Flushing Meadows, NY – After Roger Federer’s stunning loss today at the US Open, Rafael Nadal wonders if he will ever face the Swiss Master in Flushing.
“For two times we were one point away,” Nadal said after his 6-7 6-4 6-3 6-1 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber. “For this time we were one match away. But is always the same, no? You make the confrontations before the draw. When the draw is coming and in the first round you always talk about quarterfinals. To be in quarterfinals you need to win four matches. That not easy for nobody. That’s a point that I say.
“When I see the draw, I think about my first round. If I win, I think about my second. That’s it. I don’t see the quarterfinals or the fourth round before the first round. You know how tough is every tournament, every match. In conditions like today is even tougher.”
On a very humid night where every player went through a few shirts, Nadal fought through his match to reach the quarterfinals and with David Ferrer and Tommy Robredo also in the quarter, this is a boon for Spanish tennis.
“I think it’s great,” Nadal said. “I think it’s great new for the Spanish sport, the Spanish tennis. Is great that we were able today to win very hard matches, all of us, in a very tough conditions. That’s because we really were ready for the fight.
“David is always a fighter. Tommy is always the same. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing after a year without having the chance to play tennis. Surgery, you know. He’s not younger anymore. To be back at the level he’s playing, you feel the passion and the love for the sport. That’s always a great example for the rest of the players and a great example for the kids.
“What he’s doing is great. I hope he stop here (smiling). But is great. I am happy for him because he deserve. He wanted a lot to be back.”
But even with the fellow Spaniards in the quarters, Nadal is still disappointed about missing Federer.
“To be honest, going to be great if we were able to play that final, because I felt that our rivalry for so many years we were able to play in all the best scenarios, stadiums, around the world,” he said. “Played the rest. Three finals of the Grand Slams.
“So probably that deserves to have that match here in the US Open, too, the biggest court of the world. But didn’t happen. That’s don’t mean cannot happen in the future. We’ll see. Hopefully. But is true that we are getting older, so the chances are less today than five years ago.”
With Federer 32, you have to wonder if it will ever happen and if it does, it may be now in the first week of the Open, if the Swiss Master keeps dropping in the ranks.
But for Nadal, it’s ever onward and Robredo is now his opponent on Wednesday, someone he knows very well.
“I was able to practice with him in Barcelona when he was starting another time, when I was starting another time,” Nadal said. “We practiced in Barcelona before I fly to Viña del Mar, the first tournament in Chile. I never had any doubt about Tommy.
“You see when a player is serious, when a player is ready to work, a player who feels the game and the passion, have the passion for the tennis. The beginning, when he was coming back, he didn’t win lot of matches in Chile, in Sao Paulo, in Acapulco, I was talking with my coach. I said, He will be there for sure at the end of the season because he’s ready to work and he’s a serious player. The players who are ready for the work and are ready for fight the tough obstacles that the competition brings you are the players at the end of the season are in the best position in the rankings.
“What he is doing is great.”
It should be a heck of a match even without Federer.