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May 29, 2014

Rafael Nadal


R. NADAL/D. Thiem
6‑2, 6‑2, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in English, please.

Q.  You must be fairly pleased with the way you played today because you brought a lot of power and aggression to the match?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Thank you very much.  Yes.  Sure, happy.  No, I think was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today.  I played well, yeah.  I played the way that I would like to play.  I resist when he was going for the shots playing ‑‑he has very powerful shots, very powerful forehand and good backhand, too.
I am happy that the way I resisted.  When I had to play long points I did well.  When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well.  I went to the net a few times.  I'm happy that the way I returned today.

Q.  You have such a great history here, you're such an icon here.  These young guys who are really talented and maybe aren't afraid like some other guys, they must really look forward to playing with you.  Is this an advantage or a disadvantage for them?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don't think ‑‑I don't see him afraid, no.  That's my feeling.
No, no, I saw him going for the points, going for the shots.  It's true sometimes he make a few mistakes, but at the same time is always normal, no?
This court is always difficult.  It's difficult to find the positive feelings when you are not used to it.  The court is so big and always, even today, was not a really difficult day, because always can be very windy here.  Always the wind moves around a little bit and makes the sensation, the feeling not perfect, no, for the people who is not used to play.
But in general, I think he has a lot of positive things to be a very good player.

Q.  You played Dominic Thiem for the very first time.  He's Austria's big hope.  What do you think the future can bring for him?
RAFAEL NADAL:  It's always the same, no?  For everybody is the same.  For me it was the same when I had 17 or 16.  I will have my chance at that age to be in the top position if I am able to keep improving.
And is true that in my opinion for him is a little bit easier than what it was for me, because he already has a very good serve.  For me, at the age of 17, I know he has 20, but today he's talking, making the right comparation, because today the people is coming inside the tour later.  At the age of 20 you are very young today.
Was similar when I was in and I was 17.  He already has positive serves, a lot of power with his forehand, with his backhand.
I didn't have that serve at the age of 17.  I didn't have the backhand, I didn't have that power.
So always is question of keep improving, make the normal evolution, be enough humble to keep practicing as hard as you did before.  I am not lying, seriously.
I have almost 28.  Djokovic and Andy has 27.  Federer has, I don't know, 32.  The new generation, new players, have to come.  We not gonna be here for 10 more years (laughter).
The normal thing is Dominic will be there in a short period of time, and he will have his chances to become top star and fight for these tournaments.

Q.  Last year you needed four sets in the first round and the second round.  This year you only needed three sets in the first and the second.  Are you surprised that you were able to find your rhythm so early in the tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No one year is the same, no, no, no.  Happy the way that I played today.  That's it.  No, no, no, doesn't mean nothing, doesn't mean nothing that last year I start at a very hard week, but I played well when I had to play well.
That's about what we are talking and that's about our sport.  So if you play bad when you can play bad and you are able to find a solution to win, you will have another day.  If the day that you have to play well you play well, that's it.  Doesn't matter what happened before.
So today I played well, and I had to play well.  That's a positive thing.  Let's see after tomorrow there gonna be another tough match.

Q.  For a long time there has been a little boy over there in the yellow bandanna peering in, looking at a press conference in tennis.  Do you remember the first time you saw, you viewed the great sport of tennis at the professional level and were you inspired by that moment?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I cannot remember that, sorry (smiling).
No, but at the end the inspiration, you get your inspiration in the motivation of yourself, about every day.  That was my motivation during the whole of my career.  The next day, the next practice.
Probably I didn't need the inspiration of watching another players.  My motivation was to improve myself, and I don't know where I can arrive.  But if I can arrive at the level of 200, but try my best in every day, and if at the end I was only the No. 200, it's fine.  I will give everything.
So that was my motivation and my inspiration.  And for sure the emotional moments of a sport in general, that gives you, I don't know, I don't know, maybe an inspirational moment.
You know, you see some moments on the sport in general that can give you that inspiration or that example of suffering or improving or trying your best in a tough situation that can help you.

Q.  But people talk about that inspiration that you have, not just year to year or tournament to tournament, but even point to point, always fighting, giving everything.  Where do you think that comes from?  Did you have it from the beginning?  Did Toni help?  Where does that come from?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I think that comes from the practice.  That comes from the education.
At the end, you can practice everything.  Mental part, you can practice.  The character, you can practice your character, you need to work on it.
I don't know another way to practice on it that when you are practicing, try and try and try and try every day.  That's the education that I received, and probably that really help with me to be able to come back after injuries, to come back after tough situations on matches.
So all that things that probably my uncle, my family give it to me, and my parents doing, especially when you are a kid, and not only the words, the words are always say the same, but it's the true, no?  If I see my father that told me you have to fight until the last ball, you need to work every day, and I see my father watching the TV at 11:00 in the morning, probably the word was the real one, but the example was not the positive one, no?
But I see my father all my life working so hard every single day and doing as much as he can for everything.  That was a great inspiration for me.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions in Spanish.

Q.  Congratulations for this win.  Well, you dominated such a player, Dominic Thiem.  Can you tell us more about your feelings, please, and what you think about this player and his future?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, thank you.  I think it was a very good match.  I knew what I had to do more or less at the right time when I had to make decisions, when the rallies were long, and I continued to deploy an attacking style and made him move around the court.  I put pressure on him, I think.
Therefore, he had to move around the court.  I was a good defender, as well, myself, you know.  When there were dropshots I knew what to do.  I think my legwork was good today, as well as my backhand, as well.  That's okay.
I think that with my backhand I could tug at the right and complicated angles.  And also, with my forehand, I was really playing it safe.  I knew what I was doing with my forehand.
In general, I think we can say that this match was a comprehensive type of match.  I think that I have managed to remain quite consistent physically speaking and also in terms of my tennis.
But also mentally speaking I made very few mistakes or errors, I think, very few of them.  Well, maybe when I returned during the second set, 15‑30, yeah, I remember two important mistakes.
Otherwise I think I played well.  I really fought back against his attacks.
And as far as his game is concerned, as I said earlier on in English, I think that, you know, our generation is now on the way out, you know, like Murray, Djokovic, Ferrer, and Berdych and others, and Tsonga, as well, we have been here for a long while.  Like Tsonga, who is older than I am, it's normal.  A generation is walking away and others will replace us.  It will not come overnight, but it will come.
I think that this player has a huge potential and could be one of the ones who's going to replace us.  His tennis style is really good.  What he could work on is his footwork and how he moves on the court.  That's all.
Otherwise with this he could perhaps come to the balls, come to the points more.  But otherwise he lost ground for a little while.
But otherwise, you know, playing on the Philippe Chatrier, on the central court, is something difficult.  We lose our landmarks.  It's huge, so big, it's difficult to play on this court.
But apart from that, I think his speed is really good, and also the way he changes directions, he serves well, as well.  I think he has a bright future ahead of him.

Q.  Would you say that you feel safer today, I mean, against a one‑handed backhand player, versus the two‑handed backhand player?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I never feel that much of confidence.  I feel confidence when I play well, irrespective of these backhand shots, one‑handed or two‑handed.  If I hit the balls and the points, I don't really care about the backhand of my opponent.
I think that I can really hurt people when I play one‑handed backhands or two‑handed backhands.  Now, with my crossed forehand I play a good shot, even though, for me, it's a two‑handed backhand, I know what it means to give spin to the balls is not something easy.
I think that my two‑handed backhand is not that bad.  But the most important thing is that it's the spin you give to the balls that counts.  And then you'll see the trajectory of these balls.
You know, if it's a two‑handed backhand, well, it very much depends on their footwork and where you are exactly on the court.  But some opponents play with one hand; others with two hands.  Anyway, they can be difficult.

Q.  It's the first time for the time being you have played on the central court.  You said it was sliding too much and a bit too heavy, I think.
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yeah, that's true.  I think the central court has improved a lot.  The conditions on the central court have improved.

Q.  I think you left for a little while in the locker rooms.  What's the reason?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, to pee (laughter).

Q.  What about your feelings?  What do you feel now after the match against someone you had never played against before?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, you know, against a young player, you never know.  You're always wondering how far he's going to go.  It's always difficult to draw the line and to know, because the young players, they are difficult to decipher.  Everything is new for them.  They're fresher logically.
I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the match.  I knew that this player was playing well.  He could really hurt me, and he's going to return all types of shots.
But after a few rallies my feelings were good, and then I gained more confidence.  I managed to dominate the game rather easily, I'd say, during the second set.
And then the third one, as well, I thought that I had gained enough confidence.  I was playing better than he was.  I was not that nervous, and he had less drive at the end, less dynamism.
And so of course it changes when you play against someone you already know.  Against this match, when you don't know who the player is, because you don't know how far you can go.
But in any case, if I could manage to dictate the game, if I can impose my game, but then if the other player plays better than me, then this is a surprise, of course, but then you have to persevere.

Q.  What about Leonardo Mayer?  What do you know of him?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, we have played several times.  He's very powerful when he serves, forehand serve.  And also his backhand is really good.  He runs about quite a lot.  He's really dangerous as a player.  We have practiced as well together.  I know him well.
And you always have to be careful.  Eyes wide open.  You have to have enough breath and he has to move and run around the court, because he's an attacker and he moves a lot and plays a lot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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