Shanghai Rolex Masters
Friday, 13 October 2017
R. NADAL/G. Dimitrov
6-4, 6-7, 6-3
Q. That was really a tough match. We all know the weather is much cooler than yesterday, so how did you feel on court? Did it actually affect the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, thank you very much. Yeah, very happy with that victory, no? Was a very tough match. I think both of us, we played at a very high level of tennis. The conditions, of course, have been different today than the two previous matches.
First match for me outdoors, so is a different story, but at the same time, I enjoyed, no? Have been I think a great battle between two players who are playing all the time very focused, very intense points all the time.
I think both of us served very well during the whole match, so yeah, decides in just a few balls, and anything can happen.
Q. You’re obviously in a very, very good run of form and in very good form. Where would this run and your form at the moment, where would you kind of put it in comparison to previous runs in your career? How good is this current run?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know, no? Happy the way I’m playing, as I say every day. Yeah, a lot of matches in a row winning in a difficult surface for me, of course. So, yeah, very happy for everything. Let’s see how it’s going on tomorrow.
But of course being able to win the US Open, Beijing, and now be in semifinals here in Shanghai, all the tournaments, tough events against tough players, that’s great news, no? So very happy for everything. Just focus and try to keep holding that momentum, and let’s see if tomorrow can have another good day.
Q. What was the mindset or the feelings between the end of the tiebreak and the start of the third set?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the things in this surface was quick. The court is fast, and the most important thing for me is I played well during the whole match. Is true that at the end of the second, that tiebreak, I make couple of mistakes with the forehand. I had mistake, bad decision going for the forehand in that slice backhand in the 4-2 of the tiebreak. I should hit that ball with the backhand, but I decided to go with the forehand before he hit the ball. So when you start the run to your forehand, then it’s so difficult to change the mind, no? But the real thing is to hit a better slice backhand than what I thought. Then also difficult to come back to the point from that position.
And then, yeah, two good serves for him, 5-4. Then I had the tough mistake with the 5-4 with my forehand. I changed my mind in the last moment trying to hit crosscourt forehand, and in the last moment I saw him running. I changed my mind. I was too late. That’s all.
Beginning of the third, I was serving well. Is true that I hold that game, but is true that I had a break point against in that game, but in the same time in that game I was 40-15, too, no? He hit two amazing shots. And in the second I had a break point, important break point that I could have a passing shot. Mistake, bad position again with the lob, with the backhand.
But in general terms, very good match. I think was great match to see and great match to be a part of.
Q. You have had a lot of good matches with him this year. Where has he improved in terms of his game? What’s made him a stronger player this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, he’s more solid. He always had an amazing level of tennis. The only thing that remained a little bit to him was to hold that high level for a long period of time, no? And he’s able to do it now, and is good because he has one of the most beautiful games on the tour. And he’s a very good person, is nice one. I’m happy to see him playing that well. Playing like this, he’s able to fight for the most important events on the tour without a doubt.
Q. It’s now Marin Cilic who seems to be on a good roll at the moment, as well. Thoughts about playing him in the semifinal?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, tough one. He always is very dangerous opponent, and I think this surface, this court helps him, no? Is a very fast one. He’s able to go for the shots from the baseline. At the same time, the serve helps a lot to play more aggressive from the baseline to him, no?
Yeah, will be a tough one. Is true that I am playing well. Let’s see. I know that I need to be very focused with my serve again, and I need to play aggressive and don’t let him play from comfortable positions. If not, I will be almost dead because he gonna go for the shots and gonna be very difficult.
But I need to serve well and I need to play aggressive. If that happens and I’m able to keep playing at a high level, I hope to have my chances.
Q. You have played with Grigor 11 times. For the 7th time it goes to the deciding set. You won each of them. I’m wondering, do you have the answer why you can play best tennis in the deciding set against him?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. And probably only a coincidence that that happened against him. That’s all.
No, no, difficult to find a real reason for explain that.
Q. Can you talk a little about playing with confidence and without confidence? In the fifth game of the third set, when you’re down a break point, does that come into play? How does it work?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course when you play with confidence, I had a second serve and the ball be coming to me and I hit angle, crosscourt angle, with my backhand. Of course without confidence, that shot is almost impossible to do it.
I don’t know. Of course I’m in a good run, and of course I have been playing well for a long period of time, and that helps to be confident and to play well important moments.