Okay, guys. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to watch all of tomorrow’s match and/if I’ll be able to continue watching the tournament. I’m to be at the hospital tomorrow at 6:30am…so I’ll only get to see the end if both the first match and Rafa’s are speedy. Why am I tell you this boring crap? Just so you’ll know not to expect match posts and such. Feel free to use the comments here to discuss matches once complete (or use the chat) and share links. (Someone has promised to check the comments moderation queue from time to time – please be patient if your comment gets held in moderation by the site software.) And please Vamos! a little extra for Rafa for me. Me and my new hip will be back as soon as we can.
“I think today I played a little bit better than yesterday,” assessed Nadal. “For a long time I was playing at a good level, I think, changing directions very well and playing with the right intensity. At 4-1 in the second set I stopped a little bit with my legs. Seppi is a player that takes the ball early. If you are not playing from inside, you are in big trouble. I lost a little intensity, made a few mistakes. I was lucky to have the break back again.”
Nadal, however, thinks Fognini has to calm down or risk becoming a target for boos from the crowd.
“I know he’s a good guy because I know him, but all the fans that are in the crowd saw him doing these things, probably they have a different opinion,” Nadal said. “That’s negative for him.”
Nadal looked frustrated by his start against Gabashvili, but I like the way he’s hitting through his backhand more, rather than chipping it, and he’s punished some forehands down the line.
As far as your last question, I have struggled with Rafa the most. It was much closer the last time we played, in Miami, than any previous match. [Editor’s note: Nadal won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 at the Sony Open last month, improving to 5-0 against Raonic.] I believe he is the toughest of the four because he is unique. No matter who you play in the previous round or can practice with, no one plays like Rafa, so you have to adjust every match. His left-handed play, the amount of spin he puts on the ball and his competitive drive make him very tough to play against. But I am getting closer to him.
Rafa took part in a Nike twitter campaign and a slight mistranslation gave people some lols.
Partidos al mediodía bajo el sol de verano. Encuentros nocturnos hasta quedarse sin luz. #endlesstennis
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) April 16, 2014
Midday matches in the summer sun. Late night meetups that last until the lights go out. #endlesstennis
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) April 16, 2014
A transcript of the presser Rafa gave after his 6-4, 6-1 victory over Gabashvili is up on the ASAP Sports site.
Q. Your impressions of this first match? The start was maybe a little bit slow.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I think I started little bit slower. But is true that he was playing very, very aggressive, hitting very strong, with no mistakes.
Always the first match, the thing that you want at the beginning is get in rhythm, play some long points, find the feelings.
But is true that I didn’t have that chance because he started very quick with finding the winners in the first ball that he has the chance. If it’s later in the tournament, it’s a little bit different. But being in the first round, is tough to see the way how you want to manage that, no?
It was very important that point, 3-1, breakpoint for him. I saved it with one good shot and one good volley. After that I felt that was the time to try to push a little bit more and increase little bit the rhythm and the intensity.
I did, I think. I play a good game to have the break back. I had the break back. I felt that I had the match a little bit more under control again because in the 4-3 I had deuce, and I had a mistake with my backhand in the return. So I think I will have the chance to have the break before.
I think this match was a perfect example for why Rafa would prefer to receive first. It gives him a bigger chance to get settled into a match before having to serve.
Q. Are you still struggling with the 20, 25 seconds between points? Is that something that annoys you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I need to check the video today. Sometimes I am the first one to accept the things. Today I cannot accept this one because was after a very long rally, was breakpoint against. The umpire, that I consider a good umpire like Pascal, was not right.
At the end, if you want to make the things that way, the easier thing is put the chrono on court and we don’t need umpires anymore because we have all the lines. We can put the Hawk-Eye here. Why we doing to have the umpires anymore? We can have the electronic, like we have, scoreboard and we can see 15-30. We don’t need nobody that is just saying 15-30, 30-All, game Nadal or game Gabashvili. That is my feeling.
If the umpires are not any more ready to understand and read a little bit the match, so there is no job anymore for them.
It was a long rally, but Gabishvilli was ready to play on time.
Q. You faced four breakpoints in consecutive service games in the second set. Are you unhappy with your serve today?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I felt comfortable in the second set. I think I was playing better. Sometimes I felt the match under control in that moment. That’s the real thing. When I had the break, automatically I have another time the break for the 5-1.
So I felt that if I needed to play a little bit more with focus, I would not have that breakpoints against in that moment of the match.
You tell me at the beginning of the match, is completely different history. I will be worried if that happen at the beginning. But in that moment, second set, I felt that I was playing much better and I had the match completely under control.
Feeling settled and confident is a powerful thing.
Q. Have you any thoughts on Roger Federer deciding to play here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. I think what’s more difficult to understand sometimes is when somebody decides to not play Monte-Carlo, no? It’s one of the nicest tournaments of the year. Is a Masters 1000. Is one of the most important tournaments of the world.
It’s s0 not surprise Roger is play here. For me is more surprise when he decide to not come here.
Some people need to play a lot. Some people need time off. *shrug*
Q. The time violation, is it still a topic among players? Are you trying to make this change or…
RAFAEL NADAL: I need to change. I need to go quicker a lot of times. I know that. I am the first one who tries that, the first one who accept when I am wrong, when I am playing bad, when I am not doing the right things, when I am too slow.
At the same time I think when the things are not right, I never have any problem to say that things are not like this.
My feeling today, the way that the match develops, was not the right day to have two warnings for me. No one chance that that happen, no? Is because the umpire really wanted to do.
I really don’t want to get into a huge time bru-ha-ha here, but I’ll just say that I hope Rafa can manage to speed things up between points so this doesn’t continue to be a topic of conversation.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Photos by AP Photo/Michel Euler, Valery Hache, and Julian Finney/Getty Images
Videos related to Rafa’s 3rd round win over Seppi.
First set highlights:
Second set highlights:
Posted by NadalTheGOAT.
Post-match in studio interview:
Posted by ATPWorldTour.
Post-match interview in Spanish. It’s also on YouTube:
Posted by Rafael Nadal King of Tennis.
Genny translated a bit:
Rafa in the Spanish TV: He’s happy to be in QF. He thinks he’s played well in 1st set, w/lot of intensity & changing directions.
Then he’s stopped a bit in the 2nd set when he was broken, but was able to break again & close the match well. He’s also asked about weather
He says this court is always in perfect conditions whichever weather, but certainly when it’s sunny he gets “another energy” and is happier
He’s finally asked about not putting the balls in his short-pocket. Rafa says there is a problem ’cause the ball shows-off below the short
and that bothers him. They’re going to try to fix that for next tournaments, but can’t do anything for this one. He wants his routine back!