Nadal beats Federer on his terms

"When I am playing, when I am hitting the ball during the point, the last thing that I am thinking is try to bother the opponent," he said. "The only thing I am focusing [on] is try to hit my ball well. That's it.

"I am sorry if I bothered somebody, but I never did in the past. … Nobody in my career told me nothing about this, that I am bothering the opponent. … I think I did the normal things that I do in every match."

That was obviously the problem for Federer, though Nadal called it his best match of the tournament.

"I think he tried to play very aggressive, taking the ball very early," Nadal said. "But if you go to YouTube and you see the video of 2012 match [in which Nadal defeated Federer in the semis here in four sets], you will see that he was playing very, very aggressive, too. …

"I saw that video today. I see the way that he will try to play again. But the important thing for me is to serve well, to resist [his charge] in the beginning [because] when the match is longer, that's more difficult physically to play with that intensity -- to play that aggressive [for] a few hours. Mentally and physically, it's very tough."

Classic Nadal, he once again became stronger, more precise as the match wore on, which he said was accomplished because he felt "more confident" with "more power in his legs."

After an uneven history here and missing last year's tournament because of a knee injury, Nadal, 27, said it was "emotional" being able to come back and reach his third final here.

"In 2006, I didn't have the chance to play [because of] the injury to my feet at the end of 2005 in Madrid," Nadal recalled. "In 2010 against Andy [Murray], I had to retire because of a problem in the knee; 2011, I didn't want to retire, but I had a strain on the muscle in my leg the third game of the match. Last year, I didn't have a chance to play here.

"A lot of years I didn't have a chance to play in this tournament that I really love so much with the perfect condition, so is very special I have the chance to be in the final here again."

As for Federer, 32, who has beaten Nadal in only two Grand Slam tournaments, both on the grass courts of Wimbledon, this tournament was still a success, he said, after a year in which he struggled with back problems and failed to reach a Slam final for the first time since 2002.

"I needed a good moment again because I've been going through a tougher time for some time," he said. "Even though you can say that Basel was better, Paris was better, London was better, the results were slightly better, but the game itself was not necessarily amazing.

"It was solid but what I like to do is take it to the guy. I like to be in command. That's what I was able to do now the last couple of weeks. So that's very encouraging. … This is a step in the right direction, and that's the way I want to go. I have a belief this could be a very good year for me again."

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