March 9, 2013. INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA, R. NADAL def. R. Harrison 7‑6, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How satisfied were you by the way you played and obviously the outcome?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am satisfied to be in the next round. That’s the most important thing. I am satisfied to be here playing at Indian Wells. Two weeks ago, two weeks before, I didn’t really know if I would be here playing.
I am happy to be here. I am happy to be in the third round. Good victory for me today against a good opponent.
I felt that I had the match more or less, you know, ‑‑you never have control of the matches, no? But with this 4‑1 and few breakpoints, I feel that I was playing okay. Nothing, you know, special, but okay.
And after that I lost that game, and I played fantastic game in the 4‑2 with one double fault, three forehands outside of the stadium. (Laughter.)
You know, after that the set became very tricky.
Q. How do you feel after the match? Do you feel good?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am fine, yeah. My physical performance needs to improve. My movements need to improve. Matches like this help me, for sure, no?
Today more than any result, any victory is important for me because that gives me the chance to play another day. That’s what I need, play matches. I need to compete. I really, you know, want to compete, and I need.
So that’s the only way to win matches without playing fantastic. That’s the only way to play very well in a short period of time.
Q. Were you able to go out there and say, I’m going to run as much as I can? I don’t care what my knees feel like, I’m just going to play? Or is it sometimes in your mind?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I try my best in every moment, no? After seven months I’m not gonna take crazy risks. But I am here. When I am playing a tournament, if you know myself, my mentality is try my best in every moment.
I really don’t think about my knee, but is true that for me today after seven months out of competition is easier to start and play on clay more than grass. Is true that we have the clay court season not very far.
Q. Here in America it’s hard court, hard court, hard court. Do you think there should be more clay court tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t want to say that, because anything that I will say not gonna affect in my career. That’s not going to change during the years that I will be playing, no?
I think it’s more medical things than players think. Hard courts are aggressive for the body.
If for the next generations wants to have longer careers and want to finish his careers with better conditions physically, that’s my humble opinion. ATP have to find a solution and not continue playing more and more tournaments on this surface that is the harder one for the joints and for the knees, for the foot, for the ankles, for the back, for everything.
Q. You’re the main one who talks about hard courts and wanting to have more tournaments not on hard courts. Not as many as the other top players discuss that. Do you think that a lot of players discuss your opinion, or do you think it’s more your personal experience, more you than other people?
RAFAEL NADAL: Depends. If you will ask a player who plays fantastic on this court is a thing that‑‑ sorry. At the end, we are here. At the end, it’s an individual game. At the end, everybody thinks for himself.
And if somebody plays great on this surface, it’s difficult to go against this surface, no? Is normal that if the volume of the tournaments on hard are more than in the rest of the surfaces, is normal than like the top players of the world, best players of the world, are specialists on hard courts.
So they not gonna go against the hard court. That’s why I say is not another players’ thing, it’s a medical thing. Somebody have to think not for today. I repeat: I’m not talking about my career. My career is done.
We gonna finish my career playing on the same or more tournaments on hard, because that’s the dynamic.
But, yes, no, my opinion is for the next generations that something have to change.
Q. You have recently launched the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy. Can you talk about that and what you hope tennis fans will take away from it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think it’s a great application, no? Somebody, normal people can compare his shots with professional tennis players. I think it’s a great idea. I support it. I love that. I really think that it’s a good thing, and I hope the people enjoy it.
Q. Is it kind of amazing how healthy Roger has stayed throughout his career, considering all the hard court tennis he’s played?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. It’s amazing? I don’t think so. I think, you know, he’s very good. Don’t take my words because my English is not perfect, no? But I think he’s very lucky to have this talent, no? The talent of Roger is amazing, and the things that he’s able to do it, you know, the rest of the‑‑ all the players, we are not able to play this way.
He win a lot of matches with, you know, short points; win a lot of matches with the serve, with one forehand.
So, you know, that’s why he’s able to keep having big, you know, big career and very long.
That’s amazing thing that’s have a lot of value. No, nothing to say about that. He’s great, and for many reason he’s the best of the history, no?
Q. At this stage of your comeback, is it more important to win matches even if you don’t feel like you’re playing well, you’re not moving well, or is it more important even if you lose to feel like you’re hitting the ball well, you’re moving better? Which is more important?
RAFAEL NADAL: Seven months away, a lot. I will repeat the same answer than before: If you win, you have more chances. If you have more chances, you will compete more and you will practice more and you will be ready to put yourself in 100% conditions in a short period of time.
If you are losing very early it’s tough because you can practice a lot, but at the end, it’s not enough, the practice, no? Important thing is compete.
I’m very happy about what I did in Latin America clay court season. Was very important for me, and I really came here because it’s one of my favorite tournaments. I really want to keep competing.
But for the first tournament on hard and with the conditions, I don’t expect big result, but just be here, practice with the other players, compete like tonight I did, have another chance after tomorrow.
That’s very positive for me. And seriously, I happy, and I don’t expect a lot. I take everything like positive thing. For me, today, every victory playing great, playing bad, have a lot of value, no?
