You are already back in Paris …
Rafael Nadal : Everything is different, it’s another tournament, another surface, nothing is the same. The only thing that does not change is that we are in the same city, although unfortunately we cannot enjoy it more. But at least we can play tennis, which is a great luck these days. As always, I’m going to give my best, it’s going well in training, I hope to be well prepared to play at the right level.
How do you explain your lack of success on indoor hard?
RN: At the end of the season in previous years, it’s true that I sometimes arrived very tired physically, and mentally too. I had physical problems on many occasions and it reduced my chances, I was at the end of my strength. And indoors, I need to be fresh, to be in full possession of my means: it is probably the surface on which I need to play the best to be successful. Before, I was less prepared to play on this surface than now. It’s not that I wasn’t playing well; it was just a more complicated surface that my rivals played at a high level, and I needed to be 100% to be competitive.
Rafael Nadal at the Rolex Paris Masters in 2019
Credit: Getty Images
At Bercy, I had a lot of problems, I had to withdraw from the tournament a number of times. And I didn’t win the Masters, although I played a lot of semi-finals and a few finals there. This year the situation is different, I feel in good shape, am I good enough? That, we’ll see. But I will continue to give the best of myself, as I have done throughout my career, and I hope to create opportunities for myself.
Under these conditions, do you approach this tournament and the Masters differently?
RN: When I play a tournament I don’t think about that stuff, otherwise I wouldn’t play it … I just try to focus on playing my best tennis, and not on the fear that if I’ve hurt myself in the past, it could happen again. Whether or not I won these tournaments has in no way affected my choice to play them. I play first because I want to, and then because I played little this year, that things have changed positively after Roland Garros, and that I wanted to continue playing. With my team, we decided that this was the right schedule for the end of the season, and for the rest. We’re going through a difficult and unpredictable time, it’s hard to plan things, so I just try to be flexible and adapt to the conditions. I hope we can have a more normal schedule next year and that I can play a little more.