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June 7, 2018
R. NADAL/D. Schwartzman
4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. How much did the rain yesterday help you and how much did conditions today help your game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is not possible that everybody helps. Everything helps, not possible (smiling).
Of course the stop yesterday helps, because it was in a tough moment of my match. He was playing great, and I was playing too defensive. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.
And then today, the conditions were similar than yesterday, no? No, I can't say -- well, is fair to say that the rain delay helps me yesterday, but not fair to say the conditions today helped me. The conditions today were the same for both.
I played more aggressive. I continued the level of intensity that I played after the first stop. And in my opinion, the match changed, no?
Of course he's a tough opponent, and he's gonna always be a tough match. But at the same time, I think after the first rain delay, the match changed a lot because I play more aggressive with high intensity and the things were more on my side.
Q. What were you trying to do yesterday to try to change momentum as he went up a set and a break? What did you see in the match that was not working for you that you wanted to switch up?
RAFAEL NADAL: I was playing -- I was not opening court with the backhand. I was playing too behind the baseline. He was taking the ball earlier than me.
He had, as I said before, no? I had the feeling he has the control of the point too many times to have the chance to be successful.
And then I think after that I changed, I increased the intensity, increased the determination on how to play my shots. I won a little bit of court playing closer to the baseline, so the match change drastically, no?
And that's why then, after that stop, was 6-3, 6-2, 6-2? Yeah. It was a big change.
Q. Why did you have the tape applied on your arm yesterday? The trainer came out to wrap.
RAFAEL NADAL: Was very wet, very humid. The sweat was coming to my hands, so just to protect a little bit. Because if you have tape behind the wristband, then it holds a little bit more the sweat. That's all.
Is not usual here in Paris, but this year is very humid. I don't know.
Q. Your first answer you mentioned that you played with more stress? Was there a particular reason for that stress?
RAFAEL NADAL: That I am a human person (laughter). Sometimes you play better; sometimes you are more nervous.
Quarterfinals, important match for me. Was a match that maybe is a key match. So these kind of matches that can give you the chance to keep going or, for another side, you lose all the chances, no, against a tough opponent that I had problems with him in Australia and Madrid. Even if it was 6-3, 6-4, it was an uncomfortable match for me.
I know going to be a tough match, and I was a little bit more nervous than usual. That's why.
Q. There are huge expectations placed on you, particularly here at Roland Garros, from the media and from tennis fans. What expectations do you place on yourself and do you play with pressure or without pressure at this stage at Roland Garros?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't understand the last part of the question.
Q. Do you play with pressure? Do you feel the pressure or do you not feel the pressure?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have any obligation to win, first thing. Second thing, if you don't feel the pressure, it's because you don't love the sport. And if you don't love the sport is better to come back home and do another thing.
And that's it. Pressure is part of the sport in general. I don't feel the pressure now in semifinals. I feel the pressure every day, but not here. I feel the pressure in every match of the year.
And here is an important event for me. Pressure is good. You are able to control that, then things can -- that pressure, that adrenaline can be in a positive way. And I believe that after that stop yesterday that adrenaline and that pressure was in a positive way, no?
So I think was a little bit of relief for me after that rain delay, and I have to hold that level of energy.
Q. You were able to hold your serve all day today, even with a lot of second serves. I want to know how you feel about your serve here and throughout the tournament.
RAFAEL NADAL: I felt that -- I decided to serve faster, because yesterday, my feeling, I was winning the same points with the first than with the second. So for me it didn't make sense to serve high percentage of first serves in. I tried to change that.
It's true that at the beginning of the match today I was serving great and then I served much worst. The first serve I'm in. I finish the match serving a little bit better again. A little bit up and down.
Good thing second serve is working well. I need to serve a little bit better for tomorrow, and I really believe that I can do it.
Q. After having achieved some incredible feats and fantastic statistics throughout the years, it's obvious there is a psychological edge you have over your opponents. In what way does that impact you? How do you think about this and does it hinder your performance?
RAFAEL NADAL: The last thing?
Q. Does this psychological advantage that you have of your opponents, after achieving so many great results, does it affect you in a negative way?
RAFAEL NADAL: Affect me in a negative way?
Q. Yes. When you think about having a psychological advantage over your opponents, does it put some additional pressure on you? That's what I mean.
RAFAEL NADAL: Being honest, no, I am living all my career with that. Is not the moment to -- I understand the question, but will be maybe better to answer this question maybe six or seven years ago.
Today, is something that I am living always with this. No, no, nothing new for me. Just try to keep going the same way.
I don't feel this psychological advantage. And because I don't consider myself there and the opponents there (indicating difference in level) that's not affecting me in a negative way.
I just go on court knowing that every match is difficult and I can lose and I can win. That's the sport. So I know if I'm playing my best then I have my chances always.
My only advantage and my only goal is I know if I play my best, I gonna have good chances.
