R. NADAL def. T. Berdych 6‑4, 6‑2
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.
Q. First of all, congrats for the great match. Just wanted to say 3‑2, 30‑Love you were both playing really well. From there on, 3 games for Berdych. Was that the key of the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, of course the first set is always very important, especially when it’s an even set. I think that I wasn’t playing bad, but it’s always tough at the beginning. It’s always difficult.
It was a match with a lot of intensity, and perhaps it was my toughest match until now in the tournament. I knew that I had to go a step forward. I think that talking about my level, I did it pretty well. I played pretty well during a long time.
Perhaps then I was down a little bit, but I knew it was a different match. It’s true the first two opponents I had, Pico or Nieminen, they were two opponents that if I do things more or less correctly, his game isn’t going to be negative for me Mo because I’m going to have a lot of rhythm.
I managed to save a break point at the beginning of the match, and also I saved another Love‑30, so I think that in the key moments I played really well. I’m happy for that.
In general, I think overall it’s a more complete match that I did. I managed to play with the same energy, the same intensity, and I think that during the match I was levelling up.
I’m happy for that. To make it to the semifinals for first time in the clay season here in Madrid is great news for me.
Q. Was it very hot out there? Normally you play at the night. What did you think about the match today? Is it a matter of TV?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, normally in Madrid I always play at this time. It’s not a matter of TV. For me, no problem at all. I like to play with sun, too. I would rather play with sun at night, and especially when I play on a clay court. It’s more natural.
Well, it was pretty hot out there. I think that in this case it’s even worse for the audience than the players because it’s hot. But it’s not very humid. Even though I sweat an awful lot.
But we don’t have here the heat that you can have perhaps in Miami, which can be heavier. Here it’s hot, but it is something you can cope with.
Q. I wanted to ask you to talk about the characteristic of Giraldo. Evaluate his moment right now.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he’s been doing well in two tournaments, two in a row with very positive matches on his side. He’s a player that has a high speed of ball. Normally I think that he’s a player that plays a little bit disorganized but with really good drive and return.
So he’s a dangerous player.
Q. Recently we saw you play a lot with your backhand. I don’t know if you don’t feel comfortable with your forehand. Can you explain that?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, all my life I have been playing with my backhand. More than normally, you know. No, I don’t think so.
I think that my game is good when I do my drive. When I do five or six backhands, my game is not as good, especially on clay court. On the clay court you have to play with your drive. You have the possibilities to open the match.
Well, in Monte‑Carlo, I played very little with my drive. I played a lot with my backhand. It’s something that we talked about. I have to play more with my drive. I’m still lacking a little bit of that, a little bit more automatic position that I used to have. I should have more space, because sometimes I don’t have that space.
In general, I think it did pretty well. My shots were working and my backhand is okay. I think it hasn’t been a problem. I think that I’ve had a problem of legs rather than of backhand. I think that my backhand has been pretty good in all the clay tournaments.
It’s not that I cover my backhand because I don’t feel comfortable. During all the clay season I’ve been pretty comfortable with my backhand. But to play well in clay, you have to have really good passing shots.
Q. Yesterday we were talking to Giraldo and he was talking about important tennis in Colombia. The ATP 500 tournament was in Rio and you were there. Seems that the ATP is trying to grow in Latin America. Would you agree that a Masters 1000 should be played there?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s not that I’m looking forward to it. I will really support it. Tennis is a global sport. It’s important that it’s equal all over the globe.
Also, it’s a reality that the matches have to be played and the tournaments have to be played where the audience really lives and feels the sport. My personal feeling is that each time I go to Latin America, the response of the audience over there is unbelievable.
I can’t remember any matches that I’ve played in Latin America that the court was not up to its fullest. It was really crowded. So that’s great news for our sport.
They are continually growing. They might have had some problems in the past concerning security. Perhaps they’re now less, not so problematic.
Think that the ATP should go for that situation and really make more tournaments there in Latin America.
