have you tried to change after losing to him in the semi-finals a year ago?
- The 2020 final was probably better. I was playing very well, but I couldn’t keep it in the middle of the second set because I was short of stuff. Had it been given to me to play a normal clay season, it would have been easier for me to maintain the level. Intensity is a habit. But it has the added significance that in the third I had the ability to be aggressive again. A lot is talked about strategy, but we know each other very well. Finally, it can be applied when one plays well. At night, when the ball didn’t jump as much as during the day, the down line shot was very important to me. i had to throw my drive Parallel, because otherwise he gets into the track very well.
- Fourteen titles. No one is going over it.
- Yes, it is very difficult to give all the conditions for this to happen. But if I’ve done it, it can be repeated.
- After all you have to do to play, aren’t you already tempted by an afterlife without competition? How do you imagine it?
- Like I have experienced this for many months in my career in which I have to stay away from the competition. I have always been happy outside of tennis. I can’t sleep or fear for my life after tennis. And I’ve always had a lot of things that make me happy beyond tennis. I have what’s on my feet. I think at the foot level, if I want to get rid of the pain in a certain way, what happens is that I have to have surgery and get my foot fixed, and thus I won’t be able to continue playing. capable.
- What does your doctor expect from the treatment you are about to try?
- We wouldn’t have done this if we weren’t optimistic, but for sure, I don’t know. Let’s see what happens. You have to do a pulsating radiofrequency on the nerve to try to feel me when I play with my foot. If it works, it’s going to take some of the sensitivity off the top of my foot, but there’s also a good thing: Distance interception has proven I can play. If this treatment works, touches my nerves and the sensation of pain disappears, then the problem is not solved, but I can continue to play.
- They had never won Australia and Roland Garros in the same year. Is it crazy to think about taking on the Big Four this season?
- Yes it is. Even though it’s perfect, I find it crazy. This is something no one has done since Rod Laver. Novak was the one who came closest last year. I don’t even accept it. More than winning a Grand Slam he would sign on to be able to play the Big Four.
- Is the puncture very painful?
- It hurts, yes. It is a needle and sometimes it hurts more or less. It’s bearable, because otherwise we wouldn’t do it, but it’s not pleasant to do it every day twenty minutes before going out on the track. I am used to it, I trust the people around me.
- They won their first title here in 2005 and do so again after 17 years.
- I was the first to think that as long as I have a career, I will never have a career. Whatever is happening, there is always the illusion of continuing. I have only one team for the rest of my life. Tony [Nadal] He’s gone, but I talk to him every day. My premise has always been to keep people very close to me. scar [López] I was not in the team before, but we trained together several times. At the training level, it helps me with specific things.
- Tennis has changed a lot throughout this time.
- Yes, of course, we have to adapt to things. Previously, tennis was more typical of clay courts, like Caspers. [Ruud], would say. There are fewer and fewer people playing like this today. I don’t even do it. We all grow. I myself am customizing my racket to get more power. In fact, at the beginning of the year I changed the strings. I was always playing 1.35 and now I play 1.30. I put more lead in the head to try and get a little more power. Two days before playing this tournament, something has already changed in the old racket. Now I’m going back to second if I can play on the grass and hard.
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