Q. You play again tomorrow, which is unusual here for Roland Garros. How do you think that will affect the match, and what do you expect against either Cilic or Del Potro?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know how they are going. I don't know what's the score on that other match.
Will be a tough match. Both of them are playing well, playing well during the whole year. Gonna be a tough match, anyway.
I played already here days in a row in the past. I hope to be ready for it. I really believe that I am enough fit and ready to hold.
I need to rest. That's why I came here quick, and I want to do my things. I want to work with my physiotherapist. I want to be with calm a little bit at the room and just save energy and wake up tomorrow with the right feelings and go on court and just try to play with the right determination, no?
That's my goal, and then anything can happen.
Q. What's your opinion about Marco Cecchinato? Did he impress you with his...
RAFAEL NADAL: Did he?
Q. Did he impress you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, of course. He's playing great. He has a great level of tennis. He's playing amazing event winning against fantastic opponents.
Yeah, the other day he hold amazing well the pressure on the last tiebreak playing some great points. And he's playing fantastic, so well done for him.
Q. Sorry to change the subject, but can I just ask you, what is your favorite and best World Cup football memory? Where were you? What did it mean to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, the final of 2010? I was in the stadium. I was in South Africa.
Q. You were there?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.
Q. We understood that you had no problem yesterday, physical or injury. It was just for sweat with the tape thing. But the difference between how you hit the ball yesterday and today, it's been totally different. Today, longer balls, harder balls, better placed. What happened?
RAFAEL NADAL: Because things are like that. Sometimes you need a bit of attention.
And I was a bit lucky yesterday because of the rain stop. I was able to stop, to think, to calm down and to see things a bit with more clarity.
Although it was only half an hour of match, it was a great change, the feelings, going to the hotel, relaxing with this additional half hour after the stop. Psychologically and for tennis, I had totally different feelings. I had more confidence. I was more happy with the change.
Mentally things can be better or worse, but the determination I had yesterday, it created great impact in the result and in the game. This really changed totally how I was looking at the match and how my opponent was looking at the match.
At the beginning yesterday there were no options to open the court, to win points. And today I moved forward, and I had a better backhand. I was able to open the court on his forehand. Yesterday I was not able to do so. I was not gaining ground.
And when I was able to change that, I was able to win the game and the match.
Q. You have explained how you moved from 4-6 to 2-3 down to 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yesterday we played a lot of time with sun. At the beginning we had sun. So that's how it was.
I was playing poorly, and my opponent was playing better. You can't always find the excuses or positive things about the external things. You have to find causes within yourself.
The changes were not the sun or the rain. It was within myself. Of course, the rain helped stop the match and helped me think about the match, and that's a reality.
But in terms of play, what changed is how I played and how I managed the match.
Q. So you came here when you were younger. Do you have the same dream? And are you resting well, in general?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Thunder woke me up at 3:00 a.m., and I had trouble going back to sleep. But apart from that, I'm resting well.
Q. It's 20 years after the victory of Carlos Moya. Can you tell us what you remember and what it meant for you and for Spanish and Mallorcan people?
RAFAEL NADAL: It meant everything. In a place like Mallorca, having a champion like him in one of the most important tournaments in the world, for Mallorcan Baleares, It was fantastic. It was a boom.
I remember perfectly I was watching the finals at home, and I enjoyed it. It was a very important moment. It's a very close person who achieved such a great goal.
Q. If I can make a parallel with Cristiano Ronaldo, the doctors of Real Madrid published the medical results saying that he has a body of 23 years with 7% fat. Since you have the same age, how's your body and what are your tricks to stay in perfect condition?
RAFAEL NADAL: My body is about 40 years old, but I'm not really focusing on that. I'm just playing tennis. I'm not really interested by all these things, and I don't think that -- you can't really know the reality of how old is your body.
I'm 32, and I'm how I am. I'm happy. I accept my age. I try to adapt to all the changes that the body is going through over the years.
There are things that are lost and there are other things that are gained, and I'm trying to improve all the time. That's it. I'm happy for Cristiano that he's 23, his body is 23.
Q. I wanted to know for the match of tomorrow, you have Del Potro who is winning against Cilic in the fourth. It's going to be a long match. That's good for you. I would like you to talk about the features of playing against Del Potro or Cilic.
RAFAEL NADAL: These are two different opponents. They have same intensity, very high level throughout the year, very high intensity. That's Cilic.
And Del Potro has achieved great victories this year. He has fantastic potential. They are both good servers, aggressive game from the end of the court, the baseline.
And I have to play aggressively. If I play defensively and I don't take intensity, I will be lost.
Q. Whatever opponent, they will have played a bit longer than you in the quarterfinal. Do you think that will be important tomorrow?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Normally, no. I think they are well prepared. And it hasn't been five sets.
I think we are all prepared for these matches.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports