The transcript from Rafa’s semifinal presser is up.
Q: Well, congratulations on your win. You are playing very well. What was the difference between the 1st and the 2nd set.
NADAL: The first set was unbelievable how David set the match with amazing rhythm and aggressive and long. His movements were unbelievably good and so I did the best possible best for me to be 3 3 so on … the thing that I tried to do was to maintain the score close and when he plays at the beginning of the match I tried to concentrate on the serve to contain the score equal – after first 7 games of the match the game is more equal – before it was not.
AKA - I was trying to save my ass by at least not losing my serve since I wasn’t seeing opportunities to break.
Q: David played aggressive in Barcelona. Did he play more aggressively here today than there?
NADAL: Yes – I think that the quality of tennis in the first set of the game was higher today than in Barcelona and that was my feeling and I had the fantastic match yesterday and so I didn’t play well it was because I couldn’t. His shot was good and aggressive and I did not have time to hit a ball with normal conditions and all the balls that he sent were very aggressive and very difficult.
As has been discussed in some comments in the match thread, I don’t think he’s saying he can’t play well 2 days in a row. He’s saying he played well yesterday, so today’s bad play wasn’t due to a lack of form on his part - it was due to Daveeed’s excellent play.
Q: Can you tell us the satisfaction of being in the final here in Rome?
NADAL: Best thing possible after a fantastic time in Barcelona and Montecarlo, to keep playing in clay tournament and then in the final without losing a set is something fantastic and I am happy. To play and win 2 tournaments and play it the final of this tournament. Tomorrow is difficult and important match and an important match ….. but if I don’t have rhythm tomorrow ….. We can forget the the tournament of Madrid – that wasn’t clay. My feeling are fantastic all the time. Rome for me is a important tournament and I am here for the 7th time and I cannot imagine this a few years ago. I am satisfied mentally the first set but I was focused and I was there and trying to wait the moment and in the second .. he was a little tired.
He was defeated in that second set…well before it ended.
Q: Having won the first set ……… inaudible…….
NADAL: In the second round you cannot think about finals before Saturday afternoon and that was my feeling just being in the final is good and anybody will be good and tomorrow I will play my best and hopefully I will have my chances.
Q: You asked for a TV for this evening to see the Novak against Roger or the other TV with football?
NADAL: I think I cannot see the tennis in my hotel. I don’t have the channel. I don’t have the channel and I would like to watch a little the football but I have my family here and my mum and sister and if we don’t have dinner tonight. Better go out and relax a little – today it was a hard one and tomorrow another hard one.
He didn’t even watch his beloved footie? I wonder if that would have been the case if Real Madrid was playing….
Q: You have played a lot of tennis in the last 2 - 3 months. Physically how is your knee?
NADAL: In February in Majorca I was practicing and playing and in Montecarlo and Barcelona and the knee was good and when I am fit and I practice and compete and just think of the ball and running against the opponent – this is the first thing that you have to do and I am enjoying tennis. A close season and there is a good race and very few points in the top 3 and I an happy to be part of the group and tomorrow will be a great final and last year was a great season and not necessarily of the results but I felt a little tired that usual and so tomorrow… .
Wow. I hope this is a really super horrid transcription. If not, that first bit was extra rambly.
Q: You said before that you don’t really care who you have to play tomorrow because anyone is a great opponent. In the case you win the tournament, is it more important to beat Djokovic to as you lost 2 time for the first time on clay and beat him on clay or is it more important Federer.
NADAL: I have a different perspective of the competition and sport that you and for me the important thing is to win the title and not against Djokovic or Roger and for me the important thing is to win Rome. If I win against Roger it will be a it will be fantastic game. If win against Novak it will be also – he is a most fantastic player of the moment and Federer …… Probably the important thing is the tournament and this is from my heart and I say this to you
You go, Rafa.
Q: You talked about the first set but not about the second set. You said that your performance .. was the best match this year. Was the second set better?
NADAL: After playing 1 hr 30mins of the second set for the loser it is tough the second set and I started the second set with the same determination as the beginning of the game and he lost his intensity and a little bit down mentally and so I went 7-6 and then 30 and he keep going and then he made a fantastic effort and then he lost the game. With the 3-1 the match is not there. The second set I played well and when you play this high level the rhythm makes the difference. My feeling is that is was better but today was different against Berdych and was attacking from the beginning but I couldn’t hit the ball today I couldn’t and so I was fighting against his backhand but today I didn’t have that chance and if I hit a ball short and he put me in a bad position.
So, Daveed followed the Nalbandian/Davydenko plan for beating Rafa - take time away from him. Worked so well for them for awhile and has been copied by so many. The problem is executing that plan to perfection for an extended period of time.
Q: You have an excellent start on you serve – have you any explanation why it is so this week
NADAL: Don’t forget my 2 double faults …….. you know the serve is important and being a good serve – for everybody not only myself and so if you serve like today against the best player of the world and you start to lose the serve you wont win the match for sure.
So, please don’t serve like you did against Daveeed. Okay?