Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal, nine-time winner of Roland Garros and defending champion, declared two days before the start of the tournament that he does not consider himself the favorite for the final victory, but that he does believe he is on the list of candidates.
“I don’t feel like I’m the top favorite here, I’m one of the candidates, I think,” Nadal said in his first press conference at Roland Garros-2015.
The Mallorcan appeared before the media after learning that he will debut against Frenchman Quentin Halys (304th in the ATP) and that he would face Serbian Novak Djokovic (N.1) in a hypothetical quarterfinal match.
Between the draw and the meeting with the journalists, the Spaniard jumped onto center court along with his uncle and coach Toni Nadal to rally alongside Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
The journalists asked Nadal to choose some quality of the player that surprised him in 2005 to achieve his first Roland Garros at the age of 19.
«These are different moments, difficult to compare. Only if I had the energy and the legs of 2005 it would be enough for me,” he said.
In a more serious tone, he explained his evolution as a tennis player: «During my career there has been something basic, when the years go by one loses things on one side and manages to add on the other, and I have managed to keep the balance adjusted».
– Uncomfortable questions –
Nadal was more uncomfortable when a journalist asked him if he was at the beginning of the end of his career.
“It is not the day to talk about stage finishes when a tournament begins in which I am the current champion… Honestly, it is not in my head to start a new stage today,” he explained.
“The obstacles that you have told me are not beginning to arise now… They have been there since 2005, when I seriously injured my foot and I have been able to overcome it one by one,” he continued.
Nadal also didn’t like the media’s tendency to ‘label’ each of his trophies, when asked if it was special to win in Paris for the tenth time.
“Especially for you. For me it has the same as any other. I value each title for itself and I don’t know how you fix it, but every year you find an excuse to make it important… Now I don’t know why number 10 is more important than number 9, “he said.
Finally, with nostalgia, he recalled what went through his head a decade ago when he was crowned for the first time in the central.
“When I won here ten years ago I thought I had reached the maximum and that I was going to play with less pressure for the rest of my career… Obviously it was totally wrong,” he concluded.