Rafael Nadal: 'Three months ago, it was unthinkable for me and Federer to play this final'


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Rafael Nadal: 'Three months ago, it was unthinkable for me and Federer to play this final'

Rafael Nadal is relieved and happy after his match won to Grigor Dimitrov by 6-4 in the fifth set. 'Fantastic match. Very emotional', Nadal said in press conference. 'I think Grigor played great. I played great. So was a great quality of tennis tonight.

In the fifth set I said to myself, I am giving my best, I am playing very well. If I lose, that's it. Grigor deserves, too. I think both of us deserve to be in that final. Was a great fight. Finally was me. I feel lucky. I am very happy for that.' A while ago he opened his new academy and invited Roger to come.

If someone said when you were both hurt, you could not play your exhibition, that you would meet your rival in the Australian Open final, what would you say to them? 'In that moment, for sure we never thought that we had the chance to be, again, in a final, and especially in the first of the year.

Happened. Both of us I think worked very hard to be where we are. Is great. Is great that, again, we are in a moment like this and we going to have a chance again to enjoy a moment like this. Is special play with Roger again in a final of a Grand Slam.

I cannot lie. Is great. Is exciting for me and for both of us that we still there and we still fighting for important events. After that, is a final. Is a very important match for both of us. I hope to be ready to compete well again.

I need to go back to the hotel, to rest well, and to recover from now.' Does the fact that he has a better record against Roger, and he has also beaten him the three times you played here, have any value on Sunday? 'No, was a long time ago.

Is a different match, different moment for both of us. I think this match is completely different than what happened before. I really don't think about what happened in the past. I think the player who play better is going to be the winner.' Does he think it's fair to have semifinals in two different days or should be played the same day? 'Yes, is not a problem.

For me is fair enough. Is true that if you play a match like I had today, probably is true that you are in disadvantage, yes. But that's a special situation, no? I cannot complain about that. I think is good. For me was much more unfair when you played the US Open two days in a row because then, yeah, you are in a big disadvantage.

If you play a match like I played today, probably tomorrow you are dead, no chance. That's a more disadvantage than here. I cannot say that's not fair.' For the second time in the tournament he was given a time violation.

What does he have to say on that? 'Sometimes I deserve. Sometimes not. But sometimes I deserve, yeah. That's it. But playing a match like today, if you like the sport, if you like these matches of 50 minutes, people don't remember.

Matches like this, the people remember. These kind of matches make the sport little bit bigger because that makes the people more involved on these kind of matches. If you want to keep watching that great points for five hours, you need to be flexible with that.

I think the umpire give me time violation. But then he was flexible with that because he understood that the level of tennis have been just brutal in terms of physical performance. So he understood that. I feel happy for that. Well done for him.' Is this the type of match that speaks for not going to the best-of-three at a Grand Slam, keeping to the best-of-five? 'I think, yes.

These kind of matches, even for the body, destroys your body, but that's tennis. That's special. Much more special than playing best-of-three. Should be like this, in my opinion.' Grigor Dimitrov is disappointed but doesn't see all black: 'It's never easy to lose a match like that.

I'm happy, though, with a lot of things. I'm going to stay positive and keep my head up high. For sure Rafa deserves pretty much all the credit right now since he's such a fighter, such a competitor. At the same time it was an honor for me to play a match like that against him.

It also shows me that I'm in a good way, I'm on the right path. I'm just trying to take all the positives out of this month in Australia. I'm sure I'm going to look back at that match and see what I could have done better.

But at least one thing I can say is that I left it all out on the court. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of my team. Proud of my coach. Everyone that has taken care of me that month, it's been super intense. We can relax for a little bit now and get back to work.' Grigor looked fresh in the fifth set.

Is it just a feelig or was it like this? 'I felt good overall. Yeah, even if the fifth hour was passing by, I still felt that I had a lot of energy to go, which was nice for me. Plus I've been staying up late, like, a lot of nights.

I didn't feel sleepy or anything, which is a good sign. And physically it's been great. I'm just happy there was no cramping or anything like that, since I had quite a few notorious big cramps against him. Yeah, I'm just happy that physically I was good.

I felt that he was going, like, a little bit slower at some point. I mean, again, he's such an experienced player that he knew exactly what to do in those moments. I think that was the key. Especially the two breakpoints I had the fifth set.

Even on the first one I felt I could have done maybe a little bit more with that shot, but I didn't really do it. Then he stepped in. I mean, this is what a great player does, you know, takes the momentum out of you. He did do an exceptional shot.

Yeah, but overall I'm very pleased with my fitness right now.' Was Grigor surprised how much he was able to dictate over the course of the match? 'No, I was not surprised at all because I had a clean game plan.

I knew what I had to do. I knew what he would do, in a way. He changed the way he played against me I think last year, late last year in Beijing. He changed his pattern a little bit on his serve. I felt that right away. But other than that, again, I was very focused on what I had to do.

Whoever's on the other side, you know, they have their weapons, and you have your weapons. How the cards fall in the end, that's entirely up to the game.' The Nadal-Federer rivalry is one of the greatest. He was in a position today to change history.

Did that cross his mind at all that he could change history or create your own? 'Who doesn't want to create history, especially when we are in such a competitive sport. Of course, everyone is going to see that final now.

Including me, I'm going to watch it for sure. It's super amazing. It's great for the sport again. But, you know, during the match you don't think about that kind of stuff. For me, again, just focused on what I had to do.

This is what I've been doing the past month.' ALSO READ: Luis Enrique: 'About Nadal, what I appreciate the most about him is his reaction to losses'