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May 27, 2019

Rafael Nadal

Paris, France

R. NADAL/Y. Hanfmann

6-2, 6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. How do you experience this first round in this new center court?
RAFAEL NADAL: Being honest, the feeling to play in this court is not a big difference. I think is the same. I don't have different feelings. The court by itself, okay, in terms of visual game, we can talk about small differences, but in terms of playing tennis, I think is the same. The wind is coming the same way. Still a very, very big court. I don't see any difference playing tennis here.

Q. How did you feel about your level today? What were you pleased with the most?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it was a first round, and I did a lot of things well. Not many mistakes. Being very solid all the time.

Just of course is the beginning and the first round is more about talking about what I have to do better. What I did very well today is just about general feeling, and general feeling have been positive this afternoon. Happy to be through to the second round, and that's the main thing today and with straight sets, positive feelings. Just happy for that.

Q. How do you prepare for an opponent that you haven't faced before? Your next opponent, you have another individual who is a qualifier you haven't played before.
RAFAEL NADAL: Who won, Maden?

Well, being honest, I saw play Yannick last year in Munich against Zverev. So I remember a little bit that. And then today with YouTube you can find things. I saw some highlights of his matches, and you have an idea. Of course is different when you never played before. You can create an idea about what he does, no?

And that's what I did. Just research a little bit on YouTube and with some videos and for after tomorrow gonna be the same for me personally.

But at end of the day, for me is about play well myself and knowing a little bit the opponent helps.

Q. (Question in Spanish.) You were much better in Italy than before. What happened? What made the difference for you? What enabled you to play so well over there when you hadn't been playing so well before?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In Spanish.) Well, to be honest, feeling good is what helps. But it would be unfair for any member of the team to say that it was due to the presence of my uncle, because he was in Rome for two days, but he was also in Madrid and other places. So it would be opportunistic to say he was the determining factor.

He was a great help, but what happened in Rome is that I have been evolving continuously on clay. And in Rome it's true that I was able to renew at a high level, better than Madrid.

I wasn't able to confirm my level in the semifinals in Madrid, but you have some good moments and bad moments. And in Rome, I had almost only good moments.

So we're here now. It's a completely different tournament. I will try to play well, fight well, and enjoy this tournament which is one of the most important one in my life.

THE MODERATOR: Back to English.

Q. You're one of the hardest workers our sport has ever had. Could you talk about your work, the process of working on your game? Does it give you a certain joy? Do you grow through that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I have been a hard worker when I was a kid. Very hard worker. Especially because I was able to play with very, very high intensity for a long time.

But being honest, after the injury that I had in 2005 with my foot, my way to practice changed drastically, being honest, no?

Until I had that problem on the foot in Madrid at the end of the season, in the tournament I won, what can I say, I couldn't work. I had to change the way that I had to approach my tennis career in terms of the way that I practiced, in terms of the way that I can, how many hours I can work or not.

So I think the positive thing during all my career if I was able to practice two hours, three hours, one hour 30, normally I did with highest intensity possible, no? And that's all. What I did during all my career probably is go on court with goal to improve something, and that make me feel alive always and make me feel passionate about the process of improving anything.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Cristian Garin. I know he spent a little bit of time at your academy. What do you think of his season so far and the way he's improved in his game?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, he's playing well. He's a very dangerous opponent, one of the most dangerous opponents on clay especially, and he has a good potential.

He decided another way, and things are going well for him. Wish him all the best.

Q. You know better than anyone what it takes to win here at Roland Garros. Do you feel like the challenge is the same every year, or are there new challenges each year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every year is a new challenge. It's more than new challenge or not, every year is a new challenge. And today I was able to win the first challenge, and after tomorrow I gonna have the second challenge. That's the only way.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. I don't know if you knew very much, before the match, you knew Hanfmann. How can you get prepared for such a match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I answered that in English earlier on. With YouTube, you can always see quite a lot of things. You have the summaries of their matches. That's how you get prepared.

So what you prepare is yourself, in fact. You can use the videos that are available, and the best thing you can do is try and play well.

Q. A month ago you were playing against Thiem in Barcelona. When did you realize that you were in a good shape and could get to Roland Garros in this good shape?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's very difficult to be convinced that you're okay. I don't know if many people are convinced about anything in this life.

I think when you're convinced about something, you're very arrogant, because most of the time you can hope that something is going to happen, and have the desire for something to happen. But to be convinced, I'm almost convinced about nothing in this world.

The only thing I was convinced about is that I wanted to work, to try and arrive at the event in a good shape, whatever it was. Whether it was Madrid, Rome, or here now.

As I said, I could have made a mistake about my personal feelings, but I thought I had a good match and that match was a good base for the future. It was confirmed, and I have been able to make headway day after day and increase my trust in my body.

I was able to trust my tennis more and more, and all this comes out translating into victories, which is when you make the difference.

Q. You played four tournaments, you went to three semifinals, and you obtained one title. They're good results, but in view of your trajectory, it's even more important. Could you give us a little bit of analysis about these results?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I'll tell you more about a week and a half of competition on clay. Three semifinals and one title in difficult tournaments, what can I say?

If you want me to sign a paper saying that these results are good before I can start the clay tournaments, well, okay. I could sign that. But the normal thing is not to win 11 times Monte-Carlo or Barcelona. It's always something special, and whatever I have done I'm very grateful to those who've helped me throughout the years. But my main goal is to make myself available and ready to fight and compete.

Honestly, the first week in Monte-Carlo, I wasn't ready. But then I was ready. I wasn't ready in the first match in Barcelona, but I was ready to compete. Now then you win or you lose. Well, when someone comes with a better trust and better shape, well, that's how he won. And in Madrid, I played well. And in the semifinals I had great possibilities of winning, but I guess I didn't play sufficiently well.

You're playing against the best players in the world, and you lose. All I want is to fight and compete. And in Roland Garros, it's the same. This time it was the ball fell on my side. But you can't hope to have always the same results.

I managed to win in Rome. Now I'm fighting for this title, which is very important. But, okay, well, what happened, happened, and everyone has their own analysis of things and their own feelings.

I have my own analysis of what happened, and this tournament is very important for me. It's probably the most special and the most important in my tennis career, and I'm here to try and enjoy it and compete in the best way possible.

Q. Today you're in your 100th tournament on clay. It's not easy. How can you analyze this regularity that you've had?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think anecdotally, losing or not losing Roland Garros, well, I don't know. Each data may have certain relevance, but it's not really important.

Q. Some players felt that the conditions in Paris are faster than in Rome.
RAFAEL NADAL: Rome is quite fast. It may be the ball which makes a difference, but if it's sunny and hot, you have a good rebound. And obviously the ball is fast here, but I like it here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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