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March 17, 2008

Rafael Nadal


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel out there today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Normal. I think I didn't play my best tennis, but I didn't play bad. Normal match. I think he start very nervous. You see the score, 4-0, so it was very important in the match in the second set, well, in the break. I have break in the -- 3-2, 4-2. I think he had some mistakes. So what -- maybe it was a comfortable match.

Q. Where is your hard court game? You've won, I think, maybe five titles on hard courts.
RAFAEL NADAL: Five, you think? That's a lot, no?

Q. Dubai, Madrid, Montreal, Beijing, Indian Wells.
RAFAEL NADAL: I win Montreal, Madrid, Dubai, Indian Wells. Five?

Q. Beijing.
RAFAEL NADAL: Some finals.

Q. Where did you feel your hard court game is right now? Do you feel like you're getting better on this surface?
RAFAEL NADAL: You always ask me the same, no? I try my best every day, every tournament, no? And I know sometimes I have to play my best, and sometimes I feel playing better and sometimes I feel playing worse, no?
If I'm feeling playing very good, I can play very well on this surface. If not, well, my level is a little bit lower than clay, that's sure.

Q. Where do you feel your level has been on hard the last few weeks?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in Rotterdam I was playing very well, but I have very difficult lose, no? Well, it was tough lose this match against Seppi, because I was playing very well.
In Dubai I started tournament playing very bad and I finish okay. I played not bad match. Here, normal.

Q. You been serving pretty well this week, 70% today. How do you feel you're going to have to do if you play Tsonga or Mathieu?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, if you watch the speed it was not perfect today. I have to improve. I have one more day -- day off tomorrow?
THE MODERATOR: The schedule is not out yet.
RAFAEL NADAL: So I have one more day. Yesterday I practice a lot, the serve. Tomorrow I not practice so much. I think that's work. I try to play very good match against Tsonga.

Q. Are you eagerly awaiting playing him again, matchup against Tsonga again?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in Australia I have a tough lose for me, no? But I'm going to try my best this time and improve.

Q. Does it affect you at all when you're playing an opponent who is as nervous as he was?
THE MODERATOR: (In Spanish).
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think he's young. I know if I start the match well and having some distance on the score it's difficult for the other, no? So I try go up to the score in the beginning -- well, he had some mistakes: Double fault and one easy forehand.

Q. You said a couple days ago that you were practicing the dropshots. How do you feel you played the dropshots today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Did you saw someone? Some went fine and some -- other ones not.

Q. Against Tsonga in Australia, I mean, after the match he played so well and you said, Well, let's see if he can keep that level, you know, for the whole year. Are you expecting that you're going to be able to get into the match more than you were able to in Australia? (In Spanish .)
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I'm going to be fine tomorrow, no? After tomorrow for -- I go on court and for try to beat him, no? Well, going to be important to serve well, because he's strong in his serve, and from baseline, try to play a little bit more aggressive than in Australia, no?
I think he have -- he has the control of the point all the time there, so try to not repeat the same.

Q. You're also very close to Roger for No. 1.
RAFAEL NADAL: Not very close.

Q. Well, you're very close but you have a lot more points to defend.
RAFAEL NADAL: So not very close.

Q. But do you feel any closer or do you feel further away?
RAFAEL NADAL: I do not feel close, no. When you're defending champion and he doesn't defend nothing, you know, it's not close.

Q. So you don't feel close at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: I feel I am No. 3 in the race.

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