If I can play fantastic like I did in Acapulco, very happy because I was playing one of my, you know, top levels that I played ever on clay.
But if I played not well like I did in Brazil and I was able to go to the final and win it, that’s a very positive thing. These things help me, like the things in Brazil helped me to play much better in Acapulco.
Q. You have many fans. It’s been said that really no one was quite missed like the way you were missed these last months. Has there been one moment, one comment, that has been particularly touching to you and that you reflect on as a nice moment of appreciation for people’s sense of your absence?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me I think will be not good to say anyone, no? For me, my feeling was I feel the love of the people during all this time.
Because when you are winning and when you are playing is great to have all this support, because, you know, you feel important; you feel great on court.
But when you are off, when you are not having your best moment receive as many messages as I did, I receive, you know, in my personal phone and in the Twitter and Facebook, you know, is something very important.
And seriously, you know, that’s give me a lot of energy, no, to keep doing, keep trying hard every day. When I was back and I played in South America and Brazil and Chile and in Mexico, the support more than ever was really, really amazing.
When you feel that support of the people, when you go on court, when you are walking around outside of the court, is something that, you know, you cannot appreciate sometimes when you are doing, you know, when you are having that every week.
But when you come back after seven months, you know how ‑‑ you really understand how much I miss it, all of this, no?
Q. Just back to hard courts, you have won US Open, Australia, here, Canada, Cincinnati.
RAFAEL NADAL: Madrid. Cincinnati didn’t play well there. Never (Laughter.)
Q. But you have won a lot of big tournaments on hard courts.
RAFAEL NADAL: You know what? I am saying that today about the hard courts, because if I had to answer that question in 2005, 2006, maybe I will not answer that question, because seems like I am just having this opinion because I prefer to play on clay because I am much better on clay than hard.
But today, after winning, you know, a lot of tournaments on hard and having a fantastic career, if we pull out all my clay court titles and just analyze my career outside of clay, I had, you know, much better career that I ever dreamed.
That’s why I feel that I have the chance to have my opinion, and, you know, to express my opinion, because I was able to play very well on hard for a long time. I win a lot of important tournaments on hard, and that’s give me the confidence to say that to you.
Q. So in a sense, though, you’re saying maybe you sacrificed maybe too much of your body to win those tournaments on hard courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I did what I had to do to be happy. I did what I had to do to convert my goals. I did.
Seems stupid say like if I will be back on time I will not change nothing, because I will change things for sure, 100%.
But I tried hard to win the US Open; I tried hard to win Australia; I tried very hard no win in the Olympic Games. That was very important for me.
I work very hard to be better player on every surface. Finally I think I did, because I played great on Wimbledon a lot of times; I played great in US Open; great in Australia. I think since‑‑ I don’t know how my career gonna come back now, but before I stop in 2012 I was able to compete. I had the chance to win in every tournament I played, on hard, clay, grass. That’s a lot. Means a lot to me.
Q. Tonight’s was a very quick match. His attitude was to come at you, to come to the net, to make you play your shots quickly, but you seem to be playing a little quicker than normal. Are you having to just change your attitude a little bit knowing that there is a bit more pressure on you to play the points?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s true. I played much faster, no? And I am doing because somebody very smart puts a new rule that is a disaster, in my opinion. Not in places like here that is dry, you know, not very humid place, but is completely disaster when we are playing in tournaments like Acapulco, Brazil, or Chile.
Q. Or Rome.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry. I cannot support that, because for so many facts in my opinion the rule is wrong. First thing, because the rules go against the great points of tennis.
Because if you see the highlights of the end of the season, I didn’t see not one highlight, the best points of the season, I did not see not one ace.
The best points of the season are long rallies and amazing points. With this 25 seconds, you play a long rally and you think you can play another long rally next point? No. So go against the good tennis.
So the guy who really accepted this rule was not very smart, in my opinion. Even if you don’t have time for the TV to repeat a good point, and then the referee, I don’t know what he’s doing on his chair. We can play without referee 100%. The lines on every line, Hawk‑Eye, now 25 seconds. He don’t have to analyze nothing. He just have to put the clock and that’s it. Then we can play. Put the clock on court and play without umpire, because it’s not necessary anymore because the umpire is not enough good to analyze if the match is being hard, if somebody is losing time, penalize him with a warning.
If both players are going the same way because you are playing a great point and you need to rest 40 seconds after the point, we don’t need anymore umpire. That’s my feeling. You know what I did? Maybe somebody‑‑ maybe nobody did at the ATP, but I went back to my matches, great matches, in Grand Slams, playing long rallies in big tournaments, and when you play like a 30 points, you know, 30‑shots rally, 40‑shots rally like final of Roland Garros, like final of Australia, like final of any good tournament, you know, how much time we rested?
You have to see the third set of the US Open 2011 against Djokovic, and you tell me if the crowd was very happy about what happened in that set or not, and tell me if with this new rule that can happen again. Please.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports