Today Rafael Nadal knew it was the right time to break Novak Djokovic's seven matches winning streak against him. The Spaniard player, at the end of the match, said: 'The circumstances nowadays are completely different compared to those seven matches that occurred before.
I think that the last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years. For Novak, they were. They were really good years for Novak. Today's match was a tough match, a match that I went into the court knowing sometimes these kind of tournaments, even when you play them well, you cannot win them.
But today I managed to win the match. I think I played a really good first set. The second set I was a little bit more nervous. I played a little bit shorter. I think then the match was a little bit more even. I changed less directions, I needed to play more shots down the line with my forehand.
Finally I managed to win it. It's a very important victory. It gives me the possibility to play another final and to continue in a positive line.' In the second set he said that started feeling nervous. Is that because Novak was coming up? 'No.
I get nervous because it was an important match for me. I lost a lot of times in a row. To break that thing is always... There is always nerves. I am humble enough to come here and say that I was nervous, no? Especially with that 40-15, then breakpoint for him, that was a very hard moment for me.
But I accept that situation, try to keep fighting for the next point. That's it. I think is a great result. To win against Novak with that score, you should be playing very well. If not, it's impossible.' Djokovic said before that Rafa is the favorite for Roland Garros.
That's how Nadal commented: 'Well, I said it yesterday. At the end you like to talk about this thing, the press likes to talk about this. I just try to walk my way through. Then when we get to Paris, you will be talking again about the favorites and not the favorites.
After all, to talk about all of this right now, we can talk until tomorrow, but it's nonsense. The only favorite is the one that plays really well during those two weeks. The reality is that whoever achieves that is going to be able to win the trophy the second Sunday.
I know that I am playing well. I'm in a good way. I started the year really well. I'm in a very important final, important tournament. That's the only thing I'm thinking about right now. All the other things, regarding tennis, I don't really care about that.' We've seen he played Djokovic a lot to his backhand.
Asked if he thinks that's one of the keys of the match, Nadal replied: 'No, I haven't seen that, at least from my humble point of view. I think it's not a good idea to play a lot against his backhand. Actually, when I started to play to his backhand quite often, I had more problems because he started to dominate the court a little bit more.
To play Novak's backhand is not a tactic. I don't think it's what I should do. After that, if I'm playing really well with my forehand. I'm a lefty. I normally do cross-court. When I start points, I always try to hit the ball cross-court.
That's my game. I know to have chances against him, it's important to change the direction of the ball continuously. If I continuously play to his backhand, I think he has the best backhand in the tournament, in the world, so it won't be easy.' Speaking about the potential final against Dominic Thiem or Pablo Cuevas, Nadal said: 'It's going to be a tough match whoever I face tomorrow.
That's the reality. We're saying I will be playing against Thiem. He's No. 3 in the Race, came from the final in Barcelona. He's young, has a lot of talent. I think the altitude helps him here. The ball bounces high and it's difficult to control.
Talking about Pablo, it's more or less the same. He is doing really well. He played really well in Monte-Carlo, when he beat Wawrinka. Playing really well, then he lost after that. But it was a very tight match, too. Whoever is my opponent tomorrow, it's going to be a very tough match.
The only way to win these kinds of tournaments, because you are playing some of the best players in the world, so you have to play at a very high level to be able to beat them.' .