Thursday, December 29, 2011
MWTC: Nadal practices in Abu Dhabi, talks Djokovic, Davis Cup and more...
As an avid Rafa fan, I have to say watching him practice today got me rather concerned. Let me start by saying I have no doubt that he will get back to his very best, because once a fighter, always a fighter.
But right now, he seemed tired, a bit down and basically not fresh enough for the new season.
I guess his plan is to power through the next month and properly prepare in February for the hectic schedule that is to follow.
Here are some excerpts from his press conference today in Abu Dhabi:
"Novak played fantastic last year so he deserves to be there. For me I accept the situation, congratulate him, say he did fantastic, that’s sport. Roger is not going to be there forever, I’m not going to be there forever and Novak isn’t going to be there forever. Tennis changes, the sport changes and at the same time it’s good to have players to be there in the top for a long time because that’s good for the fans, makes things interesting, but it’s good to have different people, but Novak is nothing new, he has been No3 in the world for the past 3, 4 years and he deserves to be there today and that’s all."
On his shoulder injury:
Check the full story at Sport360
On Davis Cup and Alex Corretja:
"No, I haven’t talked to him (Corretja). I received a message from him two days ago, and I have a very good relationship with him. First two confrontations for me are going to be impossible, everybody knows that. Later we’ll see but the first two, I’m not going to be there. I have the shoulder now, I had a very long season last year, played more matches than almost everybody else, this year we have the Olympics so that makes the schedule with less breaks, so the beginning of Davis Cup is straight after Australia and I didn’t have the chance to practice, no physical, no tennis so I have to practice more and I need February more to practice well, physical, tennis to prepare for the rest of the season because for me the most important part of the season starts in Indian Wells and finishes normally in Wimbledon, this year will finish in Olympics and after it’s not going to finish because after the Olympics we will go to Canada, Cincinnati and US Open. And the second confrontation is just before Monte Carlo and I understand after Miami the normal thing is try to get back slowly to the clay. I always try my best for Davis Cup but we can’t be 100 per cent in every tournament and Davis Cup is a competition we won five times in the last ten years, that’s a lot. In Spain we have a lot of players that can keep winning confrontations, I will be there supporting my team, but not on court especially in the beginning of the year."
On whether he will change his game to counter Djokovic & co:
"I am doing always my way, that’s what I’ve done all my career. It’s not the time to change a lot of things, it’s the time to keep playing well, try to keep improving my tennis. My goal is always to be a better player. That’s my only goal, after if one player like Novak, Roger, David, Murray I don’t know, a few players play better than me, that’s all. But I work hard. I have been competitive last year in almost every tournament. I played a lot of finals. Three Grand Slam finals. I was happy, I wasn’t perfect, but I was playing really good, not perfect. With Djokovic last year I had to be perfect and I wasn’t. I have to be consistent this year. Try to create opportunities another time. That’s what I have to do."
On his priorities in 2012:
"For me the priority always is the same, be healthy, be happy playing tennis and be competitive in all the tournaments that I’m going to play. Ranking is important? Yes. Tournaments are important? Yes. But the most important thing at the end of the day is to be happy playing tennis, be healthy. I feel happier when I go on court and I feel that I can beat anybody when I go to a tournament and I believe that I can win the tournament. I prefer to be No1 than No2, everybody wants that, but I prefer to have the chance to win tournaments."
On Abu Dhabi:
"What I see from the city is unbelievable how the city is improving year by year. It’s amazing and I have to congratulate the people from Abu Dhabi because I believe they’re doing a fantastic job."