R. Nadal d. D. Thiem 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Q. You must be fairly pleased with the way you played today because you brought a lot of power and aggression to the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you very much. Yes. Sure, happy. No, I think was a dangerous match, dangerous opponent today. I played well, yeah. I played the way that I would like to play. I resist when he was going for the shots playing he has very powerful shots, very powerful forehand and good backhand, too.
I am happy that the way I resisted. When I had to play long points I did well. When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well. I went to the net a few times. I’m happy that the way I returned today.
Q. You have such a great history here, you’re such an icon here. These young guys who are really talented and maybe aren’t afraid like some other guys, they must really look forward to playing with you. Is this an advantage or a disadvantage for them?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think I don’t see him afraid, no. That’s my feeling.
No, no, I saw him going for the points, going for the shots. It’s true sometimes he make a few mistakes, but at the same time is always normal, no?
This court is always difficult. It’s difficult to find the positive feelings when you are not used to it. The court is so big and always, even today, was not a really difficult day, because always can be very windy here. Always the wind moves around a little bit and makes the sensation, the feeling not perfect, no, for the people who is not used to play.
But in general, I think he has a lot of positive things to be a very good player.
Q. You played Dominic Thiem for the very first time. He’s Austria’s big hope. What do you think the future can bring for him?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s always the same, no? For everybody is the same. For me it was the same when I had 17 or 16. I will have my chance at that age to be in the top position if I am able to keep improving.
And is true that in my opinion for him is a little bit easier than what it was for me, because he already has a very good serve. For me, at the age of 17, I know he has 20, but today he’s talking, making the right comparation, because today the people is coming inside the tour later. At the age of 20 you are very young today.
Was similar when I was in and I was 17. He already has positive serves, a lot of power with his forehand, with his backhand.
I didn’t have that serve at the age of 17. I didn’t have the backhand, I didn’t have that power.
So always is question of keep improving, make the normal evolution, be enough humble to keep practicing as hard as you did before. I am not lying, seriously.
I have almost 28. Djokovic and Andy has 27. Federer has, I don’t know, 32. The new generation, new players, have to come. We not gonna be here for 10 more years (laughter).
The normal thing is Dominic will be there in a short period of time, and he will have his chances to become top star and fight for these tournaments.
Q. But people talk about that inspiration that you have, not just year to year or tournament to tournament, but even point to point, always fighting, giving everything. Where do you think that comes from? Did you have it from the beginning? Did Toni help? Where does that come from?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think that comes from the practice. That comes from the education.
At the end, you can practice everything. Mental part, you can practice. The character, you can practice your character, you need to work on it.
I don’t know another way to practice on it that when you are practicing, try and try and try and try every day. That’s the education that I received, and probably that really help with me to be able to come back after injuries, to come back after tough situations on matches.
So all that things that probably my uncle, my family give it to me, and my parents doing, especially when you are a kid, and not only the words, the words are always say the same, but it’s the true, no? If I see my father that told me you have to fight until the last ball, you need to work every day, and I see my father watching the TV at 11:00 in the morning, probably the word was the real one, but the example was not the positive one, no?
But I see my father all my life working so hard every single day and doing as much as he can for everything. That was a great inspiration for me.
Q. Would you say that you feel safer today, I mean, against a one handed backhand player, versus the two handed backhand player?
RAFAEL NADAL: I never feel that much of confidence. I feel confidence when I play well, irrespective of these backhand shots, one handed or two handed. If I hit the balls and the points, I don’t really care about the backhand of my opponent.
I think that I can really hurt people when I play one handed backhands or two handed backhands. Now, with my crossed forehand I play a good shot, even though, for me, it’s a two handed backhand, I know what it means to give spin to the balls is not something easy.
I think that my two handed backhand is not that bad. But the most important thing is that it’s the spin you give to the balls that counts. And then you’ll see the trajectory of these balls.
You know, if it’s a two handed backhand, well, it very much depends on their footwork and where you are exactly on the court. But some opponents play with one hand; others with two hands. Anyway, they can be difficult.