Rafael Nadal hasn’t dropped a set through three rounds of the Open and he’s looking more and more confident out there. He defeated Gilles Simon today 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
“Are you feeling better about this place?” said Bud Collins to open up Rafa’s press conference this afternoon.
Rafa noted that he had been to two semifinals here.
“Oh yes, that’s not bad,” said Mr. Collins.
“Well, I think I am playing better, a little bit better, every day. So today was a solid match, I think. The serve is still good, so that’s a very important thing. From the baseline, I think my movements and my shots start improve, to be better every day.”
He added: “The important thing for me is I played better today than two days ago, and two days ago I played better than five or six days ago. So that’s always important, and very good news to be improving during the tournament.”
We’ll take that as a yes! Rafa has definitely looked his most comfortable at an opening week at the Open since he’s been coming to New York.
Rafa, like Roger yesterday, was peppered with questions at a presser today about his no. 1 rival as the media–lacking another relevant narrative unless one of the Americans make a run for the Open–continues to drum up hype for a Roger-Rafa Final. Questions were: Do you feel like Roger has made you a better player? What’s better about Roger’s game? etc.
Also, Rafa denied a New York Post report from this morning that he wouldn’t get into a van that carried Roger’s visage on the side.
“Yeah, well, if you know me, you know that I not gonna do,” he said. “This is very stupid thing. I was in a van of the picture of Roger–both sides of the van–like 15 times these two weeks. So that’s very stupid thing. That’s never happen…I want this car because is bigger, and I am more comfortable with this car than with the others. You can see the car of Roger’s photo is there–is outside–is a van. So is much bigger than the other ones.”