Q. I have a different question for you. Everyone in tennis loves Roger, respects Roger. He is said to be the best of all time. Yet two out of every three times you play him, you win. You’ve won six of the last seven times. Who’s a better player?
RAFAEL NADAL: You like this. You are focused on the Roger thing, eh? (laughter.)
Yesterday with the clay. Today with the if somebody says I am better than Roger, I think this person don’t know nothing about tennis. That’s my answer.
Q. How so?
RAFAEL NADAL: Why?
RAFAEL NADAL: So you don’t know nothing about tennis.
You see the titles of him and you see the titles of me? It’s no comparison. So that’s the answer. Is difficult to compare Roger with me now, because he has 16 Grand Slams; I have 6. Masters 1000, yeah, I have more than him. But for the rest of the things the records of Roger is very, very almost impossible to improve.
Q. The question is: Still, for the fans, it is interesting when you step on the court with him, you usually win.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am No. 2 in the world for five years, so I think I am a good player, too. Sure, I can beat him. No. 2 can beat No. 1. That’s the thing. It’s not a lot of difference between No. 2 and No. 1 or between No. 1 and No. 10. That’s the tennis, and the tennis very close, the level, all the time.
But I can beat him, yes. The same time, the thing is I beat him a lot of times on clay. I beat him on other surfaces, too. But the most of the times I beat him on clay, so I played with him more times on clay than on the rest of the surfaces.
Respect to Nadal for being so humble and stating the truth so bluntly. A lot of people make a big thing of the head-to-head between Federer and Nadal, but Nadal quickly dispelled that myth. He is humble enough to admit that the amount of meetings on clay plays a big role and just because you are ranked below a player does not mean you can’t beat them. That is just tennis. And also respect to him for having won the most Master Series events. Nadal was of course in action today, and he defeated Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. I thought Hewitt fought really well, but he lacked penetration of shot to be a real threat to Nadal. I can also understand why Soderling beat Nadal last year, because he has that penetration of shot that Hewitt lacks. Nadal didn’t look invincible today. I’m not sure he is playing any better than last year.
He has just managed his schedule better and if he did the same last year he would probably have gone unbeaten through Madrid as well. Actually Hewitt did better this year against Nadal than last year. If someone can do what Soderling did last year they will have a good chance at beating Nadal I feel. When he is pressured from the back of the court he starts dropping the ball short and then it is important to go in for the kill. He now faces Bellucci, who beat Ljubicic in straight sets today. I don’t know too much about Bellucci. I just hope he puts Nadal under pressure and test him. There were three big upsets today, as Gabashvili easily disposed of Roddick in straight sets, Ginepri took out Ferero in five sets, and Melzer sent Ferrer packing in straight sets. These upsets certainly helps Djokovic’s draw.
Tomorrow Roger will be playing the fourth match on center court for those of you who doesn’t know yet. Allez champ!
May the Fedforce be with you.
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