"I could not be happier...unforgettable moments here," Rafael Nadal said of his participation at Spain's Davis Cup Final where he won 8 games towards helping Spain come out with the title. This was towards the end of the season and giving extraordinary performances are difficult to come by for most tired and exhausted players.
But yet there are times when the Nadal ingredients just didn't come through. Sometimes it depends on the rhythm of Rafa and other times it depends on how sizzling the other player is or isn't. Novak Djokovic was pure sizzle as they met at the final of the Australian Open.
Nadal, not hesitant to say of his performance good or bad explained about the final: "I was not able to have that extra thing tonight...it was unbelievable how he played. It was difficult to beat him even if I was at my 100 percent," Rafa gave a half-hearted smile saying about Djokovic's dazzling Melbourne performance.
The beginning of August into the hard court season Rafa wanted to continue with his consistency at Canada's Rogers Cup. He went through a barrage of players: Dan Evans, Guido Pella, Fabio Gognini and Gael Monfils.
It was at the final with Daniil Medvedev that Nadal pulled a stronger performance than expected beating him 6-3, 6-0. Nadal had gotten in that groove from nearly the beginning of the match. He smiles at the press conference saying "I played well...I did a lot of things well, changing directions, changing rhythms...I played some hard balls..."
Rafa attributes his good fortunes of wins and titles with his environment and people. He explains that "I've been around good people and professionals that helped me at all times and I've been humbled enough to listen at all times."
What could contribute to Nadal's victories also is that he doesn't take anything for granted. "Things change very quick...everybody has the potential...I cannot be 100% calm...I am never too confident," he says even though at times he comes off as being in the gear knowing he has the formula to winning the match.
During injured times Nadal has kept it real even though emotionally it hurts. It was his withdrawal from the BNP Paribas Open in March at Indian Wells that he was ailing because of his injured knee. He was supposed to play his difficult rival Roger Federer in the semifinal but bowed out a couple of hours before it was scheduled.
Rafa admitted "I warm up today in the morning, and I felt that my knee was not enough good to compete at the leve that I need to..." The knee gave the Spaniard trouble in the second set when he played Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals despite his straight tiebreaking sets victory.
Nadal had many troubles with the knee even last year after the U.S. Open when he bailed out in the semifinal against Juan martin del Potro. It was just last month in November that Rafa had to withdraw from the Rolex Paris Masters in the quarterfinal because of an abdominal injury he had gotten at his warm up sessions.
"We can call it unlucky, we can call it different things, but it happened today..." he'd say. Nadal has always been a realist and works quickly to get back to a good playing position. This is what makes Rafa invincible as he's said of playing in Bercy.
"So it's tough finish like this...I need to accept [that] and recover well mentally and physically..." Rafael Nadal knows that he not only will attain his wins by being strong and healthy, but by having great mental stamina.
It's necessary to plan out his game strategies against his opponents no matter their age, fitness or endurance to gather the victories and possible titles.