Rafael Nadal Cruises into US Open Semis
(September 6, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – No. 1 Rafael Nadal advanced to his sixth US Open semifinal on Wednesday demolishing Russian 19-year-old Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in 96 minutes.
“It was a good match,” said Nadal in his on-court interview with ESPN. “Andrey was playing in his first quarter-final and he played with more mistakes than usual. It’s an important victory for me, winning past two matches in straight sets is very good news for me. I’m very, very happy to be in the semi-finals again in New York. It’s very important to me and I’m very excited to have this opportunity again.”
“I already won five matches,” the two-time US Open said in his news conference. “I am in that semifinals. I am in a good round. And everything is to win. Is the moment to give my best.
“I think I have been improving during the whole event, and I have been doing step forward match by match, and now is the moment to do it, another step forward, a little bit higher is possible, too.
“So I think I have the attitude to try to make that happen. I am excited about that semifinals. I know I gonna have a very tough opponent in front. And I need to play my best.
“So since tomorrow morning, because today I gonna enjoy the few hours off that I have,” he said smiling, “enjoy the fact that I am in semifinals. But I wake up tomorrow morning knowing that I have to do something more, and I gonna work hard to work in that way. Mentally, I know what I need to do, and I gonna try to do it.”
The 15-time major champion will play the winner of the Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro match taking place during the night session.
“I’m excited to be in semifinal, most of anything,” he responded. “Happy the way I played today, and let’s see what’s gonna happen tonight and let’s see which opponent I have in that semifinals.
“If it’s Roger Federer, of course I am excited to play that match, and of course is special to play against him here in New York for the first time in our career. That’s something that didn’t happen before and is something strange, because we played couple of times in all the important events of the world, so will be excited and I will be very excited to play that match, of course.”
“I mean, it’s great experience to play quarterfinal against world No. 1, Rafael Nadal,” said Rublev in his news conference. “I’m really happy. I will try now to practice harder to improve everything for the next time if we play each other to try to compete better.”
Nadal said on court that Rublev is going to be in the next generation of players and expect him to be successful.
“It’s a big honor for me to hear this from him, and, I mean, now I have to prove that he’s maybe right. I don’t know,” Rublev said with a big smile.
“I have to work as hard as I can, and the main thing now is to try to keep working harder and harder, to improve, because I still have a lot of things to improve.
“This match told me how far I am and how much I need to improve, so now is time to try to be better and become stronger.”
Nadal was asked about his special rivalry with Roger Federer and possibility of playing him in the semifinals. “Well, of course, the most special thing is we created a classic match that people expect to see this kind of match. Combination of styles,”said the Spaniard.
“Of course, we can talk about things, but what really makes this match special is we have been competing for the most important events for, I don’t know, 10, 12 years, and we have been solid there, fighting for these things.
“So we repeat this kind of match, these kind of finals in a long time and a lot of times. Of course that became a tradition. At the same time is even more special when we are, of course, at the last part of our careers.”
Asked about he admired most about Federer on and off court he said:
“I don’t want to look like I gonna be his boyfriend, no?” The media interview room burst out in laughter.” We don’t want to talk these kind of things before important match.
“Well, we have a lot of respect for each other, no? We played a lot of times. I think we did important things for tennis. We appreciate that. We always had a good relationship. We played for our foundations.
“I think he always have been a great ambassador for tennis and for our sport, with good image, of course, and representing, I think, good values.
“One important thing that is a great example for kids, no, after a lot of years and winning more than nobody, he still have the passion to keep doing what he did during all his career, no? And doing unbelievable well and doing with the right attitude and with the right passion and love for the sport, no?
“So that’s something important for me and something that I admire him, and inside the court, I admire of him the same, as you can admire, because everybody knows how complete is him, and he’s able to produce all the shots.”
As for possibly playing del Potro: “Juan Martin is a top player, no? Is true that when he’s playing well, it’s difficult to stop him. Probably the forehand is maybe the fastest on the tour. And of course to win tonight, he should be serving well. If he serve well and hit well his forehand, he’s a player that have the chance to win against, of course, everybody.
“If I play against him, of course I have to play my best tennis. I need to be very focused with my serve and play aggressive, because if you let him play from good positions with his forehand, you are dead, because he plays super-aggressive, hitting so hard.”