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June 24, 2008

Rafael Nadal


R. NADAL/A. Beck
6-4, 6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafael Nadal.

Q. A great serving performance today. No breakpoints to face. Can we talk a little bit about how you've gone about improving your serve over the last three years. For example, did you use electronic equipment to look at your service motion, freeze frame, where your feet or arm was in a particular situation, or was it just a matter of hitting more and more balls?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yeah, today I served well. Second record aces. I had 18 two years ago against Agassi here, and today 17. So happy with my serve.
I improve because I am young and I must improve. I practice for improve always. Every day, every month. My goal always is be better player, so for that reason I improved a little bit my serve.

Q. How important is that at Wimbledon? How important is it to have a better serve at Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's important in every surface. Probably in clay a little bit less important. But every surface it's very important have a good serve, no? In grass is very, very important, too.
So, yeah, right now I happy about how I serve today and the way I was serving today. But, you know, is only the first match. I have to continuing.

Q. How much of a better player do you feel you are on grass compared to last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I really don't know, no? Everybody ask me the same. Last two years I played the final in Wimbledon, so is very, very difficult say I am better player. I don't know if I am better player, especially because I didn't play on grass - only one tournament.
In my opinion, I am more complete player because I have more options to do, no? But I don't know if I am better player or not on grass. I think in general, yes.

Q. The new rule about having only one person with you in the locker room here, how are you adjusting to that? Is it your uncle who comes with you in the locker room or the trainer?
RAFAEL NADAL: The coach. Toni is coming to the locker room. Sometimes I have problems. Is a little bit a strange rule, no? The tournament have to change, in my opinion. In my humble opinion, the tournament have to change that, no?
Because if we travel with one physio, the physio has to be before the match on the locker room to do the tapes for everything, no? And, well, here the people who manage the locker room, the persons inside the locker room, they are very nice.
When I have a problem they go and bring my physio, my trainer, inside. So today was perfect because they did that for me. So only can say thank you very much.

Q. I noticed you're wearing tapes around the bottom of your knees. Do you have a problem with your knees, or is it to prevent a problem?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. If you saw me play, I played always like this, no?

Q. With the tapes around?

Q. The Spanish football team, they went through after a penalty. How nerve-wracking was that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the same like everybody, no? A lot of nervous. So we finish the match jumping, everybody. So was very, very important for us be in the semifinal.
But right now I think we have to continuing.

Q. We know you're a very good player on grass. How do you explain the rest of the Spaniards right now, their play on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: They play good, but not only right now. They play good in the past. Ferrero made quarterfinal here last year. Ferrer fourth round, not last year, two years ago. Verdasco the same. Good chances for being in quarterfinals. I think is nothing new, no?

Q. Do you think some of the former players that were top ranked that didn't play Wimbledon, was that a mistake?
RAFAEL NADAL: In the past?

Q. Like Corretja, Bruguera, these players that often skipped Wimbledon.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it was different moment. I am not one for say is mistake because they know -- well, everybody knows more than others how (speaking in Spanish).
THE INTERPRETER: They know themselves better than everybody else.
RAFAEL NADAL: I think in the past, I don't know if the ranking was zero if you didn't come here. I didn't know exactly how working. I never going to do something like this. I love play here.

Q. Would you like an early game on Thursday so you can get to the watch the football?
RAFAEL NADAL: I hope so (smiling).

Q. Do you feel confident for first round to go through next round and so on? Was it good for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have a difficult draw. I gonna play against very tough opponent, one of the worst opponent who I can play in the second round, being the No. 2 seeded.
Well, Gulbis is a good player. Very aggressive player. Very good serve. He play very aggressive with amazing forehand. He's very young, too.

Q. When you're serving this well, does it put you in a different mentality, the same mentality that Andy Roddick had or Pete Sampras had, that all you have to do is take care of your serve and you win?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not yet. Not yet, no.

Q. Did you hear the person shout 911 when there was an emergency and somebody fell? Did it affect you at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't know, but I listen, Code 911. I didn't know.

Q. I was wondering if it changed your focus at all.
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I saw everybody looks someplace, but I don't know. The true, I didn't.

End of FastScripts

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