R. NADAL/N. Almagro 7‑6, 6‑2, 6‑3

 

NICOLAS ALMAGRO

 

 

Q.  There were a lot of noise coming from the crowd.  A lot of shouting towards you from a few fans in particular.  Were you anything bothered by it?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  I didn’t understand starting in English.  Someone can you tell in English or something, right?

(In Spanish.)  Well, I think the person who was shouting was not really aware of what he or she was doing.  It was a mentally disabled person, I think.  So we should not give too much importance to this.  I think he tried to enjoy the match the way he could.

So I think it’s perfect people like this come and watch tennis matches and have fun.  That’s all I have to say.

 

Q.  How good was he out there?  Looked like he played quite well, and it was still very tough.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  Well, I’m very happy with my tennis today.  I think I played one of the best matches I can play against Rafa, but he’s the No. 1 of the world in this surface.  I’m very happy with my tennis.

The only thing I can say to you I’m going to work a lot for the next time.

 

Q.  Has his serve improved?  What made it difficult to face his serve today?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  Well, he served really good today.  I think at the important moment he serve better than the rest of the match, but I think the key of the match was I have my chance and I didn’t catch it.

 

Q.  You’ve played him several times over the years.  Is his serve better than it used to be?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  He’s serving well.  Did you see the match?  He served really well out there at the important moment of the match.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in Spanish.

 

Q.  Well, Rafa could not remember exactly the match two years ago, but it was quite similar to today.  There was a tiebreaker.  We have seen beautiful shots today, as well.  We know your backhand, but we have seen your forehand, as well.  It was exceptional.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  Well, if he doesn’t remember it, I do.  As I said during the press conference before the match, I knew exactly what my game would be.  I knew that I would give everything I have to give, because I know that against Rafa you have to play your best tennis.

I knew I would make mistakes, maybe more than what I anticipated.  But I wanted to fight all the way against him, so I lead the match.  But I’m proud of what I did.  I fought against Rafa, but he played a perfect match.  And he needed to be.  He was defensive when he needed to be.  I congratulate him.

 

Q.  Would you say that Rafa is the best in the world on this surface?  Do you think he’s the favorite to win the tournament?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  The one who’s no longer favorite to win the tournament is me.  At the moment, you have Djokovic, Federer, Rafa, and then later Ferrer or Murray.

I wish the final is 100% Spanish so we’re certain we have the winner, but the four or five left are huge players.

 

Q.  With the last five tiebreakers in the match you have not won any.  Today the first point during the tiebreaker he played a dropshot.  Where was the difference in the tiebreaker?  Is it experience?  Calm?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  After a serve at 210 kilometers per hour along the line, I can’t hit back.  What should I regret?  Of course it was out and of course I remember that point.

You knew to take the initiative on the point, and the best way for me to take the initiative was sometimes to play a dropshot.  I also missed a return on the third point of the tiebreaker.

But these are things that happen in tennis.  Maybe in another sport I would not have had to play a tiebreaker, but that’s tennis.  That was the only thing I could.

I’m quite happy with what I did, because a few years back I would not have been able to do what I did today.  I need to make Nadal fight to win the match.

 

Q.  So you think you played better during the match and he played better on the most decisive points?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  When a player wins three sets to love, he is stronger from the first point to the last point.  I played well.  I applied my strategy.  I tried to do my best.  But he was at such a high level that I couldn’t take all opportunities I had.

 

Q.  There were many critical moments.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  Well, he played better on these critical moments and he won the match.

 

Q.  The first set you were powerful, but we had the feeling that you were dropping the gloves afterwards.

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  Well, if I dropped the gloves in a quarterfinals in Roland Garros, I deserve to go back to school.

But at one stage the balls were very heavy and he was playing incredible angles.  You know, when Rafa starts attacking he’s an excellent player.  When he’s dominating, he knows the game perfectly.

But me dropping the gloves?  No way.  At no stage.  I tried to fight at all times.  I was down 6‑2, and then I came back 5‑3.  It was 6‑2.  During the third set I had a few opportunities to win a break, but I couldn’t.

So when you say hanging my gloves, that’s not the kind of expression you want to use.  But I want to congratulate Rafa.

 

Q.  It’s the third time you made it to the quarterfinals.  David keeps talking about the finals he lost to Rafa, for instance, in Monte‑Carlo.  Are you fed up playing Nadal and losing to him?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  No.  Really, no.  It’s a real opportunity to play against the best player in the world on clay.  It’s wonderful fighting against someone at such a high level.

We’re all very proud because we can write the story of Spanish tennis along with him, and that makes us all very proud and happy.

We are going to continue working.  Had it not been Rafa I would have played another player and maybe I would have lost, but I don’t want to think back about what things could have been.  I had great pleasure playing that match, and I hope I’ll have many other opportunities to play him.  That would be fabulous.

I will try to find a way to at last defeat him.

 

Q.  You were active playing for charity for victims of the earthquake in Lorca.  Are you going to now start practicing on grass for Wimbledon?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  To your first question, Juan Carlos and Maria José, Anabel and I, it was a great pleasure spending a bit of time to help families who went through something terrible.  We contributed what we could to help them get back their life as soon as possible.  I was supposed to play tennis and contribute.

Now to answer your second question about my schedule about whether I’ll play exhibition matches before Wimbledon, well, I didn’t think I would have enough strength to play before.  I wanted to take some rest because the rest of the season is quite difficult.

 

Q.  You talked about another opportunity to play Nadal.  Would you have preferred playing on the other half of the draw?

NICOLAS ALMAGRO:  Once again, you can’t think back about what could have been.  We had the draw last week, and I knew then that I would play Rafa in quarterfinals.  If I made it to the quarterfinals.

But you come to tournaments like this one to play that type of match, because that’s what you enjoy playing.

I had this great opportunity to play him today, and I need to leave happy.  I played a very beautiful match.

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