Madrid: Nadal Discusses His Win Against Goffin
Q. (Translated from Spanish) We know Goffin is a good player. You played a great match.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Yeah, I think it was a very good match, nice level, nice to watch. I think both Goffin and me, we played at a really high level. Generally it was a great match. Maybe perhaps in the first set, it could have gone either way because he was Love-30 when we were 5-All.
It's true that I think I was dominating a little bit more during the first set. Maybe I had more options. But it was a very tough match that I had to play at the highest level to be able to make it to the semifinals. It's one of the matches that you go back home with a lot of adrenaline and satisfied for the work done.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) What do you expect tomorrow from Djokovic after he didn't play today? How do you think this is going to affect both of you? You played two hours today.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I don't know. I will let you know tomorrow after the match. Right now I don't know what to say. I don't know what can happen tomorrow. I think that those things are not going to affect me. At least I hope it's not going to affect me.
It's going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in tennis history. I know that to be able to have chances, I have to give 100%. Well, I think that I've been playing at a high level during many weeks. I know tomorrow is going to be a day that either I play really well or I'm not going to have many chances.
I think I've done my homework. Tomorrow is a day to try to give my best. Hopefully I'll be ready for that.
Q. (In English) Rafa, can you talk about how much you improved over the last year. You made semifinals here. This year semifinals again. Impressive performance today, talk about that.
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) No, last year I was playing great here, too. That's the real thing, no? I got injured in this round, quarterfinals. Then everything was much, much more complicated, no?
Since that moment, I was at the same position that I am today, winning two tournaments and being in the semifinals.
It's true that the difference this year than last year is last year I have been competing for everything, just after Indian Wells. So Indian Wells, Miami, I get injured – not injured, but I had to retire. Then Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, you know, only four tournaments, then I get injured.
This year is a different story. I have been very competitive since the first event of the year, since the first match of the year. That's a lot of months already competing for all the tournaments, competing well.
I am very stable in terms of level this year, and that's something very, very positive for me.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) Since Rome last year, you haven't played Djokovic. Since 2014, you haven't beat him. Back in the day he was No. 1. Towards tomorrow's match, given the changes in his life, do you think you're going to be the favorite tomorrow, or there's not a favorite tomorrow?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) I don't know, and I'm not worried about it. Nothing really changes. Whatever you may think or whatever you may write about this, whatever lines you may write, doesn't have anything to do with tomorrow.
Tomorrow I'll try to give my best. There are matches that if you play your good tennis, you have chances. If he plays at a good level, he's going to win.
I think it's not going to make a lot of difference. If we both play well, let's see what happens. It can go either way.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) Tomorrow's match will take you to the final. But given the opponent you have tomorrow, do you think tomorrow's match is even more important than the final of a Masters 1000? Is it something more important?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) No, no, not at all. I don't think it changes anything. It's a very important match for both of us. We have the chance to make it to the final in one of the most important tournaments of the world. This is what is all about, about making it to the final.
It has no other significance. I don't think what may happen tomorrow will affect future things that may happen. It's just a semifinal match. It's a really great match, nice to see. I will try to compete the best as possible.
Of course, for me, well, winning would give me the ability to win another tournament on clay. I will have the opportunity to win another tournament on clay. If it's not that way, if I lose tomorrow, my season on clay would have been great. Even if I lose tomorrow, I would have signed for this months ago. So tomorrow is a day to give 100%, to try to win.
If it's not that way, I will go away with good feelings, too, no matter what happens tomorrow.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) You played three matches here. The conditions on the court were very different with the rooftop closed and open. Which conditions will suit your game for tomorrow's match?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Actually, I don't know. Of course, today's conditions were way better than the first days. Yesterday it's true that we played with the roof open. It wasn't windy. We played at night.
But I think that playing with the roof open, we can still feel the height. But the court is a little bit slower. Perhaps it's a little bit more similar to a regular clay court.
I don't know what is more convenient for me. I know if you want to have a good match, today's conditions were better than the other days.
Q. (In English) This forehand down-the-line shot, there were many great ones today. Is this the shot that you think, I'm really playing great tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) I think I am playing better with my forehand this year. I said the first day, I didn't play well with my forehand, so that's the thing that I need to recover to keep having chances.
I think yesterday improved from the day before. Today I played better than yesterday with the forehand, no? So today is a day for being happy about what happened, and to think about try to do one more step forward tomorrow to hit a little bit better even if is possible. That is the work of every day. Every day that you win matches, you have more confidence. And let's see.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) (Question regarding rivalry with Djokovic).
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) At the end it has made me better. When you play people that are so good, well, it always makes you give 100%. I think we have harmed each other during our careers. We have taken one from the other titles. I have taken titles from him and he has taken titles from me.
The reality is that it's been a really good era because the matches between Djokovic, Federer and me, me and Federer, and Federer and Djokovic, I think I've already said the three of them, I got a little bit lost, we have repeated a lot of times these games.
I think we made it many times to the final rounds, competing in the important tournaments. I think it has made a lot of people to come watch tennis, so that's a very positive thing.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) Talking about Djokovic, tomorrow you play for the 50th time. I think that is the most repeated in tennis history. What do you think about his level right now since he lost after Wimbledon last year? He's dropped. We have seen the worst of him over the last year. What do you think this is due to? He said he was not even motivated to keep on winning tournaments, that he has other priorities, perhaps being a father. What do you think about that? Since last summer he hasn't been playing so well.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, first of all, the dropping of his level, 99% of players would love to be in his position because when we talk about a lower level, we have to analyze the numbers.
His drop after Wimbledon, he was champion in Montreal. I can't remember what he did in Cincinnati. I think he made it to the semifinals. Then in the US Open final. Semis in Shanghai. Finals in the London Masters Cup.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) Compare 2011 to 2015.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Those things are not normal. When you win every single match of the tournament, that is not normal. In history we have never seen what he achieved during those years.
The drop in the level of Djokovic was the fight to be No. 1 and winning as many matches as possible. Let's respect his level right now because it's true that perhaps it's not as high as he used to be, but I'm also telling you it's a lot of years. I know because I've been in his skin, too. Being up there during every single week, being No. 1 every single week, it's nearly impossible.
We always have ups and downs. We have better streaks, worse streaks. Perhaps this year he hasn't had the best start of the season, that's for sure, but let's not lie to ourselves.
He committed an error with Istomin in Australia. He lost to Kyrgios a couple of times. We know that Kyrgios can lose. He's lost against Goffin. Here he made it to the semifinals again.
So I think that Djokovic is not on the wrong line. I'm expecting a great Djokovic tomorrow. I cannot expect anything else from him.