Rafael Nadal answers questions from the media after his third round win over Mikhail Kukushkin.
Q. Is there anything about the first sets in general that are particularly difficult for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Normally I am a good first‑set player. I think my opponent played great the first set today and I think I was playing fine. He played fantastic. The only thing that I did not good in the first set was some returns with the second serve that I make a few mistakes with his second serve.
And then in the tiebreak I didn’t serve well, didn’t serve enough well. Then I give him the opportunity to attack me with the second serve, my second serve. He did well. He was playing great.
Accept that the match is long. Accept that if he is able to play like this for three sets I will be in trouble. But always waiting that I can improve one step. If I improve one step, I can be there. I think I did.
Q. You told us many times that you much prefer playing tennis with the sun on your back. You’re not a big fan of playing indoors. Would I be right in thinking the match with Rosol two years ago was the only other time you played under the roof?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. When I played the first set, I said that maybe the roof here in Wimbledon is not good for me (laughter).
No, it doesn’t matter.
Q. Does it change the conditions for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: A little bit always, no? When you play with some wind, when you play outdoor, the court is a little bit more dry. When you play indoors, humid days, the court is a little bit more slippery. That makes the match a little bit different.
In general is true that the roof is great because there is lot of light coming, so your feeling is not that you are closed, completely closed, like an indoor tournament. I think that’s better for us.
But for me, talking about my personal opinion, is better because I don’t like to be in closed places only with lights, you know.
I think I played a great match. Didn’t affect me a lot, but…
Q. After the three matches now, how do you feel on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am playing well. I would be lying if I say another thing. I think I am playing well.
But the surface is open opportunity to everybody because the matches can be very close. That’s what happens. To win 6/1, 6/1, 6/1 the last three sets against a good player like Kukushkin who didn’t play well is impossible.
I lost 7/6, and then I won in straight sets and with a positive score. The feeling was great. I played aggressive. I had great movements. Some ones in difficult positions, I was able to come back on the point. Then when I had chances with the forehand, I was able to play aggressive. That’s what I did.
The first set was very difficult to play aggressive because he was playing so long. Every ball that he was touching is like ‑‑ he touched a lot of lines first set.
Q. You took a toilet break after the first set. Was that to use the bathroom, to change clothes, to get reset perhaps?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I needed. I needed to go to the bathroom, that’s all (smiling). I bring my T‑shirt and my bandana to change that there because I had to go to the bathroom. Not because I wanted to have a break, no, no. I needed.
Q. Wimbledon is a very special tournament. What do you like most about Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think Wimbledon is part of the history of our sport. Is one of the most traditional tournament. And the combination of improvement of the courts, improvement of the club with the tradition and the history of this place, that combination makes the tournament very, very special.
I think even if the people, some people, don’t like play on grass, even some people never played well here, players who played well here, nobody can say that this place is not special because it is.
Q. If Nick Kyrgios gets through, he’ll be your next opponent. This will be a pretty big story in Australia. What do you know about him and what would you expect about playing him in the fourth round potentially?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I saw him play in Australia this year. I remember that match against Paire.
He’s a young player, always there. Young players are very dangerous as always the young players have something special. They are able to play with no pressure. They are fresh.
Is good to have new players on tour. That’s real. He has a great serve. He’s aggressive player. I saw him few times. Not 50 times like other players. So I cannot talk too much.
Q. There’s a lot of rain today. A lot of matches not being played. How important is it for you that you did get to play, that you’re finished, that you’re through into the next round when maybe your opponent and other players won’t be?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, always is positive that. In one way is very positive to have that work already done. In another point, I don’t know how Wimbledon going to react after a day like today, if they are not able to play more matches because tomorrow is Sunday and the tradition is here nobody plays on Sunday.
But is true that, for example, if my opponents are not playing tomorrow, they are playing on Monday, I will be playing on Tuesday, and the winner will be playing again on Wednesday. That’s not good. That’s not a positive thing.
In one way is positive that I already done. For sure my opponents are in a worse position. But again, cannot be perfect.
Q. On a bit of a side note, Wimbledon have installed a gate into the players box in Centre Court to stop people from climbing over the roof. In 2008 you did that. Do you think it’s disappointing we might lose an unofficial Wimbledon tradition?
RAFAEL NADAL: The winner cannot go anymore there?
Q. They’re going to try to stop them. They have to go up and around and through the gate. After Pat Cash did it in 1978, it’s almost an unofficial tradition.
RAFAEL NADAL: This is I first knew about that. I saw Andy there last year. I did the first time that I won, 2008. Maybe they be able to put a lot of security there, they can stop the winner, no?
Q. Do you think they should be allowed to do that then?
RAFAEL NADAL: Doesn’t matter. If they don’t go there, they going to go to another place. That’s fine.
THE MODERATOR: Leave that till later in the tournament, I think.
Q. Some of the players who are trying to make it to the finals, win majors for the first time, have talked about how they admire the big four. What do you think the four of you have in common that you would most like these younger players to learn from?
RAFAEL NADAL: At the end the best thing that I think that we did, talking about tennis, is we were able to play with very regular level for a lot of years, no? We were able to be there competing for quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals almost in every important tournament of the year.
That’s very difficult. That’s didn’t happen‑‑ we talk about the history of our sport. We never saw that that often how we did that.
I don’t know how many times I played against Novak, like 43. Against Roger, lot of ones, too. Roger and Novak played a lot of ones. I played already with Andy lot of times.
So we only can meet each other in semifinals or finals. That shows that we have been in that position a lot of times. That’s very difficult mentally and physically.
I think the young players, the example is we were fighters. We were fighters for every single tournament, even if is Grand Slam, Masters 1000, 250, we were there fighting for the whole year, another year, another year, and another year.
I think is a good example for the kids, the motivation and passion for the game.
Q. How about off the court in terms of sportsmanship and other qualities?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think the positive thing about this era is we have been playing a lot of times under a lot of pressure, playing for very important things for our careers. We are in the locker room. We still talk each other. We have very good relationship between us. That’s important because at the end the tennis at the end is only a game. The relationships, in my opinion, are more important than only a game. Tennis is a game at the end.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Video: Wimbledon / Source: ASAP Sports