THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rafa, if you can raise your hand.
Q. Two part question: One is I was wondering what it’s been like for you watching Andy Murray turn into the player that he has become over the past year. And the second part of that is wondering why you’ve had such great success against him; whereas some of the other top players, like Roger and Novak, he’s more so played him even.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) That second part of the question, I really don’t know. As far as I think, they stay the same. I don’t think he made a big change. That’s my feeling. He was ready to win a Grand Slam tournament two years ago, three years ago. That’s my opinion.
I said a lot of times in rooms like this one. But in the final you lost to Roger one time, a few times, and you can lose, you can win, but he lost a few chances.
One match cannot change the overview of everything. You arrive to the final and you win and you are ready. If you lose, you are not ready when you was ready to win against these kind of players in another tournaments. So I think it’s not fair.
Things are more simple. Last year and a half he was playing great. He won two grand slams, won Olympics. That’s a lot, and that’s great. He’s doing things very well, in my opinion. The only difference is that he won.
Q. Throughout your whole career, including the juniors, what one player did you enjoy playing against the most and why? Who was that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. It’s very difficult for me to say one. I think matches against Roger always was special feelings of that. We played all of the important matches for our careers, and combination of styles makes the match interesting. One player finding one thing, another one trying to find solutions to not let him play as he was.
And it’s a little bit more strategic match. And playing for big titles, that match made me feel very special every time.
Q. When you’re talking about styles, one of the styles that seems to be disappearing is the strict serve and volley player. Why do you think that is? And did anybody ever try and get you to serve and volley as a style?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me serve and volley?
RAFAEL NADAL: I do, but not very often. (Smiling.) It’s very difficult to do serve and volley when every time the ball goes faster and every time the player returns better.
So it’s true that the courts are probably a little bit slower today than ten years ago‑‑ or ten years not, because I have been here.
But then, you know, 20 years ago probably. I didn’t know. That’s what I heard.
But we are not driving the sport. The tournaments have the decisions on which kind of court prefers for the show. ATP makes that choice.
We’re just the players, and we adapt to the different conditions around the world in every tournament.
Q. Rafa, would you say your form on the hard courts this year in Indian Wells and last week in Canada is as good as anything you’ve produced on hard court over the years?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know that both tournaments are completely different tournaments. Even if it’s hard, it’s not the same play on hard in Indian Wells than play on hard in Montreal.
Indian Wells the bounces are higher. The court is a little bit slower.
In Montreal the bounces are lower. The court is very, very fast.
But anyway, I was able to find the right feeling and to find the right solution to my game to keep being very competitive and then finally have the victory.
I played very well in both tournaments. Very happy the way that I played last week, especially last two matches. It’s difficult to compare with other seasons. I only played two tournaments on hard, but it’s true that I played well. I played very inside the court.
So before the game, before I had to flight to this season, hard court season, I watched a few matches of Indian Wells and trying to analyze what I really did well there and try to copy a little bit and practice with that goal.
Q. Rafa, do you feel like you’re finally finding the right schedule for yourself to do the best you can, but also rest your knees and keep healthy this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing is sure on that. I will say in a sport like tennis, my feeling is everybody who says, I find the perfect schedule, everybody’s lying.
Because in tennis, when you prepare your schedule, you don’t know if you will play one match, two, three, four, or five. You can lose in the first round, so the schedule is changing a lot.
You cannot predict which result you’re going to have in the tournament. So I do what I can. I don’t want to be too smart and say I prepared the schedule great. That’s why I arrived to Montreal in very good shape. It’s not true.
I wanted to play on clay in the summer to be in rhythm and to have more chances to arrive more competitive to Montreal. I didn’t have that chance. And even like this, I arrived to Montreal with a good feeling and I was able to win.
So it’s very difficult to say I find the right schedule, I don’t find the right schedule. In our sport, when the schedule change a lot depends on the matches that you are winning or losing. It’s very difficult to say that.
Q. Rafa, yesterday Mardy Fish said he thought it was incredible that, after missing so much time, you’ve been able to come back and achieve a high level so quickly. He said he’s really struggling after being off several months to play well. So when you look back now, what do you think were the keys that allowed you to come back at a high level so quickly?
