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March 18, 2010

Rafael Nadal


R. NADAL/T. Berdych
6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Do you feel like that was some really good quality tennis out there? It looked that way.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yeah, it was a very good match, I think. I played really well, especially the first set. The first probably eight, nine games of the match was unbelievable level; later the wind came a little bit and was more difficult to play.
But anyway, we still playing, keep playing at high level, and this is very important. Very good news for me be in semifinals.

Q. You played a very clean tiebreaker, not too many errors. You hit some big shots there. You want to talk about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played well. I played aggressive when I had the chance. He played really well the three point when he was 3-1-up; the tiebreak he played very good shots, no? Two forehands winner, and nothing to do for me. I was against wind.
You know, put 3-All in the score and go to the other side was very important, no? Because play with the wind in that moments is almost decisive, and I played really well. I have one -- two forehands winners down the line. That's was the key of the match, no?
I played aggressive with decision, and that's was the match, I think.

Q. Your serve is a lot better in the last year and a half. What have you done?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, my serve is not much better than the last year and a half. I am not agree. I am playing very well from the baseline. That seems like my service is better.
My service, I always trying -- I am always trying to improve my serve. But, you know, that is a difficult for thing for me. I keep working hard for that. I gonna work a lot every day, every year until when I finish my career, no?
I think the change is not the serve; the change I am playing big forehand from the baseline and having very good movement, going inside the court, and play more aggressive. So that's, for me, the key.

Q. Are there many players who are as explosive as Berdych who all of a sudden, bam, hit a very hard shot? Is he different from other players in his ability to all of a sudden hit very, very hard?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.)

Q. No. He hits it, and bam, very, very fast, very, very hard. Are there many players like him, or is he different?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.)
Well, every player is different. Tomas is one of these players that is difficult to play against when he's playing well, because he's a very -- well in general he's very complete player, no? He has all the shots, very good forehand, good backhand, good serve.
So his movements are not bad. Can improve a little bit, but his movements is not bad. So it's not easy, because he play -- he touch the ball hard and long and this almost always is a flat ball. So it's difficult to have the control of the point.
But I did very well today. When I touched my forehand, when I had the chance to play my forehand, I think I had the control of the point almost every time.

Q. You lost three times in a row to him, and then five or six matches since you didn't even lose one set to him. What changed?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I think, you know, anyway if I didn't win a lot for the last few months, I think I am better player than before.
I have -- yeah, I have more things to do during the match, no? I improved a lot my slice backhand. I improved my volley. I am playing probably more times inside the court when I'm feeling good.
To play against these players and they are very aggressive like him, like Blake, is important don't lose court, no? Don't go behind the court. Because if you are going behind, they have almost -- all the time they have more time and they are going inside, and it's almost impossible to beat him, no?
So it's important when you are playing against these players, play, yeah, closer to the baseline, if possible, no?

Q. Do you like playing against Ljubicic and his big serve?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, I like being in semifinals. That's the thing, no?
I like be here and I like to have a match to fight to try to be in this final. Any opponent going to be really difficult, even is one of these big opponents with big serve. He's playing well with from the baseline. Gonna be difficult match.
I think I am playing well too, no? I gonna try my best to try to be in this final.

Q. His birthday is tomorrow. Do you have a present? He turns 31 tomorrow.
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, yeah? I gonna congratulate him tomorrow, yeah.

Q. You only had five matches in Australia, or four and a half, and then you come here and it seems like you're playing at a pretty high level. Is there anything you feel like you're not doing well right now?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am happy. I am really happy how I am playing. I said every day, you know, after coming back from an injury is never easy the first tournament.
Anyway, I love playing this tournament; I love this court. Probably this court help me a little bit to my game because the ball is getting a lot of topspin, and that's important in my game.
But, you know, I started the season playing really well in Abu Dhabi. It was an exhibition; everybody wants to win. And in Doha, too. I didn't win the tournament in Doha for one point. So playing high level, too.
In Australia I probably didn't play my best the first three matches, but against Murray I did well. I was playing at high level, too. I had the chance to win the first or the second set, but I lost, and finally I had to retire.
My feeling is this year in every tournament that I played, I played at very good level.

Q. What's the key to playing in the wind when it gets like it was tonight? And last year it was like that here, too, when you won, right?
RAFAEL NADAL: Move. Move a lot. Don't stop the legs, yeah.

Q. Berdych was having some problem with your slice and change of speed.

Q. Berdych was having some trouble with the slice and change of speed when you did change speeds, yet you chose to keep hitting hard. Was that because of the wind, too?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. When you are playing at the place with the wind, it wasn't easy for me to play the backhand with topspin. My feeling was the ball is going out too -- from my racquet.
The slice is a good change, no? Probably if you play good slice, the next shot you gonna have the chance to play with your forehand, so...

Q. But you didn't use the slice a lot tonight. You didn't use the slice a lot.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I use it. I use it not against the wind, because against the wind is not easy. The ball is coming too fast.
But in other place, I use it a few times and works well.

End of FastScripts

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