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March 16, 2012

Rafael Nadal


R. NADAL/D. Nalbandian
4‑6, 7‑5, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Nalbandian seemed pretty comfortable until about 5‑All in the second set, and there seemed to be a big change when you broke him.  Did you feel the match turn there?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yes, I believe that probably I played very short.  That's true.  I played very short later in the second set.  I believe I started the match hitting good the ball, but having too much mistakes, too many mistakes.
So after that game with the 5‑4, he has a break, he has the first set, and he has good chances at the second.  So he looked comfortable on court, that's true, but that's probably I helped him a little bit more than what I must did, no?
So, yeah, he had a couple of mistakes with the 5‑4 of the second, one double fault, and I had a good passing shot.  But couple mistakes of him, and I played a good game with the 6‑5 to close the second set.
Yeah, was a change.  I think I started the third well.  He looks a little bit more tired.  But at the end of the match was close another time.
So with the 5‑4 and 15‑40 the match was there, very close, and anything can happen.

Q.  Is it true you're going to be carrying the Spanish flag during the Olympics?  If so, what will that experience mean to you?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I cannot answer the second one because the first answer, that's not true, no?  I don't know.  I would love to do it, you know.  If that happen will be an honor for me and I will be very glad.
But seriously, nobody give me that information or confirm to me that information.  So that's something that, you know, normal thing that happens for you.  The press, you know, says things, but the real thing is I really don't have the confirmation of the Spanish COE.  So I cannot answer that question.  That's the true, no?
I would love to do it, and it will be an honor if that's happens.

Q.  Has that been mentioned?  Has anything been said to you at all or hinted about that possibility?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I don't have‑‑ I said I don't have confirmation on that.  I don't have information about that gonna happen, so...
I said if that happen, it will be an honor for me.  And will represent Spain in Olympic Games with flag or without the flag.  Will be a fantastic experience, and I'm very excited on that, on play the Olympic Games another time.
But, you know, if I have the chance to have the flag on my hands in the presentation of the Olympics will be a pleasure for me.  But that's all.  We cannot talk more about that, because we can talk one hour, but the real thing is we don't know nothing (smiling).

Q.  Fans have such great interest in your rivalry with Roger.  In your book, you said that if you silence your doubts and you increased your hopes more than Roger did that you could beat him.  Could you talk about that and about your doubts that you've had against Roger and how you've overcome those?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I have doubts every day.  That's part of the life.  You have doubts?

Q.  I have lots of doubts.
RAFAEL NADAL:  Huh?  (Laughter.)

Q.  Did an entire column on doubts.
RAFAEL NADAL:  I believe everybody have doubts.  I believe everybody who is not too arrogant have doubts.  That's the real life.  I have doubts.
At the same time I believe that I can do it, but I don't think‑‑ I don't want to go to bed tonight thinking I gonna win the match of tomorrow.  I gonna go to bed tonight thinking that hopefully I will play a fantastic match and hopefully I will have my chances to win the match.
That's my real thoughts.  They are doubts, yes, because I don't believe that I gonna win the match.  I believe that gonna be a very difficult match for me, and I don't know if I gonna be able to play my best.  I don't know if I gonna be able to win another time.
But that's part of the game, and that's the beautiful things about the sport, in my opinion.  I gonna go there.  I gonna fight every ball and try to play my best tennis and I hope that's gonna happen, but I don't know.

Q.  After your long match with Nalbandian about three years ago, you came in and said, He's one of these guys you just can't figure out.  Is that still the case?

Q.  No, before.  Remember the one that went to 2:00 in the morning?  About three years ago you played Nalbandian.

Q.  You came in after that and said he was difficult for you to figure out.  You just didn't know how to play him.  Is that still the case?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I think is different case today than few years ago because I was playing better tonight, this afternoon, than few years ago before the match.  That's my feeling.
So I started the match too nervous without any reason today.  Because I think I was playing very well during all the tournament.  I didn't lost my serve during all the tournament.  I felt very well, playing fantastic tennis.
I started the new season playing well, having a very good tournament in Doha then in Australia.  I feel confident.  I feel the things are going better, and I am able to play better tennis than for a lot of moments last year.
So that gave me a lot of confidence.  I believe my level is a little bit higher for moments this year.  But another time the doubts are there, and today was a typical day that I started the match with some doubts.
Nalbandian always gives me problems on my game, and that probably make me feel a little bit not safe before the match.  That's why probably I had more mistakes than usual.
But I am in semifinals; I am through.  I am very happy.  That's the true.  Tomorrow I have a fantastic match to enjoy and to try to play aggressive, to try to play another time very well, and to try my best in every moment.
But being in semifinals after outside, a while outside of competition, is a fantastic result, and very happy for that.  Everything is to win now.
Probably the pressure is not any more for me.  But in that match probably, yes.

