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May 10, 2017

Rafael Nadal

Madrid, Spain

R. NADAL/F. Fognini

6-7, 3-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish and English.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Few players say after winning a match like this that they haven't played at their best level. You criticized yourself and the critics. Talk a little bit about the match.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) No, I wasn't criticizing myself. I was just realistic. I haven't played bad, I played really bad.

Well, I think that even though I played really badly, my attitude has been very positive. My attitude and the will to win today's match was there. My level of tennis was not so high today, but I managed to make it through the first round. It was uncomfortable.

I think before it wasn't so windy, but when I started playing, it was a really awful day. It was really windy.

It's true I've been through some difficult days with the issue of my ear, which cost me a little bit of general stability. I feel a little bit strange. But it's something that is getting better day after day.

Talking about the game in general, it's quite simple: I think there was a moment where he was playing really well. There was another moment where both of us played really badly. The third set, we leveled up.

I think we both played better than what we played in the first two sets. This is a positive thing. But that together with a couple of things, you know, it was the first match in altitude, then it was against an opponent that doesn't give you a lot of rhythm, and the weather today was not really good. Those three things are not good.

Also another thing I forgot. I was a little bit nervous today because it was the first day I played, and the conditions were completely different to the previous days. That makes the match very different. Luckily I was able to win, and tomorrow I have another opportunity. Hopefully I'm ready to do much better than today.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Matches like this where you don't play at your highest level, how important is it to win?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) It's true that depending on which round you play, playing badly you're not going to make it through. It's very important to try to play better. If tomorrow I don't play well, I will go home because tomorrow's opponent will be very difficult. I hope that tomorrow I will be playing better and I will be able to make it through tomorrow's round.

During the year there are always ups and downs. There are matches that you play well, matches that you play bad. The matches you don't play very well, you manage to make it through, they are very important. They give you a lot of confidence.

There are always tournaments where you play badly. If you manage to make it to the quarterfinals, then you leave it in the quarterfinals.

So these kind of matches like today, they give you a lot of confidence. Mentally they make you stronger. I think that this is very important. It's something we have to take from today. That's what really good players do.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) We saw you training with the wheelchair player. Have you played, as Djokovic, in a wheelchair?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) No, I've never played in a wheelchair.

I had played against him a lot. I even recorded a TV commercial with him. All the credit to that guy. I really admire him.

I think it's really difficult to do what they do. But it's true that when we're playing Grand Slams, depending on which kind of tournament, in Rome they also have tennis in wheelchairs. Sometimes when you finish training, I normally tend to watch them because it's spectacular what these people in wheelchairs do.

Q. (In English) You made some double-faults, maybe not hitting like you have been the past few weeks. Any special reason for that?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) Is always the same. Is not the serve, no? When you played bad, you play bad. I am not Karlovic, I am not Raonic, Isner. If I am playing bad from the baseline, the serve going to hold it, no?

I can serve well, but I not a player that going to do 20 aces. Serving well for me is serving well to have the chance to take the control from the baseline.

It's true that today I make some double-faults. But the biggest problem was when I serve well, the ball came to my forehand and I was not able to take advantage of that shot. That's the biggest problem, not the serve.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Talking about Roland Garros, what do you need to arrive in Roland Garros with confidence? Second question, are you going to see today's football match?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) First of all, talking about Roland Garros, the conditions there are completely different to what we have here. I said it already the first day. Out of all the tournaments that we play, this one is the less similar to Roland Garros. This one is really, really different to Roland Garros. Whoever says it's not different, he's lying.

Talking from infrastructure and facilities, perhaps this is the best tournament compared to Roland Garros. It's the most similar to Roland Garros.

I think here in Madrid we have to be very satisfied and very proud because we have one of the best tournaments in the world. There's no doubt about that. The facilities here are amazing. It's difficult that other tournaments are better than this one. It's difficult to have any other tournament like this in Madrid. We have to look after it. We have to be very proud of it. If any day we lose this tournament in Madrid, it's going to be impossible to have again another one like this one in Spain.

Talking about Roland Garros, well, to play well in Roland Garros, I need to do what I'm doing until now. I played really well in Monte-Carlo. I played really well in Barcelona. Today I didn't play so good, but I play again tomorrow, so that's good. Then we'll see what happens in Rome.

I don't know what can happen here and in Rome. I'm not thinking about that today. I am just thinking about tomorrow's match. That's everything. I am not thinking about anything else.

If you let me, of course I'm not going to the stadium, but I will see the match, for sure.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Tomorrow you're going to play Kyrgios in completely different conditions. Afternoon, night, what do you prefer?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) He's a very difficult opponent. He's one of the most difficult players you can play. It's true that I think on clay he's a very, very tough player. But perhaps here he's a little bit less difficult to play.

But here we have the altitude, and that makes him very complicated. He can be even more complicated than a hard court due to the altitude we have here.

Let's see what happens tomorrow. If I play late, the conditions will be a little bit slower. But, well, he's an opponent that's going to put a lot of pressure on me. He has a very good serve. He's very aggressive. I have to try to be very solid with my serve, too. I'm going to try to play at a high rhythm.

I have to play really well to be able to beat him. I think I'm ready to do that. We'll see what happens tomorrow. I don't know what's going to happen. But I think I'm ready to play well because of things in the past months I've been playing really well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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