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ROLAND GARROS

June 7, 2019

Rafael Nadal

Paris, France

R. NADAL/R. Federer

6-3, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. How are you able to execute on your game plan against Roger, who himself was having a very good tournament and was very complimentary of you on the way that you played today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you. I didn't know what he said, but thanks to him.

Have been playing well, too. So that's the real thing, no? I have been playing well since a while already.

The conditions out there today have been so hard, so difficult to manage. Was the day to be just focus, accept all the adversities, and just be focused on positive all the time. That's what I tried to do.

I think the beginning of the match have not been the perfect level for both of us. But after five, six games, the match, I think, became a match with a good level of tennis, no? Have been some great points.

Being honest, with that conditions out there, play the way that we played have been a great level of tennis because the conditions have been so tough.

Q. When you are preparing to play Roger, do you approach it as any other match, or are there special things that you prepare because you know you are playing against Roger?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the semifinals of Roland Garros is not just another match, no? That's the first thing.

And then have in front probably my biggest rival on my career with all the story that we shared together during, for me, during all my career, for him during almost all his career with me. So that's always makes the match a little bit more special and unique, no?

So we know each other, but it's true that we have not been playing very often like eight years ago, no? Is a little bit different feelings. And of course he changed a little bit the way he played. I changed a little bit, too. So is readjusting a little bit all the stuff, no?

But in general terms, I went on court with the determination to play my tennis. At the end, I can't make big changes. You can adjust a couple of things, but if you have crazy changes or a lot of changes for to play against an opponent, then you are in trouble, no?

So my goal always is just, especially on this surface that I had a lot of success, is do what I do well, if I am able to make that happen. Normally I have my chances.

And I have confidence about my game plan, and then I have to execute well and play at the highest level of course to play against these kind of players.

Q. Thiem has been able to beat you four times, I think, on clay, if I'm not wrong. And then, okay, you're going to play 12 finals here. Björn Borg was a phenomenal, was able to win six times in six finals. So you may double him. I mean, is that incredible? I mean, it was incredible few years ago when we were writing about Borg. We never thought it could be possible. What is your reaction to that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, yes, is incredible, being honest, no? (Laughter.) Is something very special and difficult to explain, but here we are.

And the day that we start thinking about if it's incredible or not probably will be the day to do another thing. So what I have to do today is not think about if it's incredible, because it's a real thing for me.

Even if it's something I never dreamed about five, six, eight years ago, it's happening today. And my goal is just try to keep going. Is not about have excess of ambition but is about just try to keep enjoying the things that I am doing.

And the tennis, I always say the same, no? Don't give you the chance to be very, very happy when you are winning and the chance to be too sad when you are losing because the tour continues. I always knew that very well, I think, and even if you achieve things that are sometimes special.

I hope to have a lot of time to think about it when I stop my tennis career. Today is about just enjoying the day today. Of course it have been a very important achievement for me.

Being in final of Roland Garros again means a lot again and especially coming back from not an easy situation for all the injuries that I had. Being able to recover the level that I had the last couple of weeks is something that I am very proud of.

And I am just focused on keep going and keep doing my thing well.

Q. Have you ever known such bad conditions, very windy here? Do you remember if the conditions...
RAFAEL NADAL: I played a couple of times. I remember one match against Soderling first round or second round years ago have been very tough too. And this court can be windy. Can be difficult.

Is true that today was a little bit too much. So difficult to control the situation and understand the things that were going on on court. But I think my personal feeling is I have been playing great match with that conditions.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. After so many years, seeing you play in this way is incredible. And to echo what Roger said, how did you see this match? Because it had been years since you hadn't played against each other on this court, 10 or 9 years. And what future do you think you have in Roland Garros?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope we will both have more years to come and a great future ahead of us. Of course we won't be here in ten years' time.

But regarding the match of today, it was very particular. Because five years ago, we would not have envisioned being at this level of our career with that level of tennis.

We must thank all those who have helped us, supported us, given the possibility to live such moments. It's very particular these moments we have been living on the court like today.

For me, personally, I have won a very important victory in my eyes. For the tournament and for Federer, the fact that Federer is back on clay and competitive again, it's something important. And I think that he will go away with good sensations, because he fought very well to win Roland Garros.

Q. Federer said that he knows no one on tour who can approach your way of playing tennis. He couldn't find no sparring partner at your level to practice. Does that inspire you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don't find any sparring partners, either, playing like Federer. There are no two people like Federer on this planet. Luckily, actually.

In fact, these are particular matches, particular conditions, indeed. Him and me know each other. We played many times against each other. But these are matches where we can always find this small plus, this additional shot.

And when I play against Roger, I always expect the best from him and I prepare myself accordingly to respond in the best way I can to his tennis. Because everything he's done over the years, all the matches we played, all this experience makes so that we can rightfully think that he will be able to give his best tennis. And sometimes he succeeds and other times not.

Q. In three centuries of tennis, we have never seen something like this, and I have the impression that your statistics will never be equaled in the future.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I have been asked this question several times. I already won 11 French Opens. 12? It will depend on many different factors. But then, if I have done it, I consider me as a normal person. I'm certain that another player can do it in the future.

But it's true that you need to have qualities, chance, physical qualities, and a long enough career to do so. You need to have the possibility to play at least 11 French Opens to win 11 times.

It's complicated. Will we see that again in the future? Yes, I hope so, because records are meant to be broken. And when you break a record, you promote our sport. That's always something positive.

Q. You said not long ago that five years ago neither myself nor Federer thought we would be again in finals here, and we see it from outside and we have a nostalgic view because it's maybe the last time that this great rivalry in tennis will have taken place here in Roland Garros. Did you have that feeling? Did you think that it would be maybe the last time that you were against Roger here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, it didn't even come to mind. It can always be the last time, indeed. But the logic of life incites us to think it's the last time and that we are coming ever closer to the last time.

That's a logical reality, because years are going by. We all have our small problems. We all have our age, which is increasing. I hope that it was not the last time yet.

And I believe that him and I appreciate such matches. We live them with particular emotion after all that we have shared on the court. And it's true that we are getting older, but at the same time, we are still in the semifinals of the French Open.

So if we are here, we don't think about retiring.

Q. For the finals, Thiem, Djokovic, what would it change for you? You played them both this year. How do you feel? Can you tell us about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the match has been stopped because of the rain.

Well, both players are high-level opponents. We're talking about No. 1 and No. 4 in the world.

It's true that Federer has been playing a bit less on clay over the past years, but when he plays, we know his potential.

But leaving aside Federer, because he hadn't played on clay for two years, Novak, Dominic, and myself are maybe the players who have had the best results on that surface.

So the finals, whatever my opponent will be the most complicated opponent for me. In a final like this one, the opponent is always at a very high level, but that's the rule of sports. That's why this sport is even more interesting and even better.

I hope to be ready to give my best level against one or the other if I am able. I think that I'm confident in myself. If I'm not able to execute my game plan, it's going to be complicated. But if I play well, and I have played well up to now, no, I've got all my chances. But it's always a match and anything can happen.

Q. You said in English that you had decided not to make your life complicated with the wind, not to think so much about the wind. And at some point Roger was at 4-4 in the second set, 40-Love, and he said to himself, Okay, I'm going to play but maybe I could lose the set. You think that if you had lost your serve it would have been more dangerous?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, indeed I thought about the wind. I tried maybe not to make distraction of the wind, but I decided not to complain or to complain little and not to protest in case of an error or a ball which would have gone out because of the wind.

There were three key moments in this matchup. First of all, winning the first set, and that's always a great step forward. Second key moment was when I broke back against the wind, because I was broken, then breaking and winning my serve and then coming back from Love-2.

And the last key moment was the 4-3 and coming back to 4-4. I was 15-30, then he had two ads, and then there was an easy shot. I played a crosscourt passing shot and another one with a very high bounce, and the position was more favorable for me and I was able to take the ball very fast. That gave me a winning shot. So that moment.

And then winning the next game where he was winning 40-Love, he could have broken my serve at 4-3. And if he doesn't break your serve, you serve against the wind. So I moved from there to serving for the second set.

So it was a very important change in the dynamics mentally for him and for me in my favor, of course. I served for the set with 100% confidence. I was really more positive after what had happened during the last 10 minutes.

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