Rafael Nadal says the large bloody blister on his left hand prevented him from serving hard enough in his four-set quarterfinal win over Grigor Dimitrov, but he is hoping it will heal enough to give him a little more pop for his semifinal against Roger Federer. Nadal’s first-serve speed dropped from an average of 185 kilometers per hour (114 M.P.H.) to 168 kilometers per hour (104 M.P.H.) from the fourth round to the quarterfinas. His second serve speed dropped eight kilometers per hour.
“I feel that with the tape I can lose the racquet when I serving," Nadal said. “That's my feeling. The racquet can go. That's a terrible feeling for a serve, because then when you have this feeling you are not able to accelerate at the right moment. You lose a little bit the coordination. That's a big deal."
"Serve like this produce me a problem for the rest of the things. When you lose the confidence with one shot, one important shot, then you are not able to play with calm the rest of the shots. So I going to try to improve that for after tomorrow that I need. If not, I not going to have the chance to be in the final. I hope to be ready for to improve.”
Federer joked that the injury might not matter, considering their lopsided history. Nadal owns a 22-10 record over Federer, including an 8-6 record on hard courts. Since the start of 2011, Nadal is 8-2 against Federer. Nadal beat Federer the last time they played, in the semifinals of 2013 ATP World Finals.
“Then 210 [K.P.H.] bombs are coming my way again,” Federer said with a laugh. “Who knows? He's been tough to play against, no doubt. I'm happy I get a chance to play him in a Slam again."
"The head-to-head record is in his favor. I'm looking forward to speaking to [my coaching consultant Stefan Edberg], because when we spoke together, when he came to Dubai and we spoke about the game, we clearly spoke about playing Rafa, as well. He thought he had some good ideas, so I'm looking forward to what he has to say. Clearly with [my full-time coach Severin Luthi], he knows him inside out. I'm looking forward to hear what the boys have to say. We'll prepare. I hope I can get a win.”
The top-ranked Spaniard, who won the match over Dimitrov during a breezy afternoon, is pleased that his match against Federer will be played at night.
“The conditions out there were not easy,” he said about the Dimitrov match. “Always is tough to play when the wind is there. Especially with that conditions that the ball is fast. Seems like the ball when you are hitting the ball, especially when you are playing with the wind, the ball stays not much time in your string. Goes very quick, and is very difficult to have control. If you are not going very early to the ball, then you have a problem."
"That happen much less when you're playing night sessions, so I going to play night. The only match that I played night and was a full match I played great was against [Gael] Monfils. That's the way that I need to keep playing. That's the way I'm going to try to keep playing. We'll see if I am ready. I hope.”
Federer has not beaten Nadal at a Grand Slam since the 2007 Wimbledon final. Nadal has won both of their prior meetings at the Australian Open, in the 2012 semifinals (6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4) and the 2009 final (7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2).