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March 10, 2019

Rafael Nadal

Indian Wells, California

R. NADAL/J. Donaldson

6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You had a sleeveless shirt on. Was it cold?
RAFAEL NADAL: It was very cold, yeah. Coldest at Indian Wells that I remember, yeah.

Q. What does that do for your tennis? What does that change for your game, the cold?
RAFAEL NADAL: For my game? Well, normally when one is cold, body feelings are a little bit worst. And then the ball is bouncing less, because it's more heavy.

But the rest of the things is nothing drastic (smiling).

Q. Your form looked pretty good out there. How did it feel to be back out on that court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. I always had good feelings on that court, being honest, no?

I played a lot of good tournaments here. And I really enjoy playing here. That's true. I always felt great. It's an event that is a little bit different because normally big events are in big cities.

Here we are a little bit with different feeling being a little bit away of the world, and, yeah, with the feelings that everything is with calm, the views are unbelievable. Normally the weather is great. This year is a little bit worse.

But still, so great, no? For the players, the organization of this event is just fantastic. The work that they are doing is just amazing the last couple of years. Larry Ellison and all his team is doing a great job.

So from the players' perspective, only thing we can say is thanks for bringing this tournament to the next level.

Q. The match being so one-sided, are you able to gauge how you were hitting the ball in the conditions over here? Because it is such a unique situation condition-wise compared to a lot of other tournaments. You've come from Acapulco, which is different again.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, you know, I had good feelings out there, no? And in Acapulco, I had the problem in my hand the days before of the tournament start.

So being honest, our preparation have been just work on specific things before Acapulco and then trying to play some matches before the tournament start there, some sets on the practice courts, and we didn't have that chance. So we arrive to the tournament without playing sets, so then everything became a little bit more difficult. But in Acapulco, I was not playing bad. I lost a match that probably I will, in a very high percentage, I will win that match. But that's tennis, and that kind of things happen.

But I found myself more or less playing well after the accident that happened to my hand, and here the same. I was able to have a good week of practice, playing some sets, working on the things that I need to work.

I hope to be ready for the tournament. Today was a very positive step for me, and next one gonna be against a player that we know each other very well, we practiced a lot of times, and we played some tough matches. And this one of the best talents of the sport today. So going to be a tough one against Diego.

Q. Going back to Larry, he's also developing the challenger series events, especially in the United States. Looking big picture for the sport, how important are those events?
RAFAEL NADAL: I say thousands of times, no? Have somebody like Larry in our sport with this passion for tennis is something just fantastic, no?

At the same time, he has a global view of the world in general because of the things he experienced with his life, and at the same time with the business. So he has probably a better view of our sport from outside.

He's doing a great job. As I say before, the only thing that we can say is thanks, because have somebody like him supporting our sport and having this love for tennis and investing and trying to promote this sport is something that helps and says a lot of positive things about our sport, too.

Q. A tennis career obviously is based on a whole series of decisions. You have been a great decision-maker in your career going back to a right-hander, playing lefty, staying at home, working for so long with Toni. Could you just look back and say what are the two or three best key decisions in your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. As everybody, I did mistakes, I did things well, but I did all the things that I did with my heart, you know, and believing that that was the thing that works better for my tennis career and for my personal life, too.

Of course, I make mistakes. I am not this stupid guy that says I will not change, never in my life (smiling). That sounds very arrogant from my perspective, no? Of course I will change things that I will did.

But experience is important, and at the same time is important to have -- is good sometimes to have mistakes, too, because you need to learn.

Probably, being honest, I am happy to have the chance to work very hard on the tennis court when I had the chance to work. But at the same time, I am very happy that I was able to enjoy my personal life outside of tennis, too, no? Is true I went for party, I went for fishing, I went for playing different sports less than my lifetime friends, but I did it.

So I was very focused on tennis, yes, but for me, tennis have been a very important part of my life but not everything. So that's important that I am 32, almost 33, and I don't have the chance that I missed a lot of things in my real life. I did less times than the others, yes, but I did it. So that's something that I'm proud of.

Q. (Question about ATP CEO.) Now there has been a decision, I was wondering if you understand why it was done and where you'd like to see the sport go from here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can't say much about this, because as you know, I am outside of the politics, and I'm being honest. Nobody came to me to explain why this stuff happened.

Being the same time I can say nothing, because was my decision to be outside of the politics. But at the same time, of course, I am disappointed that nobody came and explained why, what's the real reason of we don't have Chris continuing running our sport.

But is true that probably somebody have a different plans for our sport, but is true that the guys who are in the council, at the end of the day, represent the rest of the players. They don't represent their opinions only.

Normally, they have to ask the players about what they think to make a crucial decision like this one, and I really hope that they did with the rest of the players. If they did it, is great. It was not my case. That's all. Maybe I was -- and I have my phone with me. So nobody text me to speak about or to ask me about what's my thoughts about that decision.

But that's what happened.

Q. So far all the players seemed to have said something similar to you, that they are disappointed and they didn't feel like anyone consulted them.
RAFAEL NADAL: So if a lot of players says this, I don't know because, as I say, I'm not in politics. So probably the guys who are running the council, they didn't make the right job, because when they are there is they are there representing us, so normally they have to ask what's our opinion. Not in every small decision, but in big decisions, probably, yes. In my opinion, this one was a big decision.

But that's it. I want the best for my sport, of course. We need to move forward. Let's see. Of course, even if they don't inform me about this situation, of course I will be happy to know where the sport is going. Not zero for personal interest, but yes, because I really believe that after 18 years, 17 years around this sport probably I have a good perspective of the things that can work well, other things that don't work that well.

I will be happy to heard why that happened, and of course what's going on now.

Q. What do you make of Roger deciding to come back and play on clay?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's his own decision. For my side, the only thing that I can say is positive news, because having the best players playing in more events is better for our sport.

Having Roger playing on clay, of course, is better for the tournaments that he gonna play. Is better for the fans. And that's better for the players in general terms, too. Because when the top players are playing, the sport is bigger. So is good to have him.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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