Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal after qualifying in Australian Open semi-finals: ‘I was physically destroyed’

“How did you turn things around when Denis Shapovalov seemed to have the upper hand at the start of the fifth set?
I do not know. It’s a miracle. To be honest, I was physically devastated. But my serve worked well and for me every match won with my serve is a victory. That was my goal, to win matches with my serve and expect a chance in return. At the end of the second set, I started to feel bad. It was very hot today and conditions were tough. Every match like this helps me get in shape, but you should not forget that I haven’t been playing tennis much lately. I think I played well in two sets, I had a chance at the beginning of the third set. Then it started to serve very well and I felt more tired and more ready for rallies. At the beginning of the fifth set I was frankly very worried, even more than that. I thought it would be very difficult to win this game. But I’m here, I’m in the semi-finals, and after everything I’ve been through, it means a lot to me.

“I never thought I had an advantage on the court, and I really don’t think that’s the case.”

What did you think about the incident between Denis Shapovalov and the referee, how did you react?
I was wondering what was going on. I don’t understand. I know I spent a little too much time at the end of the first set because I had to change my outfit completely. To be honest, in these very hot, very humid conditions, normally the referee always gives a little more time to change clothes. I think at that moment Denis got angry because the referee said ‘time’ and I needed another 30 seconds to change it. I think it’s just Carlos (Bernardes, chair referee) At this point he gives me extra time, but he makes a small mistake when he says time. Normally, at the end of a set, as the players change, the referee looks around and waits a while before telling the time. I think I followed the rules and I believe that this is my opinion, Denis is wrong on this one. I understand, he just lost the set, he wants to return to the game as soon as possible, I think he will understand this a little later.

Did he suggest that the top players, the undoubted big three, often enjoy preferential treatment?
Number. And in this case too. I truly believe that no one deserves better treatment on the field than another. I really don’t want this and I don’t feel like I’m taking advantage of it. In people’s minds, often the best players have an advantage over the others, but to be honest, that just isn’t true on the field. This is my feeling. I never felt like I had an advantage on the field and I really don’t think that’s the case. »

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