Photo: Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
Rafael Nadal about being in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer:
“I see it as natural. One player is almost 40, another is almost 35 and the other is 34. It seems logical that younger players climb in the Rankings. Whenever that happens you have these consequences with the seedings. I see it as completely normal. I’m not worried about it. I have a lot of work in front of me to play a potential match versus Djokovic.
They would need to play each other and I have my own path. My path right now is Popyrin and that’s where my mind is. My draw is hard enough to be thinking about anything else. I must continue my preparation, focus on my routines and keep advancing in the way we want.
He's young, he has the power. He has big shots. As always, I need to be ready for it. I need to keep practising the next couple of days, try to be in the best shape possible. I know every round is tough, I always respect every opponent. I respected everyone since the beginning of my career. And Popyrin is a dangerous one, so I need to play well and I'm looking forward to trying to make that happen.”
About the statue:
“The statue is spectacular. I think it is very real. If you haven’t seen it live, if you stay close you’ll notice. It’s a clean, modern statue and I’m very pleased. It’s really difficult to build a statue with that material and be so real as this one is.
“It means a lot. Having a statue within such a special place for our sport, in a place that is very special for me is something unique. Not being French, I can only say thanks to the FFT, to the former President who promoted it and the current President who continued with the project.” (via ATP)
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(AFP): Rafael Nadal said Friday that without the media "we will not be the athletes that we are today" as Naomi Osaka became increasingly isolated over her decision to boycott all French Open press commitments.
Japanese star Osaka caused a stir at Roland Garros by announcing that she will refuse to carry out any media activity at the tournament, claiming she fears the effect of them on her mental health.
Nadal, the 13-time French Open champion, said that even though he respected Osaka's decision, media coverage has driven the success of the sport.
"I understand her, but for me without the press, without the people who are writing the news and achievements that we are having around the world probably we will not be the athletes that we are today," said Nadal, a 20-time major winner.
"We won't have the recognition that we have around the world, and we will not be that popular."
• Press conference
• Interview for Eurosport (ES)
Rafa on conditions in RG-2021 vs RG-2020: "We're having good weather, it's sunny. Conditions are obviously more favorable than last year. Feelings are good. I'm practicing well. Then, you have to play well but for now, since I've arrived here, I'm pleased w/ how things are going"
Rafa on Popyrin: "He's an explosive player, with a great potential. He's one of those players who are dangerous when they have a good day. He's young and thus has a lot of energy. But in the end I just have to take care of what I can do and what I can do is to play well, to play solid and aggressive with my shots and make him hit his aggressive shots from uncomfortable positions. And that's what I wanna try."
Rafa on the statue: "It's surprisingly lovely. It's not easy to get a really good end result in this kind of statues, but I honestly think this one is very well characterized, very cool, modern, clean and very well made. Personally, it means a lot to me. It's the most important tournament in my career, and without being French, I'm getting a statue in a privileged place, at the RG main entrance. It means the world to me and can only be thankful to the FFT, to its current and former presidents and to the TD. It was a very emotional moment. It's true that here I've achieved something that I think is very difficult and special, but to think that my statue will be here exposed, for me is something very lovely and special." (via Genny SS)