“Andy Murray is good enough to win a Grand Slam”
Rafa Nadal on winning at Wimbledon and not feeling sorry for Murray
We’re two grand slams into the tennis season and we’ve had two winners – Novak Djokovic beat Rafa Nadal in Australia, but the Spaniard reversed that result in France. His next target is to win back the Wimbledon title he lost last year. We’ll get to that, but more important things must come first…
You’ve been known to play Fifa against Andy Murray – who’s better?
There is a bunch of us who play soccer video games and there’s a debate going on between me and Andy about who’s the best player. He says he is, and that I only win because I play with Real Madrid. We all know that’s not true, though.
Has the emergence of Djokovic reinvigorated you?
There is no doubt Novak is in great form, but it doesn’t take anybody else to get me pumped about winning a major.
So you still have goals you want to achieve?
I want to be World No1 again. I want to win another Olympic gold and more grand slams. Everybody has the dream to win the most grand slams in history.
Are the players at the top of the men’s game the best group of players of all time?
When the current group have all retired, only then we can see where we all are in regards to grand slams won and our position in the record books.
Imagine for a second that you don’t win this year’s Wimbledon – who would you like to see win it instead?
I don’t ever go into a grand slam thinking I won’t win it. That’s not the mentality to have at this level. Or any level.
Not even the sneaky thought that it would be nice if Andy Murray won one?
He is a fantastic player who has had great success in tennis. He’s one of the best players in the world. There’s nothing to feel sorry for. The support for him at Wimbledon is probably the biggest I’ve seen. I guess that with that comes a degree of expectation. But anyone who has played him knows that he has the ability to win a grand slam. He is a top player and a really nice guy.
The recent golf World No1 has never won a major, while the current Open champion is ranked in the seventies. If you had to choose, which would you prefer?
Everybody wants to be the No1 at whatever it is they do, but in tennis, the way you normally do that is by winning grand slams. I am glad to have won a grand slam and I’m glad to have been World No1. I wouldn’t like to pick.
Your left arm gets more of a workout than your right when you’re playing – do you have to even them out?
Yes, otherwise you wouldn’t have a balanced body, and that’s not a good thing. I do extra gym work on my right, and that helps it a lot.
Could you win a match playing just right-handed?
I am right-handed in everything I do apart from tennis. I wouldn’t try it, though. I don’t think it would be very respectful to my opponent.
Any pre-match rituals?
It starts with a cold shower – I always come out of the shower a different man. I go in a regular guy, but I come out in the zone. Then I put my music on, get taped up and put the grips on every racquet I am taking out on court.
Do you ever look back on some of the outfits you’ve worn on court and cringe?
[Laughs] I always think I have looked good.
Are you still friendly with some of the Spanish national football team?
I have a lot of very good friends in the national team and I’ve been in the dressing room after important victories, which is a real honour. Carles Puyol plays tennis a little and is supposed to be quite good. He hasn’t asked for any advice, though.
Have you seen Djokovic’s impression of you?
Of course. It was very funny, but I told him he didn’t get my hair flick right.