US Open 2019: Rafa Nadal: “I doubted I could play so many years” | sports

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"I am trying to get the body to begin to respond little by little … I am touching." The voice of Rafael Nadal (33 years, Manacor) on the other side, during a five-way conference call with Spanish media, including EL PAÍS. The recent US Open champion still accuses the wear and tear of the devilish final of last Sunday against Daniil Medvedev, but replaces batteries watching the sea and relaxing in the leisurely routine of his home. In his voice, fatigue is still perceived and he accepts the technical interference that accompanies the conversation. For half an hour – and another half that he will devote to radio talk – he talks about doubts, emotions and inspiration, among other issues raised by journalists.

The intensity of an epic ending. After a five-hour melee, the Mallorcan shed tears in the final ceremony. “You have to understand the moment. The last three hours of the game were especially hard for me, because I had practically won it and I saw how it got very complicated, to the point of being in a really critical situation. It was a long time resisting and suffering both physically and mentally, and in the end you get a moment of weakness. ”

Is it one of the best matches he has ever lived? This is stated by coach Carlos Moyà, who recognized a couple of days ago in The spar He had to help his player put on his pants in the locker room due to the cramps he suffered. “I have not seen it, really. I have only played it and it becomes difficult to be able to comment on this without having been able to see it well, because on the track you are competing and you have nerves, so it is difficult to assess in its fair measure. At the level of emotion it was very special, because it had many ingredients. It is one of the parties that cannot be forgotten, ”says Nadal.

Welcome the routine, the Manacor bunker. “I recover mentally by resting, because it is not just the last game. You have been tense for a week, because in the end you are competing in one of the most important tournaments of the year and from when you start until you finish the level of demand and daily pressure is high, and more after such a final, ”says number two ; “The physical and mental downturn is important, so you have to recover slowly and do the necessary tasks to help your body recover. How do i do it? With rest and with the feeling of freedom, being able to do things a little in my own way ”.

The tears and the age. Are you starting to feel older? "No, I feel like I'm 33 years old and nothing else," he replies. “I read a headline that has taken out from context what I said in the press conference… I have always thought that I don't know when my last victory will come. Now it's quite the opposite, I'm in a good moment. Simply, I am aware of the passing of the years and do not lose sight of the reality of the situation, ”he continues; “That when you get older you have to take more care and choose better. When you are young you are playing and playing, and one way or another things are going out. When you are a little older you have to be more selective and be smarter in choosing the things that work best for you. ”

No account pending. “I have never played to silence anyone's mouths. My motivation has never been what others can think of me or to show something to those who thought I couldn't do it. It is a context from which I try to run away also in my personal life. Ambition and motivation must be personal. You have to have it for personal reasons, not external. It is a spirit of revenge that conceptually I do not like to have and I escape from it. You can't compete or get things from resentment. My motivations are positive, and not external and negative. ”

The eternal company of doubts. Contrary to what many predicted a decade ago, Nadal is enjoying a long-running career. “Just as people doubted that I could play so many years, I did too. Now and forever, ”he acknowledges. "But here I am. It is day to day. For now, I am happy with what I do and as long as my body allows me to train more or less daily, I like to play tennis and meet the objectives of the competition, ”says Nadal, who this season has conquered two majors.

Example and mirror, on and off the track. How do you wear it? Admired throughout the planet, the Balearic says not to consider it regularly. “I simply try to do the things that seemed right to me and those that my family transmitted to me when I was younger. Obviously, over the years one changes the ability to see many things in this world: there are some that he likes more and others less, ”he says. “Then I try to copy the ones I like and not copy the ones I don't like from other people. One can be a mirror, but if the inspiration offered by that mirror is negative, you better not take it. If what I can convey is positive, it obviously gives me great satisfaction. Being able to inspire people who have to get up to go to work or fight complicated moments in life makes me happy. ”

Regularity and number one. Nadal now leads the Race, the list that rewards the players who have obtained the most points in a calendar year. It has 9,225 and rules over Djokovic (7,265), Federer (5,510) and Medvedev (4,805). It also threatens Nole's reign in the ranking (which measures the last 52 weeks). "What I am most satisfied with is, without a doubt, the reaction I had after Barcelona," he said in reference to the game crisis he accused at the start of the land tour. Regarding the world throne, Nadal does not point it as his goal. "Nor has it been at any time," he says; “Yes I am, it obviously makes me very happy, but it is not something that I can afford to pursue at this point in my career. I cannot waste time trying to be number one, but I must lose it in trying to be as prepared as possible to be able to play to the fullest the weeks I compete; if that leads me to be the one, the better; If not, I have to make my way. This year, so far it has been very good, many tournaments, very well competed and a very high regularity ”.

Physical and competitiveness. With the exception of the first quarter, Nadal has managed to circumvent significant injuries in this course. "I have done things in a similar way to that of recent times," he says, appealing to "rest" and "some specific tasks" he has been doing at home for some time. It also refers to the concept of being competitive: “For me it means fighting for the things that motivate me, and that is to aspire to the fullest and try to continue as long as possible”.

Tennis, evolution and tradition. The tennis player is in favor of experiencing some measures that can boost tennis. He is mentioned cutting five to three sets, and he goes further. “There may be debate, but I don't think that is the subject, but how tennis could be made more interesting at any given time. I think that Sunday was an attractive game for the spectator, even if it was long. We were playing a Grand Slam. That this is studied in other types of tournaments, I understand it and I am open to change things; Format changes and different objectives. But I think that in the Grand Slams it is important that tradition be maintained. Long matches are especially remembered and exciting; those of an hour and a half or two hours are not. When talking about the best games of the year, they are always long and tight, with a certain dose of drama both at the level of tennis and physical emotion. It is a beautiful part of our sport and it would be a shame if it was lost. ”

THE PRESENT: LAVER, MASTERS AND DAVIS CUP

Nadal, this Tuesday in Manacor.


Nadal, this Tuesday in Manacor.
In the short term, Nadal's plans include a trip to Geneva this month (from 20 to 22) to play the Laver Cup, an exhibition in which he already participated two years ago. When asked about the rest of the calendar from the end of the year, the Mallorcan cites as fixed tournaments the 1000 Masters of Paris-Bercy (from October 28 to November 3) and the London Masters (between 10 and November 17).

“It's hard for me to tell my plans right now. I shot off after the final to the plane (he was invited "a partner" to go on his flight) and I didn't have time to talk to the team. They arrived later in Palma and I hope in the morning (for this Wednesday) or after having a conversation. Anyway, to decide the calendar I have to wait to see how my body evolves ”he prevents.

"We will set the priority objectives with a view to next year," he anticipates, "and the Asian tour would remain to be decided." As a snap to the course, Nadal will be part of the Spanish team that will play the Davis Cup, which this year (from November 18 to 24) will release a new format.

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