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October 7, 2017

Rafael Nadal

Beijing, China

R. NADAL/G. Dimitrov

6-3, 4-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. After the second set, how did you change the momentum to get back on the winning side?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, good was a little bit lucky that I had that first break in the first game of the third. But I think I was playing great. In the first set, I played a great first set, in my opinion. I was playing good at the beginning of the second. Probably I had almost match point with that two breakpoints for 3-Love double break. The dynamic had been so good until that moment. After that, I didn't win that two points. He started to push me. I stopped a little bit to go for the points, no? I have been too many times in defending positions. Then, of course, he's very good, no?

In the third, again, I feel that I started going little bit more for the points again. Is true that in one moment of the second set, my serve didn't work that well, and my backhand, I stopped a little bit with the backhand, too. But then I find the rhythm at the beginning of the third again. I think I played a great third set.

Q. After 11 years, you made it to the China Open men's singles final. How do you feel about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Very happy to be in that final again. Of course, is very important achievement for me to continue with the positive feelings after winning the US Open. Be back here and be in the final with that very tough draw I had since the beginning is a great effort. So very happy.

I am very pleased the way that I have been playing the whole week, after saving a very tough first day. So here I am. I am in the final. Very important points, too, for me, and another chance tomorrow to compete in a big match. That's important for me. That's why we practice every day and we try to improve every morning.

Tomorrow is another day. Happy for that. Let's try my best tomorrow.

Q. You've had some great matches out on that court. You had a big match against Novak. Is the abiding memory for you here always the Olympic gold medal?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course. But I didn't win in that court, was in the other court. But of course that semifinals match against Novak and that final against Gonzalez, yeah, I achieved here one of the most important things in my career without a doubt. Olympic gold medal is probably the most difficult event that you can win. So I feel lucky that I won that time. Yeah, for me was unforgettable.

For me was my real first Olympic Games. I enjoyed a lot. The feeling to be with the Spanish Olympic team and with the rest of the teams in the Olympic Village for me was one of the experiences that stays with me probably forever.

Q. Who would you prefer in the final and how would you play?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know how I going to play. I going to try to play well (smiling).

Q. Who do you prefer of the players, the other two?
RAFAEL NADAL: Both are very difficult, no? Both are very young, very talented players. Let's see.

With Nick, I lost one month or one month and a half ago in Cincinnati. With Sascha, I played some very tough matches in the past. He's playing so well during the whole season, but especially this second part of the season.

Will be a very tough match. I need to play on my best if I want to have chances against any of them. I going to try to make that happen. I hope to be ready to play very well.

Q. I don't know whether you heard, but Raonic got hurt again, had to pull out of Tokyo.

Q. Milos. He was saying before that match the tour really needs to do something about the calendar, that there's too many matches. It's the reason why Andy and Novak and Stan and Nishikori are out injured for the year. There needs to be a cutback on the calendar. What are your thoughts on that subject?
RAFAEL NADAL: I talked about that in the past a lot of times. Was difficult to change things. I have been in the council, too, fighting for things that was so difficult to make that happen for me, so that's why I left.

I have been in that position for a lot of times in my career, no? When I have been in that position, I don't remember the people talking that much about these things. The problem now is there is a couple of players.

It's a coincidence, first thing. Second thing, we cannot forget that we are not 20 years old any more. Is true that the calendar is tough, but at the same time is true that Federer have 36, I think, I have 31, Novak 30, Andy 30, Nishikori, I don't know, 27, 28. Normal that at some point these kind of players that are playing a lot of matches and a lot of years in a row, at some point they have some problems. Is something that is normal in a sport that is aggressive and in a sport that you play a lot of weeks.

I don't say we need less tournaments. I don't say we need shorten calendar. That is not my opinion. My opinion is we can have a longer calendar because our sport is not only big if the top players win a lot of money. Is big if there is how much more players or people are living from this sport. That makes the sport bigger. That's my opinion, no?

We can add tournaments. The only problem, and that's a real thing, is that having a ranking of one year - I talked about that in the past - but having a one-year ranking, you get injury and you are in trouble. You cannot skip tournaments. That's the real thing.

If you have a different kind of ranking, two years' ranking, then you can prepare better the events because you will not be under a rush all the time that if you not playing, you are losing positions on the ranking, or if you get injury three, four months, you are dead because is half of the year.

I fighted for that in the past and didn't work. I don't want to fight again for these kind of things. But in my opinion that's the only way.

Even if you put less mandatory tournaments, okay? Let's say that you put only four or five Masters 1000s mandatory, you still have nine Masters 1000s, but only five mandatory, the people and players will like to play as many as possible because if not you don't going to have the chance to be in the top positions of the rankings.

Is a tough situation and is difficult to change a lot of things on that. That's my personal opinion.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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