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May 16, 2018

Rafael Nadal

Rome, Italy

R. NADAL/D. Dzumhur

6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Good first round. How would you assess your performance out there today? It was a good one-hour workout.
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you. Yeah, a positive match, of course. Good start here.

It is important, after a loss in Madrid, it's important to come back strong. And that's what I did today.

I went on court with the right intensity. I don't know how many mistakes I did, but not much.

And having the control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points.

So that was the way that I want to play. And today was a positive day, of course.

Thank you.

Q. Were you on the court right the day after the loss in Madrid or did you take one or two days to just let it go a little bit? What was the process to do the transition, to rephrase the mind a little bit?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't practice the next day. I take one day off. And I fly the next day later here to Rome to sleep here and to have the chance to practice on Sunday. And that's what I did.

Q. We saw with Dominic Thiem losing today, that it's still a tough transition, Madrid-Rome, even if you're used to it for years. Do you still feel it's that hard, or do you feel that now you've found a way to just move on and forget about it?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it's always difficult. Madrid is the most special event on our clay court season. In terms of conditions, it's the most different one.

And Dominic had a great opponent in front today. Fabio is a great player with great talent. And when he's playing well, he's able to win against everyone.

So, that's all. That's what happened, that Fabio played a great match. And today, the competition is very equal. Anything could happen.

And Dominic is out. Sorry for him. But Fabio, I think, played great, too.

Q. We saw that video of you hitting some balls with Maria. I was just wondering what was that like. Have you ever hit with another WTA player before?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. I practiced with Ivanovic in Mallorca, too, with Ana. Years ago. But had a full practice with her.

And, yes, I practiced with her. And it was a great feeling. She has a great intensity. It was a great feeling. It was a good experience.

Q. At the moment, tall players are doing really well on the tour, Anderson and Zverev.

Q. At the moment, tall players are doing very well on the tour.
RAFAEL NADAL: Ah, tall players.

Q. Why do you think, in the absence of Djokovic and Murray at the top of their game, why do you think they are the players taking advantage right now?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's very easy to understand that, when taller players are able to move well, they have a big advantage.

The serve is almost unstoppable. So, if you are able to serve that well and, at the same time then play well from the baseline, it's a big advantage.

So the net is still the same height since I don't know how many years. And the people are every time taller.

So, when the fitness works, it's more professional every time. So it's normal that the taller players are every time better athletes, in terms of movements.

So, of course, the way that the sport moves, being tall can be a big advance.

Q. You've got either Robin Haase coming up next or Denis Shapovalov. Particularly with Denis, how do you see his progress, maybe even during Madrid, as someone who has not successful on clay before but had a really good run there. How would you assess his progress?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he's a great player. And he's young. He has the energy of young players, with big talent.

And, yes, he played well in Madrid. He won a good match yesterday against Tomas. So, let's see what's going on today against another good player like Robin Haase is. So, it will be a tough one and it will be a tough opponent for me.

Q. Along the same line, Shapovalov in Madrid told me that he was watching a video of your matches a lot to see the sequences. He wants to learn the clay game perfectly. I wonder if you had any interaction with him, if you have ever practiced with him?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I'm sorry. I didn't practice with him, no.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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