Rafael Nadal's straight-set loss to Tomas Berdych dominated headlines on Day 9. Nadal waxed philosophical in his presser, refusing to engage in hypotheticals while crediting his opponent's strong and steady play. Bucking the cliche, though, he didn't take the bait when asked if Berdych can go all the way, noting the excellent form of other top players. Nadal's vanquisher allowed himself one day to enjoy the victory while coach Dani Vallverdu scouts his next match. Simona Halep put in a bleak performance against a surging Makarova, and seemed eager to move onto the next tournament.
Andy Murray, the youngster killer of this Aussie Open, silenced Nick Kyrgios and the Aussie crowd. In press, he chats about Kyrgios' on-court behavior, and downplays the drama of playing against former coach Dani Vallverdu. (Longtime friend and assistant coach Vallverdu left Murray's team on not-so-great terms, allegedly due to tension regarding Andy's hiring of Amelie Mauresmo.)
Maria Sharapova destroyed the hopes of another young gun, routing Eugenie Bouchard. She shared some quips from her father and ex-coach, Yuri, who clearly knows that the straightforward approach works for his daughter.
Q. We will never know, but do you think if you had won that third set it could have changed everything, or were you still feeling that Tomas had a little bit the upper hand?
RAFAEL NADAL: "If" doesn't exist in sport. That's the real thing. If, if, if - never comes. The thing is, you have to do it. I didn't have the chance to play the fourth; I lost the third, so that's it. That's sport. I lost the third. He's happier than me in the locker room. I am not very happy because I didn't competed the way I wanted to competed the first two sets and that's something that I don't like. But I tried my best again in the third. I was closer. I had some chances with the 4-All, some breakpoints. The tiebreak I was there fighting even that the situation was tough. But he played aggressive. The tiebreak, he served well. Two sets to love advantage makes the opponent play with more calm than if he is one set to love or one set all. That's a big difference.
Q. Speak a little bit about Berdych today. Do you think he has what it takes to go all the way in this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know if he can go all the way to win this. There's so many good players there that are playing very well. Andy is playing so well. We'll see. It's true that Tomas is playing well. Just happy to see the way that the tournament develops. The best players are there fighting for the tournament. Tomas is a very regular player that he deserves to be there. He have been in the top positions of the rankings for a long, long time, being very regular, being very professional on what he's doing. So he deserve that. And now let's see what's going on, no? For me, I feel that he resisted well in the third. But before was too easy for me to analyze the way he played. He played well, obvious. But my feeling was that I help him a lot in the beginning, no? Is easier to play well when you are up in the score, one break up, two breaks up from beginning of every set, no? That's a big deal, big difference.
Q. When you were out there really taking it to Rafa, what were you saying to yourself? Must have felt great.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Oh, it feels great. I mean, really the good thing is, as I said, the plan that we put together was the right one. Everything was working. I was able to execute it really well. But still, I mean, until the last point you can't think about anything else. You have to really keep going till the last one. When it's done, it's done. It's great. But I might be thinking about it and enjoying the time probably till tomorrow morning. When I woke up, I need to get myself ready for another one. As I said, I mean, there is a still long way to go in this tournament and I need to be ready for it.
Q. Are you watching the match tonight or do you prefer to enjoy your win doing something else?
TOMAS BERDYCH: No, actually, I'm going to keep Dani watching that match. I think that's the job for him. I don't have to spend really all the time to looking at that. But, yeah, I mean, I'm going to see something definitely. I mean, I'm interesting in that. I want to see something from it. But, as I said, you know, today I have the only time I can enjoy the victory. Since I wake up tomorrow morning just all the focus goes for the next opponent and my next match.
Q. Probably not your best today. Did it feel bad before the match?
SIMONA HALEP: I practiced very well in the morning, but maybe I was a little bit too stressed before I started the match. Wasn't my good day. I had a bad day. But she played well and everything was in for her. So she deserves this winning. I'm really sad a little bit now that I could not play my tennis, my game, but that's tennis and I have to look forward to the next tournament.
Q. Do you think you put pressure on yourself being the favorite in this match?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really pressure. I cannot say pressure. Just I was a little bit stressed. I don't know why. I had experience from last year to play quarterfinals, so it doesn't mean that I felt pressure. Just I didn't feel the game, the ball. Was a very bad day for me.
Q. We were all 19 once. What do you make of his on-court demeanor, showboating, that kind of stuff?
ANDY MURRAY: I actually think he's quite respectful on the court in many ways. He does applaud good shots. He does say, Good shot, good serve. Yeah, he gets frustrated with himself and sometimes says things he shouldn't, but everyone, I would think, has done that in some way when they're 19. It just happens that when he's doing it he's playing in front of a large audience and it gets picked up on. I've spent a little bit of time with him and I think he's a good person. I don't think he's a bad guy. He's nice. He's always been polite and respectful. Yeah, maybe he does the odd thing on the court that might annoy some people, but I don't think he does anything with bad intent. He's only going to continue to mature and improve in that respect as he gets older. He just needs to be allowed to grow up. Like everyone makes mistakes when they're that age.
Q. What will it be like having Dani in the opposite box in the semifinal for the first time?
ANDY MURRAY: I don't know. When I finished working with Miles MacLagan he started working with Baghdatis. I played against Baghdatis a few times. I played him at the Olympics. I played him in Tokyo with Miles there. Yeah, with Miles there I didn't really have an issue with it. But, again, I don't know, maybe I'll find it weird on the day. But, yeah, it's just something that you deal with as a player. My goal isn't to beat Dani; my goal is to beat Berdych. So I don't think about that in the next days.
Q. What did he say to you?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: In a nice version, it was like, This is unacceptable (smiling). He's like, It is much easier just having a normal home life. You should try it. I don't know why you're suffering out there for nothing. Make it easier for yourself.
Q. He feels like you're suffering for nothing?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Well, he told me that I was working much harder than I had to. If I was maybe a little bit smarter, did a few things maybe a little bit differently, maybe it could have been easier.