Q.  Roger suggested these courts are very slow, almost as slow as clay, and that most of the tour events are played on slow courts these days.  He suggested he may like to see faster courts.  How do you feel about that?
RAFAEL NADAL:  The most of what?

Q.  He suggested she is courts are very slow?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Federer, yes, but the rest of the thing?

Q.  That the tour is also playing more tournaments on slower courts and there haven't very many faster courts to play on these days, that perhaps that would be better for...
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don't know the past days.  I only know these days.  My feeling this court is not slower than most of the hard court courts from the rest of the season.  That's my feeling.
That the ball flies quick here.  The ball is fast, my opinion, and the surface is normal hard court.  Not quicker than the rest; not slower than the rest.
I feel good.  I like this court.  I don't know, maybe next year will be much faster if Roger says, no?  I have already this week a lot of time violation.  That's the true.

Q.  In just a while, the tour will be going to the clay season.  When you get out there on clay, what's the feeling like?  You feel more confident?

Q.  On clay.
RAFAEL NADAL:  I feel more nervous.  That's the first thing that I feel, because I feel that I have more chances to play well and to win.  I feel more nervous.
But the real thing at the end, if I feel that I am playing more ‑‑ well, on clay I feel more, a little bit more safe.  I have more time for everything.  I have more time to think about what I have to do in every ball, to think about how to play, you know, think about a little bit more about tactics.
Here sometime serve and the first ball are very important, first two shots there.  You can start a point sometimes slower; you can play aggressive.  You have the chance to defend; you have the chance to attack.
Here, defending, just defending probably is impossible.

Q.  Is clay more fun?
RAFAEL NADAL:  For me, yes.  (Smiling.)
But I gonna say is more than more fun, is more healthy.  That's the true.  These kind of courts are not.  Hard courts are not healthy.  That's the true.  That's my feeling, and that's something that not gonna change for my era.
But the people who runs this sport have to think about that.  Today we have lot of injuries in the knees, in the ankles, in the hip.
So I believe.  I am free to say that today after, you know, probably winning in every court.  I'm feeling that I can play my best tennis in all the courts, not only on clay.
I didn't feel free to say that probably five years ago, but today I feel free to say that because I don't have to show nobody that I am ready to play well in every place.
I am not saying that because I prefer clay.  I am saying that because I believe grass and clay are much more healthy for the body than hard courts.
That's something that for the future, if the people who run this sport are not smart to change, that will be a big advantage for this sport.

Q.  Looked like as you began to pull away from Nalbandian in the third set you started to do a lot more serve and volley.  Is that something you like to do a little bit more of in your game?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Serve and volley?  (Smiling.)
Ah, I hit fantastic volleys this afternoon.

Q.  Yeah, many.
RAFAEL NADAL:  But is something that I am not able to do it every time.  That's the true.  I am able to do it on a few occasions, and today was one of these ones.  You know, depends on the situation.  When I go to the net I didn't decide before the serve I gonna do serve and volley.
I serve; I see the ball is a good slice serve; the opponent arrives like this; I go to the net.  But before the serve I don't think I gonna do serve and volley.  Is something that is not in my pentium.

Q.  You and Roger have played 27 times already.  When this sort of a meeting happens, everybody sits up and takes notice.  When you go out on the court to play him, is everything different?  Is everything new?  Is there a lot of the same stuff from other matches?  How do you feel when you go out each time to play Federer?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Always are special matches, no, especially because always are in very important matches for both of us.  That makes always the match very special.
But even if it's not the final, being in semifinals is important match.  But I play always against Roger means a little bit more than against the rest of the opponents because, you know.  I am playing probably against the best of the history, and because I played probably the most important matches in my career against him and probably him against me.
So that's why it makes the match a little bit more special than the rest.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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