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May 28, 2015

Rafael Nadal


R. NADAL/N. Almagro
6-4, 6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Can we say that your performance in clay in general and then in Roland Garros, can we say that, like, is it the stadium or the fans or your past record here that makes you play much better on this clay here in Paris as opposed to other clay tournaments also?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, it didn't happen in the past. I think I played a lot of years I played better in previous tournaments than here, even if I was able to win here at the end. It's a question of feelings, no? Every tournament is different, every year is different. No, no, is no issue about that. Is true that I feel comfortable. It's true that the center court is difficult to play. I like to play it.

Q. I guess you were pretty satisfied with how things went today, because it was a tough second round potentially?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sure, very happy. I think I played a good match against an opponent I think he didn't play bad through a lot of very hard games, long games. The score is easier than what the match was like. Very happy, I think I did a few things very well.

Q. There is many different styles that players have in terms of how quick their pace of play is between points. Nico I think is one of the faster players. You're one of the slower players. Tomic played today. He's even faster. And Lukas Rosol is very fast. Do you think it has any effect on the opponent, or is it more just personal style and how players are used to playing that there's so much difference in this pace?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Everybody does what is usual for him, for everybody, and is not issue about that. Yeah, I don't know why but is very interesting that we are talking a lot about time the last three years. I have been on the tour for 13 years, so for the first 10 years I have been on the tour I don't think I was quicker than now, and we were not talking about that. I don't know why (smiling).

Q. Yesterday I went to talk to Stefan Fransson about the players who ask to not be umpired by certain umpires, and he said there are many. You are not the only one. There are quite a few players who prefer not to have one umpire and another umpire. In general they try to avoid conflicts and problems because it's important that everything goes smooth. The question is: What if you were winning a lot of tournaments on clay and Bernardes, for instance, was supposed to umpire some finals, he would not be able to do that in this situation. Don't you think that this is not really fair, I mean, to him and tomorrow if Djokovic would say, Oh, I would prefer not to have, I don't know, Mohamed Lahyani in the finals when I'm playing the finals?
RAFAEL NADAL: Now I can answer or you continue?

Q. No, I just finish. I wanted to be clear, because sometimes I can be misunderstood.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I understand always very well you and...

Q. Thank you.
RAFAEL NADAL: I know you. The thing is easy. I asked to don't be umpired for some umpires in my career few times. Is not the first time that I did. And after a few tournaments he was on the chair umpire again with me. I never had any problem no one. I gonna go, I gonna leave this tour when that happens in one, two, three, four, five, six years, whatever. You will talk about -- you can do it after that. You can talk about all the people who work on the ATP, all the umpires, everybody if I really had some problem during the 13 years or 13 or 19 years that I gonna have my career, if I never had one serious problem with nobody, if I was not respectful with anyone, and then you come to Mallorca and you ask to me.

Q. I'm invited?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. You are not invited, because you are always talking about problemic things.

Q. You are so dominant in Paris here for years. Nonetheless, this year you are seeded as the No. 6. How do you deal with that?
RAFAEL NADAL: The what, sorry?

Q. You're seeded as No. 6.

Q. How do you deal with that this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: For the moment, I already won two matches. That's all. We can talk about rankings, but if I am the 6 is because, or I am 7 today, is because I deserve to be the 7. If I am worse than that after this tournament, that is a big chance that can happen because I deserve to be where I gonna be. When you have an injury for six months and then you come back and you're not able to win a lot in that first five months that I was playing is normal that your ranking gonna go back, and that's it. But being 10, 11, 12 or 2nd or 7th, not gonna change the things that happened in my career, not gonna change the things I'm going to work with and the motivation with my work. At the end of the day, you know, ranking is important, yes, but the most important thing is be competitive, feel healthy, and feel enough well to go to every tournament with the chance to compete well against everybody. That's more important for me than being in a higher position of the ranking. If that happens, I will be in a good position of the ranking.

Q. We know you are football fan. There are some big things happening in football world, like yesterday some senior officials from FIFA has been arrested maybe for corruption, I think. Do you hear of the news? What do you think about it? Are you just happy that there are no such things in tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: I follow the news around the world. I don't have 100% information, and maybe nobody have the 100% information today yet. So it's difficult to talk about. But it's obvious that, I mean, in the world of sport, in the world of football, in the world of tennis, politics, around the world, we need people who are fair and who are ready to work in a good way, being honest. And if there is some people that are not being honest with the rest of the people, then they don't deserve to be where they are. So if that's what happened on that case with some people of FIFA, is great news that these people will not be there again. So it's important to have the right people at every place.

