World number one Rafael Nadal sat down with the press this afternoon at the Sony Ericsson Open. Nadal answered questions about Roger, Federer, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and issues with his serve at Indian Wells. On the social media front, Nadal has no plans to join Twitter at the moment. Here is his complete interview with the media.
Q. I know you’ve won almost everything in this sport, but not Miami. Is this kind of one you’d like to get? I think you’ve won 6 out of 9 Masters?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I play every tournament with the same motivation. It’s always play well and then I gonna have a good result. In this tournament I think I had two finals, another semifinal. So I had the chances; I didn’t win. Is impossible win in every place. I just accept the challenge and try to play my best tennis. That’s only way to win the tournament where all the best players of the world are playing.
Q. Is it tougher than most because it comes right after Indian Wells and you always seem to go deep into that draw?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, I don’t think so.
Q. Did you consider playing in the soccer game the other night? I know you went to watch. Did you consider playing?
RAFAEL NADAL: I would love, you know, but for me is important ‑ probably most important ‑ part of the season right now since Indian Wells until Wimbledon. I had the knees problems and seriously, I don’t want any risk right now, no?
Q. What did you think of the game? We heard that Andy Murray and Baghdatis were the best players.
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t see all the game, because I had to work with a sponsor in another place. But they told me, yeah. But remain the star, remain me. (Laughing.) No, seriously, Baghdatis and Murray told me ‑‑ Djokovic told me that Baghdatis and Murray was playing unbelievable. They lost 5‑2, so, anyway, important thing is not the result, is the charity of the event. I think was really good because the crowd was full there, very good atmosphere. After in the dinner with Nole, I was there supporting the dinner, too. So I think was fantastic, too. That’s important, always be active in these charity events, especially for Japan at this moment.
Q. About 10 years ago you probably would have been one of the taller players on the tour. Now you play guys like Querrey and Isner, Raonic and even Djokovic and these guys are 6’3″ and higher. Do you feel like the game is going in that direction? Just gonna get taller and taller? Is it tougher to play against these guys, too?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, but the best players of the world play from the baseline. That’s true. Djokovic is very good from the baseline. Federer is very good from the baseline. Myself. Last couple of years, my best quality is from the baseline. Murray is from the baseline. Soderling, too. Davydenko, too, Berdych, too. That’s true, is coming ‑‑ Del Potro is the only one, but he’s characteristic is from the baseline, too. Is true that the game is coming very tall guys, but at the end of the day, I think the best players of the world and the players who are in the top are players who plays from the baseline. Is true is not easy play against Isner, against Karlovic, against Raonic, but we will see if that is the right way to be in the top. I don’t know.
Q. Is there anything that you notice from your game at Indian Wells that you feel you could improve on in this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: A lot of things. (Smiling.) I think during the tournament I didn’t play really good. It wasn’t a good level for me. Semifinals and final I improved my level of tennis, but during the final my serve worked terrible. So that’s the first thing. I have to serve better if I want to have chances to compete against all the players. And from the baseline, seriously, I think I finished the tournament playing much better than the beginning of the tournament. So that’s always a very positive thing.
Q. Did you and Toni work on your serve? Did you find out what was wrong with it?
RAFAEL NADAL: We hope so, but we never know. (Smiling.) We gonna see tomorrow how it works hopefully better.
Q. What is it that you love about playing tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: I love the competition. Yeah. I love the support in general, all the sports. Tennis is my sport, so I like the tennis and especially I love the competition.
Q. What is your perception of Djokovic? Over the years he was joking, doing impersonations, this and that. He’s still very funny, but he seems to have tried to tone down a little bit maybe. He’s playing very, very, very well now. What is your relationship with him? What do you think the perception of him among the players is?
RAFAEL NADAL: My relationship with him always was fantastic. We are close. I think he’s a funny guy, but he’s not playing now better because he’s not doing his imitations or these things. That’s for sure. You know, always the people, when somebody is playing very well, try to found the things outside of the tennis. Seriously, the only thing what matters is what’s happen inside the court. Outside the court you can do imitations all the day, or you can do anything. You can’t go out every night, that’s for sure, no? But you can do anything. You can have a really normal life and play very well or play very bad. That doesn’t affect inside the court.
What he’s doing well is he’s playing with confidence. His level probably is not much higher than three years ago or two years ago or one year ago. I always saw him as fantastic player. His potential always was very, very high. Everybody knows how good is him, and he can do what he’s doing now. He started the season like in 2008 and was the same. So is nothing new. We will see what’s going on. I think he’s a very complete player because he can play on all of the surfaces very good, and that’s an advantage. He started better than possible, so he’s in a very good position.
But the season always is long, and we will see what is going on.
Q. Novak recently joined Twitter. You’re very present on Facebook. Do you have any plans to join Twitter?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not for the moment. I happy with the Facebook. I don’t know. No, for me is enough for the moment.
Q. I want to ask you also about the Bacardi, the thing you’re involved in with drinking responsibly. Can you talk about that? I wasn’t at the event, but can you just tell us a little about that, the campaign.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is a very important social campaign, especially I think for everybody, but for the young people more. The campaign is champions drink responsibly, but is a social campaign about if you have to go out, have a plan how to come back home safely. Is a campaign about if you go out, you don’t need to drink crazy. You can drink few glasses of alcohol, but drink alcohol‑free and drink water. Is important quality than quantity. That is the campaign, no? For sure I think everybody knows when you go out and you go for party with your friends, alcohol is part of that, part of the night. But sometimes seems like you go out and you have to drink like crazy. In my opinion, that’s not like this. That’s the campaign. I think it’s important campaign. I’m very happy to be the ambassador.