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January 7, 2016

Rafael Nadal

Doha, Qatar

R. NADAL/A. Kuznetsov

6-3, 5-7, 6-4

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk a little bit about the match. It was obviously a bit of a challenge there. You held mentally to come through, but you lost your serve four times.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Well, he played amazing, I think, no? He played so crazy with amazing shots. It was so difficult to be under control, no?

It's true that I missed the serve more times than what I wanted. But I played only a real bad game with my serve at 4-3 in the second set, no?

The rest, his return was amazing and he was playing so good, no? I think the level of him tonight have been really amazing. I think I played a great third set, because if not, I will not be in that semifinal.

Q. How much do you know about your semifinal opponent?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I saw him play during the whole week. He's playing fantastic. The match against David was great, and today against Jeremy he played amazing, too.

He's playing with big confidence. So it will be a big challenge for me tomorrow and I hope to be ready for it. That's all what I can say.

Q. One thing that I noticed, this fan I spoke to, he got a bit late. It was like he wanted to watch your game more than Djokovic's match. And that has been a perception. Everyone wants to see Rafa play. So what is it about your game that makes you so popular? Especially with women and the crowds in general.
RAFAEL NADAL: You have to ask them (smiling).

I don't know, no? I just try my best. And I don't know. I don't know what can I say? Just can say thanks to the fan.

Q. You have changed your racquet strings for the new season. Can you explain what the difference is exactly and why you switched?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't want to talk much about that, seriously. Always we work to try to improve. That's it. That's why I change, but I think that's it. Nothing really special.

Q. Usually we either see Uncle Toni or Francis with you. They are both with you here. Is that something that's going to happen more frequently this year? If so, why that decision?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I happy with having the both coaches here. Toni give me a few things that Francis don't, and Francis give me a few things that Toni don't, no?

So we had that experience last year playing in Beijing and Shanghai, and it was a great experience. It's not going to happen all the weeks, but I think we will be fine if that can happen more often than in the past.

I'm happy when both of them. With me, I feel happy and I feel that we work the right way. And that's it, no? I think is important for me when both are with me. I think and I hope gonna happen more times this year.

Q. So it will happen at all the Grand Slams?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't -- I'm not sure.

Q. Australia?
RAFAEL NADAL: Francis is coming to Australia, but I am not sure until which day.

Q. Can you tell us what you told yourself at the end of the second set? And how you were able to get back on top mentally?
RAFAEL NADAL: He finished the second set playing amazing, and I know I had to put something more on my game to try to have chances on the third, because the way that he was playing was so difficult to stop.

So I tried to play more aggressive, I tried to play with a little bit higher intensity, and I was able to do it. So that's why I am here with a victory and an important victory for me. Being in semifinals is great news for the start of the year, and tomorrow another tough match. And that's it.

That's the most important thing of that victory is tomorrow I gonna be on court again. All the matches helps.

Q. The first Rafael Nadal Academy will be launched soon this year. Do you have other plans to launch new ones in other countries? Why not here one in Doha?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I don't know, no? I am happy and very excited about the first academy. First centers are going to be in Mallorca in Manacor in my home town, and we want to make sure that we really do the right work and we want to do the things 100% the right way.

Without having the first center at home, that would be impossible, no? Because we will not have the control of that. I believe that we have all the knowledge necessary to have an academy today because we know all the process in all ages how we have to work with the kids and at the same time for us it's so important the education and the values, and that's why inside the academy we're gonna have a school, we're gonna have a medical center and we're gonna have, I think, the right people to help the kids to become the best players possible but at the same time to prepare them for the life, for the future, no?

So for us the education is at the same level of tennis. For us it's the same importance, the education and the tennis level.

So we're gonna work hard to try to make sure that the kids that are coming there they want to work hard on the tennis game, and I think we're gonna have the right professionals for that, but for us it's so important too that the players who will not be on the professional tour they have the possibility to go to the university after the academy and at the same time with the right values and the right education to keep going, because sports and education goes so close together.

Q. You already dropped two sets here in three matches. Does that sort of worry you a bit in terms of finding the consistency?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I'm happy with that. No, no, winning matches in three sets is very good news and very positive thing.

That's happens when you are fresh mentally, when you are able to analyze well what's going on in the match. And last year I lost a lot of matches like today's match. So for me it's so important to win these kind of matches. Even more important to win a match like today than a match like yesterday, and that gives me confidence. That makes me feel stronger, and that's how I can go to the highest level possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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