But as always, we know the changes and the innovations in our organization are complex.
Q. What would be your expectation for the rest of the tournament? What do you think is your best scenario for the semifinals?
RAFAEL NADAL: My expectation is to be good for tomorrow and to play a great match and to try to make it to the final. There is no more expectation than that.
I just managed to go over a barrier in the quarterfinals with a complex opponent. I’ve been two weeks without doing that and I’m happy for that. Now I just need to do an extra effort. I have to keep on going on the line that I’ve been going, which is each day a little bit better.
You know, today I’m feeling very satisfied. I’m very happy for the way that I managed. I feel happy with the way I’ve managed to win today with a very complicated opponent.
You know, the fact of playing in Madrid is always very special for me. Being able to make it once again to the semifinals is a great news, as I said before. It’s a very positive news for me, and also looking forward.
Q. You’re saying that you’re very satisfied and happy. Perhaps the best news is that you’ve been pretty consistent.
RAFAEL NADAL: The best news is that I play well. That’s the best news, I think.
I think that I’ve done a lot of things that I’ve done well historically during a lot of years on this surface. I think I’ve done them again today.
So I’ve played really good shots; I’ve been able to win two break points with two passing shots, very complicated shots. I took the opportunity that I had on the break points.
I managed to solve the opportunities that he had with my serve because I think I played bravely and aggressively. After that, I managed to have a regular game without committing many errors and having the initiative in the point whenever I could.
When I couldn’t, I was just defending, trying to recover. I was moving pretty well covering the court. I wasn’t feeling that the court was too big for me as perhaps could happen in other moments.
I feel that I was in good position on the court. Those are all the things that led me to a good result on this surface.
Of course there are always things I can do better, but I think I’ve gone a very important step forward.
Q. You were talking about Brazil and the crowd over there, saying that they support you and that the court is very full. What do you say about the people here in Madrid? The court with you is pretty full, but with other players it’s not as crowded, like with Giraldo.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, in my case I have only the feeling when I’m not court. When I’m on the court, the support of the crowd is simply amazing, it’s brutal.
It’s one of the places where I go out there in the court and I feel the most loved, the most supported in the world. So for me, whenever I go out to play here in Madrid in any kind of situation, it’s a really good feeling.
You know, I feel very emotional and I really want to play well here. The energy these people give me here it’s really hard to find in other places.
In the end, it’s also really hot here on this court. There is a lot of the metal out here. The people don’t leave, but they’re just looking for shade and trying not to be so hot and all the time on the court.
So it’s tough for them, too.
Q. You were talking about the tennis in Latin America. On the calendar there are a lot of things. What would you do? Would you substitute one of the current tournaments we have? Do you think that the market is very saturated? How would you do it?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, I left the council of players because of something a long time ago. In politics there has been a long time that I’ve not been there, and it’s not going to be now when I go back in.
When I was in there I saw a few solutions. That’s when I left. So being out of it, you know, it doesn’t worry me a lot. It shouldn’t worry you. Shouldn’t worry you my opinion or my solution because I’m not there. We should ask the people that have the power to change these things.
I don’t know that other people have the power, but it would be great to have a Masters 100 in Latin America.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Yesterday you said that after your win that you played about an hour of what you thought was your best tennis for the past couple of weeks. You struggled a little bit to close out the match. Do you feel that you were playing at your best throughout the whole match today and were able to close it out?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played probably the most solid match during the whole clay season, because it’s true that in the first round I played well after the 4‑1 in the first set; in the second round I played well for almost one hour, you know, 6‑1, 3‑Love playing at the very good level.
Today I was playing with very positive energy during the whole match and increasing the level as the match went on. So I am very proud and happy the way I managed the situation today. I made an important improvement about personal feelings and talking. Happy for that.
Tomorrow is another history. Always the feet close to the floor. Every day is different history, and I know that the things can change.
But victory like today improve my confidence.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports