Rafael Nadal was unstoppable despite the long break after his hip injury. He came out strong and ready to win this title and that was exactly what he did. He beat Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2 in the final. It’s also his 31st Masters 1000 and 76th career title.
In an interview, he was asked how he was able to achieve all these wins. This is what he had to say. ‘Well, I always repeat the same. These kind of things are not going to happen forever, so just try to enjoy and to play with the full passion and with the full energy and concentration, full love for the sport until I can’, Nadal said in press conference.
‘I know the day to say good-bye is closer than 10 years ago. Is something that I am not worried about, but is a real thing. It is a special day for me.’
‘The beginning of the match, first three games, I was playing well, but I was sometimes repeating too many times against his forehand and backhand. I was not changing directions.
Then I opened the court much more after the 2-1, changing the directions of the ball more often. The match changed a lot. Then probably Kei became a little bit more tired. That encouraged me a little bit more to keep doing that, to keep moving him around.
Nadal further added “I played a solid match. Of course, the best match of the week was against Dominic (Thiem) in quarterfinals. But today I improved from yesterday, in my opinion. I played little better than yesterday. Of course, I can’t say much wrong.
Winning an important title, playing against difficult opponents without losing a set, it’s a great week.’ Speaking about the choice of getting back on the practice court yesterday after his win over Grigor Dimitrov, Nadal said: ‘I was not looking for a big change. He further added, “I was just looking to relax a little bit, to hit some balls hard, and to move the arm without nerves. That’s all. I was not looking for an improvement. I practiced 15 minutes, 10 minutes after the match. I didn’t practice for 45 minutes.”
The world no. 1 said, “I just went on court to hit some balls with no nerves, without worrying if the ball goes two meters out or two meters in. Just to hit strong and to move the arm the right way.’
‘I’m old But, of course, very special. 11 titles here, it’s unbelievable, so…
It’s something difficult to imagine. I always say the same: If I did, somebody else can do it. But is very difficult. I really don’t know how these things can happen because is a lot of years without making mistakes and without being unlucky on this week. I have been unlucky other weeks, but not this week.’
‘I don’t know. I don’t think that much. I just think about my opponent every day on the other part of the net.
Of course, I know there are more dangerous rivals than others. The ones you mentioned, one won 12 Grand Slams, the other one won three. Of course, these two players can beat me. Of course, there are other ones that can beat me, too.
But you mentioned two great players. Of course, Nishikori is another great player. Dimitrov yesterday, No. 5 of the world. I don’t know, (Alexander) Zverev No. 4. Of course, when you play against the best players in the world, you can lose.
At the end of the day, you can lose every day. But, of course, the best players have better chances.’