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Rafa Nadal is through to back-to-back Rome Masters finals.
Here’s what he had to say about his week in the eternal city and going to defend his trophy against Novak Djokovic.
With Dimitrov it has been always tough matches, but todays it was easier. What was the difference with the previuos games?
There are good days and bad days. Sometimes you have the right feeling, and sometime you don’t. I think I started the match in a perfect way, in the 2nd set he made more mistakes than usual. But, talking about myself, I played a solid match with my backhand. I had the feeling both with the backhand and forehand that the balls will be inside. I feel a lot of times that I have the control of the ball and of the point, more often than in the first two days. Yesterday I played a great match and today was a good confirmation that I play better, that the forehand starts to fly again, the top spins as well. A lot of positive things.
Did it help that the conditions were better?
It was warmer today, and that made the ball a little bit quicker. The first two matches I played there was a lot of wind, it is true that I prefer daytime normally but the feeling tonight was good. Against Simon it was very cold and tonight the felling was different. I am happy the way I played and to be in the final here.
How do you see this final?
Djokovic always play unbelievable, he’s a complete player and has all the shots. If I want to have chances to win I have to play my best tennis, be aggressive, it will be a very tough match. That’s the only way, I have to be ready for the competition, for the action.
You play Dimitrov, Djokovic defeated Raonic, and last week Nishikori. . . can you tell us something about the progress of these young players?
It’s normal that the younger players play better. It wasn’t normal what has happened during the last 5 or 6 years, with the same players winning all the most important tournaments. If you see at the history of our sports the young generations are always pushing. For me it’s a surprise when we stay where we are that long. Dimitrov, Raonic and Nishikori are very good players and young, not 18 or 19 like Djokovic and me when we started to be there, but it’s true things is changing a little bit.
There are no more players of 18 or 19 starting to be in the top, it seems that the players arrive to do their best a little bit later.
So they are the new generations, they are the one who have to win the most important tournaments the next 5 or 6 years, it’s a normal thing, we don’t want to be here forever.
How is important for you to have family and parents close to you like these days in Rome?
It’s important to have the family close to you always but this week they came here because of the city, not only because of me!
But you know what happens in the tournament, especially when you play that late: yesterday I finished my match very late and I went to bed at 3am and woke up at 12 and when I woke up they are walking visiting the city.
It’s great to have the support of them but I don’t see them during the day.
Grigor has been compared to Roger, how similar are they in your perspective?
The style is very similar, but the tactics for me is not very different to play both of them, but is true that the way that play are not very very different.
I know the way I have to play against Roger during all my career: sometimes I did it, sometimes it has been harder because always you have to play with this kind of player, always you expect…..sometimes he is more aggressive and you don’t play the way you want to, but it’s true that my idea is not very different.