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May 7, 2016

Rafael Nadal

Madrid, Spain

A. MURRAY/R. Nadal

7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had opportunities to come back in the first set when you were 4-1 down, and then it was 5-All. What happened out there? Was it that Murray was playing very well?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the first set was very fair. Apart from that, he was better than me, even though I managed to be 5-All. I think it was a different story in the second set. I had more opportunities than him. I had higher rhythm and tried to play aggressively to win the set.

After that, served very well. In the second set was serving really well. In general, he was a little bit better than me, and we have to congratulate him for his victory and recognize that he has played better than me in the important moments.

Q. How do you leave this week after everything that happened? Here you made it to the semifinals.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think I had another positive week. I made it to the semifinals. I think I'm very consistent every week. This is good news. Well, today mentally I think I was okay. I fought a lot until the end. I tried to look for solutions, and I think I did that; it wasn't enough.

I had opportunities to make it be enough, but, well, the reality is that I was capable of fighting back and to try to find a solution. After that, I just missed a little bit. Overall my feelings are good. Perhaps some moments I wasn't playing so good and others I was playing really well. I was just missing a little bit more of intensity with my drive.

I had to be a little bit stronger in my shots. I had to maybe play a little bit harder, which is what makes the difference. Maybe I did a little bit more in the second set than in the first set, but I just needed to hurt him a little bit more with my shots.

Well, I think I'm on a positive path. I hope to continue on this path. I feel happy competing. I'm comfortable. Also when I train, I train with a lot of joy to continue going this way.

Q. Yesterday you were saying that to be able to beat Murray you had to be at your highest level. Do you think today you were at your highest level?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, Murray was not unbeatable today. I think it was an open match, an even match. We fought a lot. At the end there were just a few decisive balls. Whoever plays those better is the one who wins the match.

I think he did it, especially in the serve. As I said, here in Madrid you can see the difference a little bit more. Perhaps more than other places. That's why he managed to obtain a lot of free points, especially in important moments.

Well, of course I didn't play my best level, but I didn't play badly. I think I played a medium level, which was not enough to beat Murray today. Some moments I played very well and others, as I said before, I didn't play so well. I just needed a little bit more and just needed to play a little bit better with my drive.

That's what I have to try to do next week. That's all.

Q. Do you think that the breakpoints where you didn't play so well were a turning point and decisive points to be able to compete against top players?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, compete. I competitive. I'm the second in the race because I'm competing. At the end, well, in Monte-Carlo I managed to win; here I've lost. But the same way I lost, if you look at what happened out there, I could have won.

You know, you have to criticize yourself to be able to do things better. You have to criticize yourself to get better and better. It's true that without doing a great match I wasn't far away from winning the second best player in the world, and this is what we've seen today out there.

After that, talking about the breakpoints, I think in the second set I only played two of the 13 breakpoints that I had with second serves, one which was the first game.

Perhaps I needed to play a little bit more bravely. Then the other one were 4-2, 30-40. It was a second serve. Until that moment he was playing flat, and then he just sliced the ball. I couldn't close it out properly.

But that's all. Apart from that, it is not that they were breakpoints that I had options to dominate and I didn't. Wasn't that today. He was serving very well at very high speed since the beginning. It's not that I did a disaster in those moments. I was there trying my best.

Q. You were talking about your dominating shots. You have to dominate more. How can you do that again?
RAFAEL NADAL: Just playing a little bit better, striking a little bit better the balls. Normally sport is very simple. I have the confidence, but if you don't have confidence after winning two matches, well, it's complicated to find confidence. So I have to say I have confidence. I'm calm. I am doing thing properly. I am training well.

Perhaps today I had to go a little bit more for my shots. That's all. Just have a little bit more feeling with my drive. It's true that here in Madrid either you have a very good feeling or it can be a little bit more complicated than other places. The ball goes a little bit longer, and I think that because of that, perhaps there were some points where I played a little bit shorter than I wanted to.

Then he had a couple more options to dominate the point. I think I'm better than other players when I play at high intensity. I think normally I have a high intensity and I have superior level. But when I play at lower intensity, perhaps they do things a little bit easier than me.

So I have to play with intensity and I have to try to give my highest intensity in every single shot. I was just missing a little bit of that.

As I said, in the second set I did it a little bit better. I think in the second set I just missed a little bit to step in and be ahead. That's the only thing I needed. That's my feeling, and I think that's what happened out there.

Just if I had a little bit more in the second set I would've been ahead in the second set and I would have options. Wasn't like that. Finally he made the break. After that you're behind. That's all.

Q. For years you have been winning Barcelona, Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Rome, are you calm when you step into Rome? You have a very good curriculum. I mean, if you don't have pressure.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, when you feel happy you have less pressure. When you feel good you don't have so much pressure on you. We still have two tournaments on clay court this season, and I achieved more points than last year in all of the clay court season. So this is something that we've seen.

Also, the feeling that I have when I play in the court and the consistency that I'm showing and general level, it's superior compared to last year's.

Well, on these three tournaments I have been able to win two, and one making it to the semifinals, so the clay season is great. Let's try to continue this way or maybe try to put up the rhythm a little bit more.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. What did you think the difference was between you and Andy Murray in that match?
RAFAEL NADAL: A few points.

Q. Give us a few thoughts as to maybe where it went wrong for you today.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the first set he played better than me. I think in the second was a different story. I played more aggressive. I increased the intensity and rhythm of the game. I had more opportunity than him in the second, no? Even if he had the two breaks and he had the set, I had many more chances than him on the return.

I was playing well, no? So first set I think nothing to say. He was better than me. Second set I believe that I was a little bit unlucky.

Q. Were nerves much of a factor today?

Q. Nerves, anxiety a factor on the court today?

THE MODERATOR: (Through translation.)


Q. You said earlier that you lacked maybe a bit the intensity today in the second set. Are you surprised it happened like this, or what do you think about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: What happened?

Q. You missed some intensity.
RAFAEL NADAL: I increased intensity, no? I think I fighted a lot during the whole match. I tried my best. I fighted every single point as much as I could.

It's true that to play these kind of matches for me it's better if we play with a little bit warmer conditions, higher bounces. That helps to my spin. It's true that the last two days I was not lucky with that, that I was practicing great during the whole week with the sunshine there and the bounces have been high and so difficult for the opponent.

But it's true last couple of days the conditions are colder, cloudy, and it's not the ideal conditions for me. Even like this, for sure it's not an excuse, no? You have to adapt to all the conditions if you want to have success.

I think Andy adapted better than me to that conditions. Even I increased a little bit the rhythm in the second, that, in my opinion, was a good level for me in the second set. Just needed a little bit more in some moments. I needed Andy didn't serve that well in those breakpoints.

Q. Can you spot any improvements that he has made on clay from your match last year to this year? In the sort of form he's in at the moment, do you think he can go far at Roland Garros?
RAFAEL NADAL: We cannot talk about improvements every single day, no? People not improve dramatically that quick, no? Andy is a great player, so he really doesn't need to improve a lot to win titles and to have success on clay, no? He's playing well.

In Roland Garros? What you mean, because he played Roland Garros last year and lost in five sets? He can win the title. If you were in the semifinal two times and you lost in five sets in semifinals, it's obvious that you can win the title, no?

But like everybody, you need to arrive fresh physically and mentally and playing your best tennis. Roland Garros is a tough tournament, two weeks, best-of-five sets, and anything can happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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