RAFAEL NADAL: I started in clay tournaments. Tennis is a very‑‑ you know, you have to play well. You have to have the shots. You must have the shots if you want to have any chance to win matches and to be in the top positions.
But it’s a mental game too, you know. So I started on the small clay court tournaments. I was able to play matches, even if I started with not great condition and without playing very well. You can see the matches in Chile and in Sao Paulo, and it’s totally true that I didn’t play well.
First match that I felt that I played okay was the final in Sao Paulo. I was able to win. I won the final in Chile, I won in Sao Paulo, and then I started to play well in Acapulco. That’s the real thing.
So I think that motivation, the excitement to be back on the tour, the spirit and the passion for the sport. After a period of time that you were not allowed to do what you really want to do, you are able to come back with very, very fresh mentality knowing what you have to try to do to be competitive, and that’s what I tried.
I cannot say which one is the key because I really don’t know. The only thing that I can say is I always thought during the seven months that I will work hard as much as I can to be back strong. Then you come back and you don’t know how you will be.
But for me it was difficult, but at the same time, I just can say thank you very much for everybody who really helped me a lot, who really support me. I love this, because all the messages and show of support was really, really important for me.
And when I come back, go outside in every court around the world and watch the stadium full, big crowd supporting, is more and more special than before the injury happen.
Because before was completely normal have every week that. But after seven, eight months without enjoying that feeling, you come back and feel that, and that gives you a lot of positive energy.
Q. Rafa, looking at coming out of Montreal with a very positive win over Novak, when you compare the matches that you played against him this year to back in 2011, can you identify what the difference is in terms of the last two very tight and positive ones?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. The difference probably are one point, two points. And then if he had the breakin, I don’t know, had 0‑30 in the 2‑All I think in the third. Then he had the break point in the 4‑3, and we were arrive to the tiebreak.
2011, I lost the match in Indian Wells when I had the match under control. Then I lost the match in Miami when I was winning 6‑5 in the third and 15‑30. It’s very difficult to find a reason for that.
The only thing is I am ready to compete. I am happy the way that I am playing. I’m enjoying the competition. I’m enjoying these kind of matches. This time I was able to win. That’s all.
The sport, we can find a lot of things, a lot of explanations for everything, what’s going on, but my feeling in the sport is more simple.
You are playing well. You are fresh mentally. You are ready for to resist the pressure. You have more chances. If you are less ready for all of that things, you have much less chances.
And 2011 for a moments I was not ready to compete well against Novak. He was ready to compete very, very well. For that reason, he was much better player than me in 2011.
This year, he’s the No. 1. I was able to beat him twice, I think. He was able to beat me once. That’s all at this point.
Q. There are a lot of important events coming up in South America the next few years, World Cup, the Olympics, and you made your comeback this year in South America. You hadn’t played there in quite some time. I was wondering if you could share your observations and a little bit about your experience, your time in South America.
RAFAEL NADAL: I really enjoyed it a lot. It was a very, very important and positive three tournaments that I played there in Latin America. I really enjoyed everyone, and the crowd was just amazing. It was a very important tournament for me for the rest of the season.
Latin America is a place that is becoming very, very important. The economy is healthy, and they are promoting a lot of very, very important sport events in the next few years. And that’s a great news for those countries and great news for the world of sport, because the crowd and the passion for the sport in that country is huge.
So I really plan to be back there.
Q. Rafa, starting in Sao Paulo, you got your confidence back in the finals, and then you won more titles. Even in small events seems like you have so much joy, almost like you had a second chance coming back. How important is it for you now like to win in every event, if it’s a big event or a small event?
RAFAEL NADAL: It was the same than before. I try my best if I’m playing 250, 500, 1000, in a Grand Slam. I don’t play with different intensity when I’m losing. I take every match like another one.
You will never hear from my mouth say, Okay, I didn’t try my best today because it’s a small tournament because I never do it, and I never will do it. I try my best in every one. Sometimes things go well; sometimes things aren’t going that well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports