An interview with RAFAEL NADAL (August 7, 2013)

MONTREAL, QUEBEC, R. NADAL/J. Levine: 6‑2, 6‑0

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You must be pleased.  First match since Wimbledon in singles. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Pleased about the victory, first thing.  After seven weeks without playing a match, starting in a very tough tournament like Masters 1000 in Montréal, fast court, be through in the second round, it’s a good new.  Third round, is a great new.  That is the first thing.
The conditions out there today was very difficult.  A lot of windy.  Very difficult to play.  I have to be proud and happy about the way that I played.

Q.  How does the fact that you came in early help you adjust to the hard court, that you’ve been here since Wednesday?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Probably little bit of everything.  Is difficult to say that’s help, no?
But I arrived here one week before because my feeling is that can help me.  So I always try to do the best things possible to compete well, to arrive to the right conditions for the competition.  Sometimes works that well; sometimes works not that well. 
Here we are.  I’m in the third round now.  We’ll see tomorrow.

Q.  It’s been eight years since you beat Agassi here for your first hard court victory.  Does that seem like a long time ago or does it feel like it happened yesterday?
RAFAEL NADAL:  A lot of things happens with this eight years or nine years.  I don’t know.  It’s already nine.  But, yes, all the things that happened in my career during this period of time was just a dream for me.  Very happy.  You know, very, very special moments I enjoyed during these eight years.
This victory here in Montréal is always going to be a fantastic memory for me.  Also my first victory on hard, in Masters 1000.  Makes it very special.  In a very nice city like Montréal, a fantastic opponent in front.  All the combination makes that final very special for me.

Q.  The last time you played on hard was Indian Wells.  You won it.  Then you pulled out of Miami because too much tennis on hard is not very good for the body, I understand. 
RAFAEL NADAL:  Was not exactly like this, was not exactly that situation (smiling).
I pulled out of Miami because I played in Sao Paulo, Chile, Acapulco, all the finals.  Then I won in Indian Wells.  I have to play Monte‑Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros.  Is because I felt that I didn’t feel great of my knee.  I felt that I need to improve to compete well in Europe.  That’s why I take a month without playing tennis to prepare the clay court season.

Q.  This being said, hard court here, Cincinnati, US Open, how do you feel about a lot of tennis on this surface for the body?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t know.  I am here in Montréal.  I go step by step, day to day, week by week.  I’m happy to be here in Montréal.  It’s a tournament I really like.  I like the people from here.  I feel very comfortable when I am playing here in Montréal.  The atmosphere always was great.
I played very nice matches in this fantastic court.  The organization of the tournament, the director of tournament, always was very nice with me.  I enjoy being here.  I don’t think farther than that.  I think about the match of tomorrow, and then we’ll see in Cincinnati, then we’ll see in the US Open.
That’s my philosophy today because is very difficult after what happened to me last year think that far.  I take a rest of seven weeks, obligatory rest, because I didn’t want to rest.  I wanted to play on Hamburg because I felt that was better for my tennis, but I didn’t have that chance.
So I am here.  I won the first match.  That’s important for me.  Always be through and have the chance to play more matches is very positive.  We’ll see.

Q.  How are you feeling physically?
RAFAEL NADAL:  You know, I am fine.  The knee is not bothering much to me.  Last couple of days, I was able to practice with no limitation.  That is the most important thing.  After seven weeks without playing tennis, you start a tournament on hard court, that is tougher for the body.  You always feel few things at the beginning.
But hopefully that things will not limit my chances to play well.

Q.  How long was the wait since your last game?  How anxious were you to get back on the court? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I enjoy little bit being at home with the family, with the friends.  Is the summer there, too, so…  Mallorca is a good place to be in the summer.  I cannot say I was very anxious during this period of time (smiling).
But I wanted to play Hamburg.  That’s the real thing.  Even if it’s the summer, everything is fantastic in Mallorca, to arrive here with better chances, I felt Hamburg is better preparation for me, even if it was on clay.
It was not that situation.  I came here with the big illusion, motivation to play here.  Then I arrived before, and doing the right things to play well.  I know is not easy.  The court is fast, and the balls make the conditions a little bit of strange.  These kind of balls are a little bit strange, in my opinion.
We’ll see.  But for me every victory is very important to me.

Q.  Have you had any reaction when you heard that Roger has changed to a bigger racquet?
RAFAEL NADAL:  The racquet?  I don’t have all the information about that.  I heard that he changed the racquet.
Well, at the end everybody tries to makes improvements on his game, working on the court with the materials we have, with everything.  I increase my weight of my racquet at the beginning of 2012 little bit.  So is a change at the end.
Roger probably tries to find a little bit more help on new racquet.  That’s all.  I think is not nothing dramatic and nothing strange on a tennis player.

Q.  You’re playing doubles here.  You played quite a bit of doubles before with success.  Do you play largely for the pleasure of playing doubles or does it really sharpen your game? 
RAFAEL NADAL:  At the end, the real thing, I have to be honest, I play for practice.  I normally don’t play doubles in a Masters 1000.  Indian Wells and Miami are easier because there is lot of days off between matches.  But these kind of tournaments you play every day.
But seven weeks without playing a tennis tournament, as I said before, one match of doubles before the first singles can help me little bit.  So that’s the reason I was playing doubles.
At the end I take it like a practice, but is a little bit more than a practice.  At the end you are in a position that you are competing.  You start to feel little more the pressure, the tension that you are playing a tennis match.  That helps little bit.
And, seriously, I enjoy a lot playing doubles.  If it’s not because my physical, I’m not allowed to play as much as I would like.  I want to play more doubles because is a good way to practice things that can improve your tennis in general.  You can find things in doubles that you can adjust then on the singles that can help you to be better player.

Q.  Was there anything in your game today that you would have liked to improve for the next game?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Everything (smiling).  Everything at the end.  I didn’t play perfect match.  I played well.
The conditions out there today were very difficult.  I will say I did the right things to be in the next round.  To my opponent, the wind and the conditions probably affected much more than me is why that result.  But is very difficult to find great feelings when you are playing with these conditions out there.  The wind was very strong and very difficult to manage.
So I have to improve in everything.  But I happy in everything, too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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