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March 21, 2014

Rafael Nadal


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Describe the feeling of what it's like to compete against Lleyton Hewitt, and does he remind you of yourself more than anybody else in terms of a competitive spirit?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I don't know about that.  I think he's a great inspiration for a lot of players after winning a lot of things as he did, and having a lot of physical problems he's able to keep competing with unbelievable spirit, great motivation.  He's able to come back after important injuries.
So that's a great example for the rest of the players.  I am happy to see him playing well again.  Hopefully not tomorrow (smiling).
But, yeah, he already won a tournament this year, so it will be a tough match for me.  I need to play well.  I'm going to try.

Q.  You're obviously motivated for every tournament, but this one you haven't won.  It's one of the few places.  Does that give you extra motivation?  You'd like to notch one more tournament you haven't won before?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yeah, sure, I would love to win here any year, but it will be not fair if I sayyes.  I would be lying to you.  When I am playing a tournament, I always try my best in every one.
So when I go on court, I try my best in every tournament, in every match.  I gonna do it the same here, no?
Hopefully I will have a good few days.  I hope to be competitive tomorrow.  Never is easy the first round, especially when you play an opponent like Lleyton, and especially when he already played a match, so it will be tough battle.
I need to be very competitive.  I need to be ready.  I hope I will be, you know, but we will see.

Q.  Is it a little different playing in Miami than other parts of the you States because people are in the stands with Spanish flags, people are speaking Spanish, and you have a lot of fans here?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yes, you know, is it different because there are a lot of Latinos here, so that makes the tournament a little more special for us.
But I really feel the love of the people in a lot of places here in Miami, almost in every one that I played.
So I cannot say nothing bad with Cincinnati, with Indian Wells‑‑ especially Indian Wells.  I love it.  And for sure in the US Open.
So I feel, you know, really loved from the people of America.  So nothing to say against that, no?  I really enjoy a lot playing here in America, but is true with all the Latin communities, it's really special.

Q.  You obviously looked very disappointed after the Dolgopolov match in Indian Wells.  Did that take you a couple of days to get over that?  How did you react after you left the court?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I am a good loser (smiling).  I accept when you go on court you can lose and you can win.
I like to win, but I don't want to win forever.  I have to know that and everybody have to know that.
So you have to be ready for the good moments, for the bad moments, and in the end I have to say that I feel very lucky that I had much better good moments than bad moments during my career.
One week and something ago I lost against a good player 7‑6 in the third.  I didn't play well.  He played better than me.  He deserved the victory.  I fighted until the end.  Was not the day.
I just tried to keep practicing hard to be ready for here.  I hope to be ready for tomorrow.  And if the things aren't going well tomorrow here, I going to go back to Europe and practice for the clay court season.  That's important for me, too.
So the tennis has a very negative thing, that is when you win you don't have time for celebrate.  Few days you are again under pressure and you need to be ready again.
The positive thing is when you lose, in a short period of time you have the time to play again, too.
So the two things for one side is good, for another side is not good.  I will have opportunities to play better, and I hope I will be.  Because at the end I started well the season playing four tournaments, three finals, two victories.  Is a great start.
No, I cannot say.  I don't consider myself that good to not consider a start like this a very good start.
So I'm happy about what I did, and remain to play a little bit better again after the injury of Australia.  Even if I won in Rio, I felt that I can do it better.  I need a little bit of time to practice and find the confidence with my serve, with my movements.
I hope to do it soon.

Q.  Another question about Lleyton.  Does it help in a way to have an opening match where it's against a high‑profile player who is very fired up and excited after his win yesterday?  Does it give you more motivation than when you're playing in an opening match that it's going to be so competitive and exciting against a fan favorite and so on?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I prefer an easier opponent (smiling).  But that's what there is.  I cannot choose the draw.
Gonna be tough one.  But at the same time, he's a player that you can play‑‑ we are gonna play rallies from the baseline.  Gonna be a hard one.
But the good thing of playing these kind of matches is that if you are able to win, you will be in rhythm for the tournament.
Against the players that I played last week, Stepanek or Dolgopolov, even if you win, you feel that you are not playing the point the way you want to play.
So different history.  The good thing is if I am able to play a good match tomorrow and win, probably I will be confident and on rhythm.
If I lose, I gonna be on rhythm flying home.  (Laughter.)

Q.  You played Lleyton a lot in the past.  Is he somebody you like and enjoy to play?  And if so, what is it you like about facing him?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I admire him when I was a kid and I saw him on the TV.  I like his character.  He always fighting for every ball.  He always give everything on court.  He's a good example of how to fight in the tennis court.
For sure when I was younger I remember very good battles against him.  In Australia I lost twice, but won in three very close sets and another one in five sets.
It was great memories, and especially playing at his home.  So I always have good memories of the matches against him, and will be tomorrow another one.

Q.  What can you say about the tournament in Rio?
RAFAEL NADAL:  In Rio?  Good.  I really enjoyed it.  Was very humid (smiling).
It was a great experience for me.  Three times that I was in Brazil I was able to win the three.
So it was a great feeling always when I had the chance to play there in Brazil.  The tournament is great, and is great to have big tournaments in Latino America.
Is important part of the world for the world of tennis, and I am happy to see more and more tournaments at that place.
Because in the end, is important to play and to have tournaments other places that the people really feel the sport, feel our sport and like our sport.
I feel that when I was playing in Latin America, every time the court was 100% full and very great crowd.
I hope to see a Masters 1000 in the future there around Latin America.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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