Q. I watched a video of you talking about your 2005 run here when you won the title for the first time. I wonder if that 19-year-old could see what you have achieved here 10 years later, what would he think of Rafa in 2015?
RAFAEL NADAL: You thought about that in 2015? You think I can do what I did? I think not. Me neither. At the end of the day when I had 18, when I won the first time here, for me was in that moment the most important day of my career. I won one, and I always repeat the same, is true. After that victory I came back to hotel and I said, Okay, I won the most important thing that I can win in tennis. So then I gonna play with less pressure, more calm the rest of my career. The real thing is completely the opposite. Every year you play with more and more pressure, no? So what happened here since 2005 obviously probably nobody of this room could imagine that can happen, win eight more times after that one. I include myself on that thought. Is obvious that is great and I feel very lucky for all the things that happened to me here. Is true that I worked well, but at the same time is true that to win nine times in ten participations, you have to be healthy every year. You have to be playing okay every year. Nothing can happen in that two weeks. And I feel lucky I have the chance to compete well all the times.

Q. They are going to be voting tomorrow for the FIFA elections. I was wondering your opinions. Do you think it's good to have the same person to be governing in any sport, not just football, for such a long time?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is a tough answer, because at the end of the day I don't want to be involved in these kind of things. But my thought is in everything in the world is good to have combinations and good to have in politics, in sport, in world in general, no? And it's good, as I said before, is good to have the right people in every place. You know, it's good to have the people who knows about what they are doing, in football, in tennis, in countries. You know, is good to have people that they are prepared and know about what they are doing, no? Is true that I cannot say that if you are in the same place for a long time you will not be honest, but is true that the history says that is easier to be honest if you are in shorter periods of time, no? You are there and you come back later. The alternation is good in every place of the world, I think.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. Did you feel better this time than on the first day?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. My footwork was better. I felt better. I felt better than during the first round. I'm very happy with my performance and result.

Q. What Nico was saying is that this court is a huge court. What would you say about this court? How do you feel on this court compared to other courts? It's a huge court. There is enough place to take a little rest, so what would you say?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, frankly - and I don't want to be arrogant, because this is not who I am - but when I play well, when my performance is good, then I can tell you that this can happen on center court, but also somewhere else. It could be in Rome, could be in Barcelona or Monte-Carlo and it was a five-set match. Then in this case, I must say that this court is perhaps slightly bigger and therefore I think it's more windy. It's difficult to perhaps judge the right distance. If you're not used to playing on this court maybe that's true, the center court, is tougher to play on. But I feel good on this court. It's been several matches. I have played several matches on this court. What Nico said is totally correct. That is, if I were to choose between a smaller court or a bigger court and against Almagro, I'd rather choose a bigger court to play on when I play Almagro.

Q. Do you know Kuznetsov, your next opponent?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I know him. He he's aggressive, has huge potential. He's a hitter, and his shots can be winners. He's very dangerous. My objective is to keep on doing what I did today. My match was a good match. I will try and continue on the same tracks. That is, I will gain power. That's what I want and continue to be stable and solid and I hope I can roll out my plan.

Q. I wanted to know if we were to compare this match against Berdych, semifinals in Madrid, and this one, what would you say? It's the best match?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no, it was in Rome.

Q. Do you think it's more or less the same level of play that you had today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, why do you try and analyze matches this way or this match today? I think it's slightly different. Today the match I played was quite good, quite correct. I think I did what I wanted to do. That is, I was running for all the difficult points. My backhand was good. I didn't make many errors on the right shots, my forehand, and I played well. On clay I must say that during the season I was not here 100%, but if we compare this year with other years we could say so many things. But then if we were to talk about all the things I have done during my season on clay since Monte-Carlo, then the truth is that I didn't play well against Fognini in Barcelona and I didn't play well when I was playing Murray during the Madrid finals. And for the rest of the season I think I played rather well. I played well. As I said the other day, Roland Garros is an important tournament, that's true, but I'm not going to just only focus on Roland Garros. My career is not going to end if I were to be kicked out of Roland Garros tournament. Who knows what's going to happen? But, you know, I don't want to think too much about the long run, which is what I have said several times. In Australia, I played a good match, as well. In Brazil, as well. Well, the matches were not that good, but Buenos Aires, the final was good. Indian Wells, yeah, my match was good. I had ups and downs. In Miami, no, I didn't play well. That's true. The first one was okay; the second match was a very poor match. So I had my ups and downs. It was really ups and downs and ups and downs, and now that I can take a little distance and look at all of this, it was the case until Monte-Carlo. Monte-Carlo I played two matches really well and then two that were poor. Against Wawrinka I played quite well, I must say, even though the conditions were not the best or ideal. It was at night almost. I lost a set, and yet I wouldn't say I reproach myself with anything on this match. And then here, Roland Garros, you know, it's been two rounds already, they're quite good, so my dynamics are positive. I should look at things in a more comprehensive way. You know, I have to be with eyes wide open on what I do. I have to be optimistic, but not too optimistic. So good and positive dynamics and working hard so that I can continue and do this.

Q. Now, you were talking about the courts. You were saying, that Lenglen was faster.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no, Lenglen is usually slower than the Chatrier, the center court.

Q. Have you already played on Lenglen court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, to me, Lenglen is a smaller court. There are players that are not used to playing on huge courts; others would say it's easier. But to me Lenglen is slower than the Chatrier court.
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