Aug 13, 2009

Rafael Nadal survives first match, looking forward to have real test

Surprisingly, the one who limped off the court is not Rafael Nadal. It was his compatriot David Ferrer.

Nadal won his first match since May when Ferrer retired with a left knee injury in the first set of their match at the Rogers Cup.

Nadal led 4-3 when Ferrer informed the chair umpire he could not continue.

The world no.2's next opponent in the third round is Philipp Petzschner and Nadal is looking forward to have real test.

Here's the post-match interview:

Q. Little shorter than you might have liked today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I never expect this, this bad thing for David, so I just ‑‑ I can say sorry to him and just wish him the very fast recovery to be ready for Cincinnati.

So, yeah, I know it's tough to have to go out and have to go out of court, so yeah, just sorry for him. And for me, it was nice have a victory like this, and I say before I here to improve every day, to enjoy every game, every point. Just like this, I going to have chances to be ready as fast as possible.

Q. How did you feel playing the match after such a long time?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, a little bit strange, no? The first movements is tough and hard to move well and to feel confident when you are touching the ball.

But, you know, that's the normal thing. I have to ‑‑ I must be happy, because I didn't play terrible. And the next round, I have another chance tomorrow to continuing to improve. Every match, every game is important to feel better for me.

Q. How are your knees?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was okay. Need more days to have real test, but it was okay.

Q. Did you find the doubles matches helped you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, the doubles is important or the two matches of doubles was important matches for me to start, to compete, no? Always these matches help me.

Q. You're saying that you like to learn more and more every day and you're always trying to improve. It's something to watch you on the court because we see if you're practicing, learning a new skill like, for example, last year your serve on grass or your backhand changing maybe a little bit. The coach was telling me he saw a difference at the Australian Open. For the different surfaces you're always improving a lot on the court, but I feel like the challenges you've gone through in the last couple months are all challenges off the court. Do you see that as just another part of tennis, another element that you have to learn to prepare for dealing with injury, dealing with setbacks that you're not used to facing?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.)
No, you know, the calendar is tough, and you don't have a lot of choices, no? For me, you can learn because the career always every year is an experience and you can learn about everything, but I think when you play, if not the one or the second who play more matches the last five years, it's normal to have some problems.

Q. What I'm saying is you see injury as just another part of tennis the same way a forehand is. Do you see setbacks off the court? Tennis is a very all‑encompassing game.
THE MODERATOR: What is the question?

Q. Do you see injury, coming back from injury, as just another part of the game, just like...
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody, when you injury, you have to come back. hat I can say? Is a normal thing of sports, so that's it.

Q. Andy Roddick said the courts are very slow and the ball was moving slow. You felt that?
RAFAEL NADAL: The court was very slow?

Q. Yeah, the court was very slow.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn't think so, no, no.

No, I don't know. He's coming from Washington, no? So the feeling for the players always depends. If the week before you play in a faster place and next week you play in a little bit of slower place, you feel like it's very slow. And if you're playing in a slow place and the next week you play in a little bit faster, you feel like it's very fast. So it's always depends on the last feeling you had.

I think the court is not very fast and not very slow. I think it's between.

Q. What was the feeling of walking out on a court for a real match again after all that time?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it's always a pleasure to come back, and the feeling ‑‑ well, only happen one month and a half; it's not three years outside of tennis. That's the true, no?

Sure, it's happy to come back here and playing another time. But the feeling is normal, like always. I feel well when I go on court all the time, and today wasn't an exception.

Sure, when you have a few time outside of competition, when you come back it's a little bit more exciting.

Q. Can you give an example of how hardcourts are tougher on your body than maybe clay courts or grass courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, let's talk about the same, no? I say 200,000 times, yeah, the hardcourt is tougher for the body than the grass and clay. No doubt of that. I think nobody have a doubt of that. That's it.

Q. Were you trying to be a little careful today, or were you going all the way on your body?
RAFAEL NADAL: I tried. I tried everything, put my 100%, but when you come back from an injury, it's difficult to move well the first match. You have more matches to get the confidence of the movements, on the feeling of the ball, so I need more time.

Q. Is it a positive first match? Is it a positive first test?
RAFAEL NADAL: Anything gonna be ‑‑ everything gonna be positive. Only bad thing can be is if I have another time problems with the knees, but the rest of the things, everything is positive, no? Every match, every point. Because everything is helping me to be ready as soon as possible when I return to my level.

Right now I'm probably not at my best level, but everything is important. If I lose tomorrow and if I have a match, is it going to be interesting for me to have more hours on court?

Q. You struggled with your first serve. Are you a little bit disappointed about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it's ‑‑ it's normal. The feeling, it's different now because I practice during the afternoon and the ball was faster than right now, the night. The ball was bigger.

No, I didn't ‑‑ I was serving really well, all the day, practicing. The first day, first match, a little bit nervous. At the same time, David is a big returner.

At the same time, I want to push a little bit more than usual. After, when I had the 3‑All, the match from 3‑2 to 3‑3, I have some serves slow. I was serving 190, 195, 200, and in this game, I had some serve, 175, so that's give me more confidence, no?

Q. Can you just talk about your next opponent (Philipp Petzschner).
RAFAEL NADAL: He's a very aggressive player, no? Very good serve, very good forehand.

Today he had very good win against Robredo. Yeah, sure, every match going to be very difficult for me.

(Interview transcript via Rogers Cup official website)

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