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May 13, 2017
R. NADAL/N. Djokovic
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English and Spanish.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) There were seven losses in a row. Was that too much? Were you thinking of that? Can you analyze today's match.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Yeah, good. When you have played a couple of matches in a row, and you have lost them against Djokovic, it was just there. Maybe it happened back then because of a reason.
The circumstances nowadays are completely different compared to those seven matches that occurred before. I think that the last two years perhaps haven't been my best two years. For Novak, they were. They were really good years for Novak.
Today's match was a tough match, a match that I went into the court knowing sometimes these kind of tournaments, even when you play them well, you cannot win them. But today I managed to win the match.
I think I played a really good first set. The second set I was a little bit more nervous. I played a little bit shorter. I think then the match was a little bit more even.
Finally I managed to win it. It's a very important victory. It gives me the possibility to play another final and to continue in a positive line. I am happy the way I played today, being able to make it to the final once again. I'll try to be 100% and ready for tomorrow's match.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) Djokovic said before that you are the favorite for Roland Garros. What do you think about what he said, about his words?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, I said it yesterday. At the end you like to talk about this thing, the press likes to talk about this. I just try to walk my way through. Then when we get to Paris, you will be talking again about the favorites and not the favorites.
After all, to talk about all of this right now, we can talk until tomorrow, but it's nonsense. The only favorite is the one that plays really well during those two weeks. The reality is that whoever achieves that is going to be able to win the trophy the second Sunday.
I know that I am playing well. I'm in a good way. I started the year really well. I'm in a very important final, important tournament. That's the only thing I'm thinking about right now. All the other things, regarding tennis, I don't really care about that.
It's really important being able to make it to another final in a Masters 1000, especially here in Madrid, at home. Right now I'm not thinking of anything else.
Q. (In English) You controlled the game from the beginning to the end. What were your key success factors today?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) No, I have been playing well. I think it was a great first set. I hit good the forehand in the first set, good the backhand, too. I was serving well.
When I was playing that well at the beginning, it's true that I felt for moments under control, and in the second not. In the second, the match was much more equal, and anything could happen.
It's true that I played a little bit shorter. I changed less directions in the second set. I needed to play more shots down the line with my forehand.
But that's normal, no? An important match for me. That's it. But in general terms, I think I played a great match.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) I don't know if you prefer any of the two possible opponents.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) It's going to be a tough match whoever I face tomorrow. That's the reality. We're saying I will be playing against Thiem. He's No. 3 in the Race, came from the final in Barcelona. He's young, has a lot of talent. I think the altitude helps him here. The ball bounces high and it's difficult to control.
Talking about Pablo, it's more or less the same. He is doing really well. He played really well in Monte-Carlo, when he beat Wawrinka. Playing really well, then he lost after that. But it was a very tight match, too.
Whoever is my opponent tomorrow, it's going to be a very tough match. The only way to win these kinds of tournaments, because you are playing some of the best players in the world, so you have to play at a very high level to be able to beat them.
This is my goal. This is what I'm thinking right now, to play really well. That's the only way to be able to have options for tomorrow's match.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) We've seen you play Djokovic a lot to his backhand. Do you think that's one of the keys of the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) No, I haven't seen that, at least from my humble point of view. I think it's not a good idea to play a lot against his backhand. Actually, when I started to play to his backhand quite often, I had more problems because he started to dominate the court a little bit more.
In the first set I played more cross-court shots. We all do that. In the beginning, I was just trying to hit to his backhand because I was attacking him. In the second set, I tried to attack him a little bit more. I had a few problems in the second set.
To play Novak's backhand is not a tactic. I don't think it's what I should do. After that, if I'm playing really well with my forehand. I'm a lefty. I normally do cross-court. When I start points, I always try to hit the ball cross-court. That's my game.
I know to have chances against him, it's important to change the direction of the ball continuously. If I continuously play to his backhand, I think he has the best backhand in the tournament, in the world, so it won't be easy.
Q. (Translated from Spanish) How important was it to beat Novak Djokovic today and stop the bad streak you've had until now with him?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) I said it yesterday. It's one more match. What's important to me is to make it to another final. As years go by, depending on the type of victories, can fulfill you a little bit more or less. As time goes by, what is important is the titles, not the opponents that you have beaten. It's just the titles that you have won.
It's true that some matches are more important than others. But I'm just here to try to make it the best possible way, to play my best tennis, and of course to beat an opponent such as Novak, it gives you a lot of confidence. It shows you you're working in the right way.
But it's just another match. As I said yesterday, it gives me another opportunity to win another title, which is important to me.
Q. (In English) Yesterday and today you played at a very high level. You said in the second set you started feeling nervous. Is that because you see that Novak was coming up?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) No. I get nervous because it was an important match for me. I lost a lot of times in a row. To break that thing is always... There is always nerves. I am humble enough to come here and say that I was nervous, no? Especially with that 40-15, then breakpoint for him, that was a very hard moment for me.
But I accept that situation, try to keep fighting for the next point. That's it. I think is a great result. To win against Novak with that score, you should be playing very well. If not, it's impossible.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports