Q. Do you think you'll look back on this match as an opportunity that got away or a step forward in your progression?
All the credit to Rafa. He's been a tremendous competitor, great guy off the court. We had a great battles the past year and now again, and hopefully in the future more.
The one thing I'm really excited is to actually get back on the court in the upcoming weeks and start working and come up to the same stage and try to do it again.
Of course I'm deeply disappointed. I mean, I'm not going to lie. But, you know, in the end of the day I have to take the positives and the negatives out of the match and just kind of move on.
Happy with the situation at the moment. Again, all the credit to Rafa. I think he played a great match. Also his physicality came over towards the end of the match. He's not one of the best, I think he's the best player right now.
Hopefully we're going to have more battles in the future together.
Q. You exchanged some words at the net with him. What did he say to you?
In the end of the day I know I'm going to play him again. We have a lot of jokes here and there with him, but that's great. Of course, congrats to him and I think the team. That's just how it goes in the slams, in matches like this.
You know, he's a good man.
Q. What have these two weeks done for your confidence and belief going forward?
But I had expectations for myself. That wasn't just to go out there and play. So, you know, that's to me the biggest disappointment, the negative part of it, of course.
But in the end of the day, you know, I want to get to that position again, quarters, semis, final, whatever it is, any big tournament. That's my goal. That's why I'm actually excited to get on court in the upcoming weeks.
Of course I shed a few tears, but it should hurt. It should hurt. And it does hurt, so...
You know, I can take a lot of things, but at the moment I'm just a bit all over the place, yeah.
Q. Going into that fourth set having lost the last two tiebreaks so closely, how hard was it to go into that fourth set?
Even though I felt I had gaps here and there, he was never letting me take a charge of the point or any of his service games. He actually served really good in the fourth. We both struggled a little bit here and there occasionally, but that's in the game.
Again, I think, I mean, it's just different when you play against Rafa than any other players. In a way you know what to expect. Even though you know what to expect, sometimes it still goes his way.
But I'm excited. I'm excited. I think in a way the fourth set could have gone either way. Depends of the start. But, you know, the outcome wasn't very positive for me.
Q. Rafa said after the match that you have all the qualities to become a great champion. Do words like that mean something to you?
Again, tons of respect for each other. I appreciate what he said, of course. But I think I still have a long way to go out there and I need to improve. I need to improve every day. I felt that, you know, those two weeks, even though I haven't played my best tennis throughout the whole weeks, I still felt I've improved.
Actually the work that I've done in the past months, it actually comes in. To me, at that stage, at that point, that's the most important thing. It's good to refresh a little bit and get back.
Q. You mentioned his physicality in the fourth set. Do you see that's an area of your game you still need to improve?
You see up in the last eight out here, I mean, all those guys are Grand Slam champions. They're experienced guys. They're strong guys. Of course, everything has to, of course, build up and take its toll until you actually reach that stage.
But of course, I mean, I have areas. I know I have areas that I can definitely improve even more. I think it's just what I have right now is still work in progress. When I come out on the court or in the gym every day, I don't work for the day after. I look in the future.
At the end of the day, tennis is not a sprint. It's a marathon sport. You play five sets here, best of five. You know, it's always nice to see where you're at, especially in events like that.
Q. If you had that forehand again on the set point...
Q. Sorry. Would you go the same way? Were you worried about his forehand?
Q. Second set.
What can I say? It hurts. You know, I'm happy that I took the decision. Once you take decision, never look back. Same thing in life: you make mistakes, you make mistakes. It's in the past.
Obviously I got to put that in the past. You know, it's just a tough shot, you know (tearing up). It's a tough choice. I'm sure I could have done something different. I'm sure I could have done something different.
But in a match everything comes down to a split of a second. You know, it's whether in or out.