I tried to do different things. I preferred never to have an important injury but now, at the end of the season, the last four tournaments, I am with energy, and not tired.
I have never been one month injured, and this year I was two months… so I became more patient. I tried to be with my family [back home in Spain], and with my close friends. It was a good experience.
I enjoy playing tennis more than when I was younger : Really! I like to be playing with the best players in the world. My goal is to be top 10, but most important is that I am still playing tennis. When I finish enjoying it, I will not have the motivation to be a good tennis player and I will stop. I am 33, and I hope I still play at least two more years.
I try to improve my game every year. I try to improve my slice and finish points at the net. Now there are a lot of bigger tennis players, and I need to play more aggressive. And I am 33 years old! I am trying to shorten points, that’s very important.
They (social networks) are really important because they bring you into close contact with everyone, enabling them to learn about me and also helping me to find out things about others.
I always want to read books, as they help me to improve not only as a person but also as a tennis player as well.
I try to be solid and consistent. There are plenty of players who have big serves, but also quite a few who don’t. You can make up for this. If you don’t have that weapon, you’re usually better at controlling the ball, or you’re more agile moving around the court. If you’re tall, agile and you have a big serve like Djokovic or Murray, then that’s ideal.
I will try my best to have another chance to play in a final and win a Grand Slam.
Marriage will not change me from tennis point of view, I will not be better or worse for that. In the end, my relationship with my future wife is always the same. When we have family, things will be different. I don’t know if next year we will have children. There comes a time when due to age you haven’t a remedy, but now we aren’t thinking to have family.
I prefer hard courts to clay. My best results were on hard courts. I did finally get to [the final at Roland Garros], but I won more tournaments on hard courts. I was born on clay courts, I grew up playing on clay courts. For me and Spanish players, it was easier. But I am playing flat on my backhand and forehand, so that adaptation to hard courts was not difficult.
It will be very hard to stay near the top of the rankings in the next two-or-three years, because a lot of good players are coming up.
Since I was 12, Agassi has been my idol and I never thought I’d play on the same court as him. When I saw the draw, it was like a dream. Today I played the game of my life. I kept thinking: ‘I’m playing against Andre Agassi on center court,’ but then I just told myself to stay calm, relax and enjoy it and I started playing a lot better.
Players like me, around my height, are going to be extinct. People have evolved physically, and they hit the ball a lot harder than before.
I’m not a great server, I felt like I had to compensate with my return. Ever since I was a kid I always tried to stand up there, close to the baseline to return serve. Which I still do to this day. You can always improve things.
I could change many things, given my experience and maturity now. Mostly I’d talk about staying calm and knowing how to face every match. But really, this scenario is not real – it’s impossible. And the difficult times I’ve had have unquestionably made me better as a player and as a person. If I’m honest, I wouldn’t change a single day of my life.
Over the past 10 years, Spain has been very fortunate to have produced some really outstanding players, and that requires a lot of luck as well.
We (Spanish tennis team) have very good coaches, and the weather in Spain is perfect for playing tennis.
With younger players, it’s not easy to stay focused and put the work in, so you need your coach to be strong to keep you on track.
I have more experience with my serve and more confidence, but the most important thing is that I’ve never had an important injury. I’ve always been trying to work on my physique as well as improving my game. Maybe I’ve been born with genetic or physiological advantages. Of course I work hard too, and that plays a part.
There are times where I feel tired about the court. But when I see the positive things that gave me the court, I have to be realistic and know that this sport gave me a lot. I know that my ‘end’ will come in two-three years, as it happens with all. But first I want to be aware of having given everything. I did not expect to get to 33 years at this level.
How long will I play? I do not know, I guess until I am willing. Right now I still have it, I feel so well.
For breakfast I would for sure have pancakes. For lunch a nice paella and for dinner a good fish.
Every match is difficult because any player can complicate things for you, but that’s especially true in the case of the top four in the ATP ranking.
It (about taking part in the Olympic Games) was a unique experience. I also took part in the Beijing Olympics, but I enjoyed the London games more. I had a really great time, plus I was lucky enough to be playing really well.
If I win (the gold medal of The Olympics’), I clip every hair off my head.
I don’t have a Grand Slam but tennis is very justice (he meant leveller and fair). I don’t have it because I don’t deserve it.
Every player is different. Some players need different practice, I practice for two hours. If I feel good I practice more, there are no fixed hours.
In the future you can have another player like David Ferrer, but a new Rafael Nadal won’t be born.
If we talk about football I really like Lionel Messi. I love watching him play football. I also really like basketball. Pau Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro are really amazing to watch.
Two of my favourite songs are With Or Without You by U2 and Stand By Me by B.B. King.
My favourite movie is Life is Beautiful.
I would invite to the meal a politician for breakfast to know a bit of his opinions or how things work internally when you are an ex-president. For lunch I would invite an elite athlete to talk a little bit about his experiences, maybe Gasol or a football player like Messi. And for dinner I would invite my girlfriend.
I’m shy sometimes, but I have no problem at all in telling what I think.
What I know is that, when I’ll stop playing, I want to settle at home and not travel that much. I’ve travelled my whole life and I want at least one year to enjoy my family.
Surely after retirement, I will remain in the world of tennis, but I don’t know in what way I will, and I want try to other things. Maybe help young people, but I will not work with them: I don’t want to work together to take them a lot of money. I just love to see their dreams come true.
When you are 20 years old, you have some priorities and now, there are others. Maybe in a few years I’ll have an interest for psychology.
Now nobody has a bad shot. Everyone has a good backhand, a good forehand, a good serve. It’s much more of a power game, without as much of an intellectual component as before. Off the court, Nadal and Federer have marked an era. A very good period for the game, which has seen Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray come up, each of whom would’ve been World Number Ones for a long period of time had they played in different eras.
I’m going to try my best to do what I need to do to have a long career. Now I’m at a good time in my career… I don’t want to think about the future. I want to focus on the moment and stay in the present.
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