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May 11, 2016

Rafael Nadal

Rome, Italy

R. NADAL/P. Kohlschreiber

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How much satisfied for the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Very satisfied. I think I played at a very high level in all aspects. I think the forehand down the line, that is very important shot for me. In Madrid I miss it. Worked great tonight. And I feel like I practiced well these two days, and I started very good the tournament.

Q. Kyrgios next. You haven't played him since Wimbledon a couple years ago. What are your thoughts on that match, and what the keys are to playing a guy like him? Very emotional and flashy?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the keys are always the same, is play very well. That's it, no? No, no, no. As I always say, the sport is very simple. If you play well, you have good chances. If you not playing well, chances are much less, no? So that's how it works.

And tomorrow is a tough match against a player that is for sure today one of the best players of the world. He play well today against a tough opponent like Raonic, so will be a tough match for me. I need to be playing very well tomorrow, and it's an opportunity to play against a great player. I'm excited about it.

Q. You mentioned your forehand, which is obviously your most famous shot. But you played great even with your backhand tonight, I think, especially in the second set. I have never seen you, in the last two years, play that confident on your right side. Do you think it's a good benchmark for your health, for the health of your tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think is easy, no? I play few tournaments well in a row already. Last four tournaments I played, I played at the right level. Very similar level all the time. Not playing up and down. Competing well against everybody. That make me feel confident and still like this, no, enjoying on court. I enjoyed the match of tonight against a difficult opponent. Wasn't an easy first round. Obviously he came here playing well.

I think both of us played well tonight, no? So was a good tennis match, and I happy the way that I am through.

Q. And the backhand?
RAFAEL NADAL: The backhand? I hitting well the backhand during the whole year, no? For moments I was hitting better the backhand than the forehand during this first part of the year, so if I hitting well the backhand, then the only thing that I need to do is recover 100% my forehand.

Tonight was a great feeling with my forehand. Very good forehands down the line, as I said before. When that happens, the court is open and the possibilities are higher against everybody, no? Because the backhand was good down the line. Was good with the crossed. So now, for me, important thing is hit the ball long crossed, and then forehand down the line is the key.

Q. You've only played Kyrgios on grass. Do you expect something different from him on clay? Do you think he's playing a little bit differently on clay?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think on clay there is a little bit more of time than grass. It's a different kind of match.

He has a great level everywhere, no? He played great in Madrid. He played I think well in Estoril. And now he already won two matches here in straight sets against especially today against a very difficult opponent.

He has match and his shoulders already today on this surface, and he know how to play well here. So will be a tough one. For me, at the same time, is a very good test.

Q. Andy and Novak were saying the struggle to adjust to the conditions here compared to Madrid, it seems for you it went pretty easily. Any difference compared to last year? Is it more difficult?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is always a change because there is not altitude here, and the feeling on the ball is different.

But at the same time for me is easier to play here than in Madrid. That's the real thing, no?

I feel more comfortable on sea level than in altitude. But in Madrid is true that at the same time I had very good tournament, no? So no, no, nothing to complain, but today I played well. Let's see tomorrow.

Q. On Kyrgios, are you expecting to see him in major finals this year? Do you think he's getting close to making that step?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. We'll see. Remain three Slams. Tennis is not all about Grand Slams, and he's in a very good position on the raise at this moment. He's 11 or 12. He's very good position and remain more than half a year on surfaces that he likes.

So grass and then hard courts. I think he's having a great year and will be a great year for him, no? It's obvious that, you know, need to go step by step and I think he's going step by step but great.

Every time he's closer to be able to win Slams and to be able to win big tournaments, and in the same time he has a good chance this year I think to finish in the top 8. That will be a great year for him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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