Rafael Nadal finds himself in an unprecedented ninth Roland Garros final on Sunday. We take a look at some of his best quotes of the past fortnight.
“Today I played better than Andy. Andy made a few mistakes, especially on his return; whereas I made very few mistakes. I played quite well. So these are facts. I succeeded in developing my strategy.” – No tip-toeing around the obvious this time, after the Spaniard annihilated Andy Murray in the semi-finals.
“Novak already did a lot (of) positive results here. It’s nothing new for him to be in the final. He has the motivation to win Roland Garros for the first time for sure. But at the same time, he has the pressure to win for the first time. I have the pressure that I want to win and the motivation that I want to win the ninth.” – On facing Novak Djokovic, a player he has lost his past four encounters with, in Sunday’s decider.
“I was a bit surprised not to be playing on the centre court. I think I would have liked to play on the centre court a lot better than Suzanne Lenglen. There were probably reasons, which of course I understand. But to be frank, I wanted to play on the centre court. Between centre and all the other courts, there is a huge difference, that's true.” – On playing his second match of the tournament – his quarter-final against David Ferrer and a remake of last year’s final – on the second show court.
“When I get a message from the king when I play a tournament, it's a huge pleasure for me feeling supported by the leader of our country, and a king who was so much admired everywhere in the world. He was somebody I really liked. He was very close to me. Over the last few years our relationship's developed, and I always wanted to thank him for the kindness he showed.” – On the abdication of King Juan Carlos of Spain.
“I think the best thing would be to have a big clock with a countdown on the court, and then when there is no more seconds to go, we would have to serve. But, I think that tennis is a sport where we should be able to think. Otherwise, it's just about keeping an eye on the clock … It's true to say that I'm slow. I accept it. I admit the fact that at times I'm a bit slow.” –On receiving time violation warnings between points.
“Our generation is now on the way out, like Murray, Djokovic, Ferrer, Berdych and others, and Tsonga, as well, we have been here for a long while. A generation is walking away and others will replace us. It will not come overnight, but it will come. I think that this player has a huge potential and could be one of the ones who's going to replace us. His tennis style is really good. What he could work on is his footwork and how he moves on the court. That's all.” – On the prospects of rising Austrian talent Dominic Thiem, whom he beat in the second round.