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May 2, 2021

Rafael Nadal

Madrid, Spain

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This is of course a time of the year where you play some of your best tennis, on clay, and I was interested to find out why do you think it is that you thrive on clay? How do you sustain your excellence year after year?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is true that for such a long time I have been playing well during this part of the season. Probably the clay adapts well to my game, no?

Of course it's true that I didn't play that much on clay to analyze if this part of the season, this moment on the season works well for me or is just the surface, but looks like is more the surface, no?

Yeah, I am excited always playing this part of the season. I love the tournaments. Close to home and at the same time we play tournaments that are part of the history of our sport. Personally, I always enjoy playing in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, here, Rome, and then of course Roland Garros, no?

So I am very familiar with all these places. I enjoy it. I keep enjoying. That's the most important thing for me today.

Q. Given the situation of the postponement of Roland Garros this year, do you think that's advantage or disadvantage to build up your game towards Roland Garros?

RAFAEL NADAL: I can tell you in one month. I can't tell you now, no?

I don't know. I mean, I don't see a big difference between one or the other thing. For me personally, like, in terms of preparation for the tournaments, of course in the past the other way worked very well for me, but last year worked well and was completely different, no?

I don't know. I mean, the situation is how it is around the world. The only thing that is a little bit less positive is we have one week less between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, no? That's the main issue more than about the preparation, for me personally, for Roland Garros. I don't think going to make a big change.

Q. How different or is it difficult playing in Madrid compared to some of the other clay court events because you're dealing with altitude, et cetera?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is the most difficult event for me, everybody knows. But at the same time is one of the most emotional events for me, playing at home. We gonna have a chance to play with crowd again. So that means a lot to me, no? Super happy to be back here.

Yeah, in terms of tennis is true that here the situation is a little bit tougher, no? Less control, more difficult to be under control in the points.

But I had some success here, yeah. I won a couple of times. I had some good tournaments. So I'm excited to be back and I hope to be ready to play well. That's the main thing.

Q. People often say that you work harder than everyone by far and that you play every point like it's match point. I notice that you always say that you're more relaxed than that. So I was wondering if you ever feel misunderstood in any way.

RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think I'm a relaxed guy outside of the court. On court I think I have always been playing with a positive attitude and of course try my best, no? But almost always under good self-control, no?

No, I play with passion, with clear goals and with love for the game, no? So that's the main issues that I have been working on in my tennis career, no? Just keep playing with the right intensity and at the same time have enough passion to go on court every day and try to be better player. That's the whole thing.

Q. How is your mindset for this week coming in to Madrid off of your title win in Barcelona last week?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, is another opportunity for me to play another big event on clay at home with some crowds. That makes big difference. So excited. Excited about that, no?

My mindset is always the same: arrive to a tournament, have the right preparation, and try to be ready to compete at the highest level since the beginning.

Then just have to say that Barcelona have been an important week for me. Of course without playing my best since the beginning, I was able to be passionate, to stay positive and to accept the challenge, try to win matches without playing my best. I was able to achieve another important title in my career, no? So that's important for my confidence.

I really believe that winning these kind of tournaments when you are not playing that well then can make a big difference for the next ones, no? So I feel that that was a positive week. Then now is another week, and I hope to be ready, honestly.

Q. Can I just take you back to Barcelona again for a second. After you won, the excitement that you had, obviously winning a title is always exciting and positive, but there were some people in tennis, media, et cetera, that were sort of surprised at how excited and how thrilled and all that sort of stuff you were after winning that tournament over there. Was there a specific reason besides, as you just said, it being an important tournament for your career? Was it the fact that you were coming off injuries, you had some tough early-round matches, you faced a match point, and there was a lot of relief at the end? Could you explain what that level was like for you?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it was a match of 3 hours, 40 minutes against a good opponent. I didn't play much tennis for one year. I lost in Monte-Carlo. I suffered at the beginning of the tournament.

I worked hard I think mentally to keep going, and I won an important event for me, an event that means a lot. Was my No. 12 if I'm not wrong there in Barcelona. So have been an important moment for me in some way when you are not playing that often. Was only my third event of the year, and last year I didn't play much. So the feeling to win again and to win a match like this is always positive, no?

Yeah, I mean, I say before I live my tennis career with passion, and that's the result of the passion when you win a match like this.

Q. Last week in Barcelona there was crowd and same as this week. We do have a lot of fans cheering for your game. Do you think it is really important for you, Novak, or Roger to beat players that really need the crowd to give you the energy compared to other maybe young players?

RAFAEL NADAL: I think it's important for everyone, but of course for the players who already probably achieved almost everything, the crowd is an important, even more important than for the others, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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