Rafael Nadal, 21-time slam champion, In Rome, in his third match after a rib injury, got rid of John Isner in 1 hour and 17 with a score of 6-3 6-1, securing a place in the round of 16, where Denis Shapovalov awaits him. At the press conference, the Manacor tennis player talked about his physical condition, remaining angry at the umpteenth confrontation between him and Carlos Alcaraz.
The Spanish tennis player was asked to explain why, after the game, he decided to continue training on a secondary court. “Well, I've been speaking very clearly since I returned. I'm late in condition and I have to find the best sensations as soon as possible.
I need to recover the things I missed due to the injury, of course. I have to work as hard as possible to be ready in a couple of weeks. The only way to give myself the chance to recover the level I want to recover, or that I want to reach, is to work.
Today's game wasn't that demanding from a physical point of view, so I felt a little more capable of continuing to train. Nothing more."
Rafael Nadal: "Carlos Alcaraz? Just compare him to me!"
On today match against Shapovalov: "Well, last year I was super lucky.
It was a game that he had in hand many times. For me today it is not important which player I have in front of me, but trying to improve every day. Tomorrow is another day with a chance to play better. This is the main goal today: to be better and better, to try to reach a higher level every single day.
Tomorrow I will have a difficult test with a great player. It is an opportunity for me to keep trying. And that's what I'll do." On the decision not to admit Russian and Belarusian tennis players to Wimbledon and also to remove the ATP and WTA points, Nadal preferred not to overreact: "I don't want to make my opinion about it public.
There are some private council conversations about this sort of thing, something that I honestly don't think is good to go public. The goal is to protect every single ATP player. I know that perhaps for you and for the press it is important because it is topical.
But I am here in Rome. Honestly, my thoughts are not about what will happen at Wimbledon." The Spanish tennis player then angrily rejected the question about a possible confrontation between him and Carlos Alcaraz at the age of 19: "I do not know.
And I won't be able to talk every day about who will be or who is stronger that day, am I? I forgot what I was like. The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an extraordinary player like Carlos. But stop comparing him to me.
If he manages to win 25 Grand Slams, it will be fantastic for him and for our country. But let him enjoy his personal career. I have enjoyed my personal career. It's your time to manage his personal career the way you want, isn't it? He is what he is he is.
Probably in 2005, I wouldn't have said about myself that I was great, but I thought I was good enough. That's all. Different moments. Different careers. A different way of approaching things because times are changing. But let's enjoy it.
We don't put further pressure on him. Don't ask me every time, because I'll always tell you the same thing. It's good for our sport. Honestly, in a selfish way, as a viewer, to have someone like Carlos who will enjoy their career for the next few years, I don't know how many years, is fantastic.
But now I'm still playing. I am focused on trying to do the things I have to do. That's all."