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March 15, 2016

Rafael Nadal

Indian Wells, California

R. NADAL/F. Verdasco

6-0, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How important are wins like that when you have a great first set but you really have to battle at the end of the second?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, well, so important, no? I lost matches similar to this one in Australia, in Bueno Aires, in Rio de Janeiro, so it's important winning sets like this for me like the other day in the third, today in the second.

You know, I have to go through these things, no? I played a great first set, very good quality of tennis, I think. No mistakes. That's important for me. Serving very well; returning very well.

Then having some mistakes in the beginning of the second, especially with the serve, then distract my concentration, distract my confidence, and I was suffering at the end of the second set, too, no?

I know arriving to a tiebreak against a player like Verdasco normally he serve better than me. You know, normally in these kind of match I have more to lose than him, so he's able to play very aggressive. He has an amazing shots, no? He arrives to the tiebreak and you know you're in trouble.

Feel lucky to win the tiebreak, and at the same time I think at the end of the tiebreak I played well with not many mistakes and going for the points.

So is an important victory for me. Two matches wins here, tough ones. That's something that stays in my mind and helps.

Q. You said something the other day which I agree with, where you said that you have been honest with the media about your play and your injuries. After this comment by that French political figure, inside, you know, what are your feelings? I mean, do you feel upset? Anger? Do you ever ask why these are directed at me? Could you share a little bit of that, please.
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Seriously, I said the other day, I am a little bit tired about this, these thing. I want to play tennis. That's why I'm here. That's why I worked all my life, to play tennis. That's something that I like, something that I enjoy and something that I am here, because I have been working a lot during all my career since I was a small kid.

So I say what I had to say the other day. I don't need to repeat that. That's it. I don't want to talk anymore about that because it's over for me, and now the they just is gonna talk and my lawyers gonna talk.

Q. What do you know about Alexander Zverev who you will play next round? Seems to be one of the younger players coming now strong on the tour.
RAFAEL NADAL: He's a clear possible future No. 1. He's an amazing player. He has all the shots. Very good physical performance. Tall, good serve, first and second, great shots from the baseline, forehand and backhand.

He has everything to become big star and he's playing well. He won already matches against Dimitrov, against Simon today. So I don't know the other matches he won. Against who? Dodig? So three very good matches, no?

Going to be a very tough match tomorrow for me, and I have to be ready to fight, to suffer, and to try to play aggressive. That's what I gonna try, no? Try to put a high rhythm and let's see. I know going to be a very tough match. I happy the way I played today the first set, so if I can keep going the same way tomorrow, I hope to have my chances.

Q. When Richard Gasquet faced his ban, you spoke out publicly in his defense. You called him a friend and welcomed him back to tennis and said you believed him. The other day with Sharapova you said that she faced the consequences. So I want to know, what is the difference of these two situations in your mind?
RAFAEL NADAL: What happened with Gasquet? Do you remember why?

Q. Yeah.
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know about Sharapova, what's going on. Gasquet I have known since I was a kid. We were together playing since we have 12 years old. I know the mentality of Richard. I know how good person he is. I know he love the sport. I know he will not do nothing to go against the values of the sport. And I personally talk with him when that happened and 100% I believe him.

Q. And in the case of Maria?
RAFAEL NADAL: In the case of Maria, I really don't have the whole information, but is something that I say the other day. I didn't say it nothing against her. I said probably is a mistake, but when somebody make a mistake have to pay the consequence, no?

So that's it. I don't want negative things for nobody who are not trying to do the things in a bad way. I don't want negative things for the people who are trying to do the things the right way. But the people who are trying to lie, the rest of the players trying to lie the sport values, for sure they don't deserve to be competing. They obvious don't show respect for sport.

100% against these people that don't love the sport, because is -- as I said the first day here, the sport must be clean, but at the same time must look clean because we are in front of the kids. We are in front of the TV. We should be an example of values and doing the things the right way, spirit of, you know, work, work harder.

So that's it. I don't know the case of Maria. Is true that I don't have the whole information about this medication, so I cannot talk anymore about that.

Q. When the second set like that is slipping away, how hard is it to keep your mind on that set and not slip over to what you're going to do in the third set?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's obvious that in the second set I have been suffering at the beginning, but at the same time, I had my chances. I have a break point for 4-2 and serve. I had another 30-All later with 5-4, I think.

So at the beginning was tough, but my feeling was at the end of the set, before the tiebreak, I have been much closer than him to finish the match than to lose the set, no?

But is always in the tiebreaker, I have been losing during the whole tiebreak, so he was in advantage. The normal thing with that situation is lose the tiebreak.

But I fighted for every point and finally I find the success. At the same time, I feel that I deserve something like this because I lost a few tough ones.

Q. If I can ask you something off the match? With all your endorsements, you have your own logo, you're an identity in the sports world, do you consider yourself as a person, a brand at all that because of everything? As I said, the logo that you have of your own and all the different things you endorse and that you, as a person, decides that, just the brand.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that in America, in America they think a lot this way, but I am from Spain. (Smiling.) I am from Mallorca, a small village, and for me difficult to think that way. I just can say thank you very much for all the support that I received during all my career from different companies, different sponsors.

To see the support of very important companies supporting me and they want me like an ambassador of the company, something that I feel very proud of, and I feel honored about that.

But I really know that all these things are for a few years, so I don't consider myself nothing that special like brand, something like this. I just consider myself a good tennis player. Is obvious that because I had good results, and I hope because I had the right values on court and off court I have a lot of companies that support me during all my career. That's something that I am very happy with.

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