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November 3, 2015

Rafael Nadal

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You have been saying the last few weeks that you think things were getting better. Was last week another step forward?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I played well last week. Played every single match. Finished the tournament with good feelings. I lost a match that I could win. Decided in a few points at the end.
Just happy for the last three weeks playing two finals and one semifinals. Both matches that I lost was in three sets, so competing well against very good players and winning against good players, too.
Just happy about the way that I am practicing. Is important for me to not just practice well, compete well and last week I competed well again.

Q. How is the knee doing? I guess you're still playing doubles?

Q. The knee?
RAFAEL NADAL: Knee is fine, yes. Thank you.

Q. What was it exactly?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I had a movement that I felt something, and that's it. And then in the final, I put again the bandage more for application than anything. I felt a little bit again, no? I practiced yesterday, I practiced today, and now I don't have no feelings.

Q. How important is it for you to play a lot of matches at the end of the year to build for next year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am playing a lot. I played last three tournaments. I played all the matches possible, just one less with the semifinals. But that's, as I said, when I arrived to Beijing that my main goal is arrive to the next season with enough energy, with the level that I would like, I would like to.
But that, don't says that I don't gonna try my best in every single match. That's what I am doing. I am trying to put the things and to try to practice the things on competition that we are doing on the practice courts and things are going I think well.
And here is another opportunity to keep doing this. Let's try it. Is obvious that if you finish the season playing better, then it's easier, I start better.

Q. In which way playing doubles helps you to find back your rhythm, your shots? And why do you play here with Leander?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, because he asked me to play few months ago, and we supposed to play in Beijing. Then I don't know why we don't play. So we play here.
Gonna be an experience, and for me, you know, playing doubles here, I don't know, I don't know if it's the ideal situation for me because I played a lot of matches and I am practicing a lot.
But I said yes to Leander, so I gonna play. But normally if I am in a tournament that, like Basel, for example, that I play Monday, then Tuesday I can play doubles, play Wednesday singles, and Thursday play doubles again. Then is great. For the return is important for me and returning more inside the court.
In doubles is another chance to practice that under little bit of pressure, not the same like singles, a little bit of pressure. So that helps. Helps you for the volley, too, and to go a little bit quicker. That's it.

Q. Are you saying you're working hard on practice court? Are you doing new things in practice?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am working a little bit more in specific things than more than before. I am enjoying doing this kind of thing because I feel that I am really working on things that we believe that can helps for the future. And for the moment, I think myself and all my team is happy the way that we are doing the things.
The things we are practicing, we are practicing with‑‑ you know, we practice, let's say three hours last couple of months every day, you know, so before we were doing a lot of time of just hitting balls. Now we are doing a little bit, you know, the distribution of the time is a little bit different. We take more time on the return, we take more time hitting more winners and doing specific shots that we want to work on, no?
So the same time is good to practice a little bit different when you feel that something need to improve.

Q. As you know yourself, sometimes the period after the US Open is quite difficult for the top players because the Grand Slams are finished.
RAFAEL NADAL: Depends. For the hard court players, normally not.

Q. Okay, well, for a lot of players, it's a slightly strange period of the season. I'm just wondering how surprised you are at Novak's incredible record in recent years in this period of the season, how he seems to sort of keep his motivation and standards and just keep going right to the end of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he likes to play there. You know, he likes this surfaces, so he feels comfortable. And, well, he feels comfortable almost everywhere, no? So when you play with the level of confidence and with the level of tennis that he's playing, it's normal that you can have very good results everywhere, no? And that's it.
But Roger did very well, too. He won in Shanghai a couple of ‑‑last year, I believe. He played well in Basel a lot of times, too. So I think the best players on hard courts and indoor courts, normally they play well.

Q. What is your schedule in the offseason? Are you going to IPTL?

Q. How long?

Q. Will you do training there and take a coach?
RAFAEL NADAL: Take what?

Q. A coach.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, sure.

Q. Toni?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, and we will be from 5th to 13 or 14. I go there. I do all the things that I have to do there. But I have booked practice courts every day for three hours. So for me, it's like the offseason preparation. Even if I am going there and going to be exciting to play in different‑‑ in countries we don't play very often.
So for me, I play there, but at the same time, it's my preparation for next year. I not just going there to play four matches and one set. I go there to prepare myself for next year.

Q. What's your opinion on the new stadium and the new facilities here this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't see the stadium. Sorry for that. Let you know later. The new facilities are good. I think a big tournament deserve facilities like this.
In my opinion, as I said before, the facilities of the past years have been difficult for everybody, for organization and for the players, too, because you have to go different places to practice. Was so difficult to practice. And at the same time, it's a Masters 1000.
So in a Masters 1000, you need to have the right facilities, and now you have much better facilities. So just can say congrats to the French Federation and thank you very much for that new improvement to this tournament. So all the players say thanks for that. Probably the crowds, too, no?
That's great that the important Federations invest and improve the tournaments. And that's great news to our sport because that's, at the end of the day, brings our sport to the next step and next level of everything.

Q. You're playing in the World Tour Finals in London. It's been a difficult year for you sometimes. Was there any time in the year when you thought I might not play in the Finals at the end of the year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Well, because I don't qualify or because I don't want to play?

Q. Because you wouldn't qualify.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I thought I gonna qualified (smiling). I don't know, but I always believed that I gonna be in the top 8 at the end of the season, but always with the respect. I have enough humble to say, Okay, if I keep playing bad, so probably gonna be in trouble. But I had the feeling in some moments I gonna play better, no?
I believe, I think, my level is to be there in the top 8. So even if I had the tough moments this year, you know, the year is long, and the normal thing is you have some good weeks to qualify for it, no? So that's it.

Q. With that last question, were you saying that you thought you might not go because you might not want to play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I always thought that I gonna qualify, but if it's obvious that I feel myself ‑‑if I continue myself with feelings that I had couple of months ago that I was not enjoying ‑‑

Q. Physical?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not physical, no. Mental.
So I was not enjoying on court and not feeling myself competitive, so then in most difficult tournament of the year, in the toughest surface for me of the year, probably will not make sense to play, play for plays. Don't make sense, no. Play to enjoy and play to be competitive 100%, yes.
The story now is different, no? I am enjoying on court. I don't have that nerves that I had during the season. Doesn't matter if I lose, I win, but I am enjoying on court, I am enjoying on practice court, so I gonna be there.

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