Rafa Nadal will play again at the end of Roland Garros. He has played 13 and has won them all. So He will fight for his 14th Roland Garros and the 22nd Grand Slam. But the ticket to the final had a bitter side: the withdrawal of Alexander Zverev with 7-6 and 6-6 after injuring his right ankle. “It’s very tough. I’m very sad for him. He was playing an amazing tournament. He’s a good colleague on tour and I know how he is fighting to win a Grand Slam, but so far he is not having any luck. I’m sure you’ll win more than one.”predicted the Spanish.
“We had been three hours and we had not finished the second set. It is a great challenge to play against Zverev. For me it’s a difficult situation… To be in another Roland final is a dream. But to finish like this, to see him cry inside before going back out on the track with the crutches, it’s very hard.” Nadal expressed emotion at the foot of the track.
Later, at a press conference, he made a harsh confession when they proposed, hypothetically, choosing between Sunday’s final and “a new left foot with a wonderful scaphoid”: “Yes, I’d rather lose the final. My speech doesn’t change. Neither does my way of understanding life. A new foot would allow me to be happier in my day to day and in the end winning is nice and fills you with momentary adrenaline. But life goes on and life is much more important than any title. And in that sense, for me, after the race I’ve had, obviously I’ve always done my best to generate as many options as possible, whatever my physical condition. But there is a whole life ahead and in the future I would love to be able to go play with my friends. Amateur sport, and well, today, this is a bit of a mystery. Without a doubt, my happiness is ahead of any title and without a doubt with a new foot, not having the pain that I have almost daily, because it would change my life.
Rafa spoke before about other mattersLike Zverev’s injury, the conditions in which the game was played and his physical condition, which is good.
The end of the match: “It’s not easy to talk after what happened. The only thing I can say is that I hope it’s not so bad (with Zverev). Hopefully it’s normal when you sprain your ankle, and hopefully nothing breaks. That it’s what we all expect. I was with Sascha, it seems they need to keep checking what’s wrong with him. It was a very, very tough match. I think he started out playing amazing. I know how much it means to him to fight to win his first Grand Slam “We are colleagues, we have been training together many times. And to see a colleague on tour like this, although it is a dream for me to be in the Roland Garros final, of course it is not how I wanted it to be. I feel very sorry for him. Yes you’re human, you should feel very sorry for a colleague.”
What Zverev told him: “Well, if you want, let him tell you later. I was with him, yes, and he was checking the ultrasound. He was just there to see how things are going. I’m not the one to say anything. It’s his decision. No I can speak for him.”
Game conditions: “Conditions have been the slowest I’ve played in a long time here, because it was very humid and also indoors. The ball was getting super big and it was hard to spin it. So I think the conditions weren’t ideal for me or not the ones I like to play normally here. That’s why I couldn’t do the damage I wanted on him which, by the way, started the match amazing. It was a miracle to take that first set. But I was there fighting and trying to find solutions all the time. Sascha is playing well in any conditions, he is an amazing player. In these conditions, it was even more difficult for me to get him off the court. Because with these heavy conditions, I felt that my ball is not creating the impact that it normally does. against his forehand or against his backhand. For example, when I was hitting my forehand down the line or when I was hitting my forehand inside and out against his forehand, my ball wasn’t bouncing like usual here. So he he could recover just fine. The same thing happens when he hits my ball against his backhand, because his backhand is probably the best on the tour today. So with those conditions, I couldn’t push it back. He was able to hit a clean ball every time, so he survived a lot of the game.”
The Zverev track and twist: “I don’t think so (that the track was to blame). No, no, the problem on clay is always the same. When the thickest part of the back builds up, then it’s more slippery. But, I don’t think we have to generate a story about that. The court isn’t in bad condition. It was a bit of bad luck. I don’t think it was because of the court that he sprained his ankle. It was an accident, and I don’t think the court was in bad shape to say that’s because of her. It was a very unfortunate moment, and sometimes it happens on all surfaces.”
Something to prove? “I don’t think this is about needing to try houses. It’s about how much you enjoy doing what you’re doing or if you don’t. But if you like what you’re doing, you go ahead. For example, if you like going golfing , you keep playing golf. If I like to play tennis and I can keep playing, I keep playing because I like what I do. So that’s it. Of course I enjoy. And if I’m healthy enough to play, I’ll I like competition. I like to play in the best stadiums in the world and feel competitive at my age. It means a lot to me. That makes me feel somehow proud and happy for all the work we did.”
Physicist: “Physically I’m fine. Normally, my problem is not physical performance, no. Of course today the conditions have been very hot, super humid. I know from experience that when these conditions happen, I suffer a little more in physical terms. It happened to me in Australia vs. Shapovalov. Today was different. Not so crazy, but still I was suffering. But I think they are both fast opponents. There were a lot of ups and downs during the match, but a good level of tennis with big points. Of course, when the ball is slow, the conditions are very heavy, with great humidity, so physically you suffer more than with dry conditions”.
Emotional challenges: “Well, I talked about it quite a bit after Rome. As I said, I explained everything that was going through my mind after Rome, and nothing changed. At the same time, I wasn’t very positive after that about my foot, but I was sure that I could play here. And here I am. I played, I fought, I did everything to give myself at least the opportunity to be where I am and happy, of course, to be able to give myself another chance to play the second Sunday here in the Roland Garros final. So that means a lot to me. And even with all the sacrifices and all the things I need to go through to try to keep playing, it really makes sense when you enjoy moments like I’m enjoying in this tournament.”