Interview with Rafael Nadal – China Open 2014 – Round 1

Rafael Nadal reflects on his comeback win at the China Open in Beijing.

Q.  How did the wrist feel out there today?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Good.  I say the other day the wrist is much, much better.  Is almost recovered hundred percent.  I cannot say ‘hundred percent’ because when you have some feelings on it when you warm up at the beginning, it’s not hundred percent.  But let’s say 90 something percent.
The most important thing is the wrist is not limiting me to play my tennis, to hit the normal backhand.  At the same time the doctors told me there is no risk.  Well, always there is a risk, but is not a real risk to stay by the game from the same thing.  So happy for that.

Q.  How do you think you served today?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I think I finished the match serving better than what I did especially at the end of the first set.  At the end of the first set I think I played with too much second serves.
But in general I have to be happy the way that I played, no?  Three months without a match, winning against a player who is a good player like Richard, is a very positive comeback for me.
More important than win, lose, is spend time on court.  And winning, I have another chance to play another match after tomorrow, no?
That’s the key for me today:  spend time on court, play matches.  At least I going to play two matches minimum here.  That’s a positive thing.  I’m going to try my best to play three.

Q.  In years past the Asian swing has not been your favorite time of year.  You’ve talked about running out of steam in the past.  Do you find coming back after such a long layoff that you have more energy and feel more refreshed than you normally do?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I am less favored this year than other years.  It’s obvious that when you are out of the tour for a while and you come back in conditions that are probably one of the most difficult conditions for me of the year, because this surface have been difficult for me around the years, so is different if you come back in a completely favorable circumstances like I did last year on clay in South America.  The conditions are very positive for me.
Here is a different story.  The draws are very hard.  Very difficult players.  Every single round is so tough.  Every victory is very important for me.  Is very positive, no?
Today I don’t aspire to win tournaments here in Asia.  I go day by day.  I try my best in every practice, in every match, and let’s see how far I can go.

Q.  How did it feel to see all the ‘Rafa’ and ‘Vamos” signs in support of you?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Always the Chinese fans have been very emotionals.  Is always a pleasure be here playing in front of them, no?  Always they are able to produce a fantastic positive energy.  Just thank you very much to them to receive me after a stop for an injury like this.  That’s a great thing.  It’s special for me.
Today was an important day for me, the day that I am back.  To have the support of the people, this is important.

Q.  You broke your opponent once in the first set, but three times in the second.  What was the difference between the two sets?
RAFAEL NADAL:  No, I had two more chances in the first, too.  I didn’t convert the chances.  In the second when I had the first break in the first game, probably mentally for him was tough because he had a chance to be back in the last game of the first set, having breakpoint.  I served a good ace in that point.
Then in the second, I had the break at the beginning, playing some good points.  Seriously, I played solid.  I played with no mistakes.  Probably Richard today didn’t serve at his top level.

Q.  How much were you following the US Open at all?  What was your reaction to seeing Marin and Kei in the final?  Was the result surprising to you?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Seriously I didn’t see a lot of matches.  I was watching little bit of the final.  I watched a little bit of the semifinals.  But in general I was not following daily.
I always answer the same.  Is surprise that Marin and Kei were in the final?  Yes.  If we think about what happened the last 10 years, yes.  But in theory, not.
They are great players.  What’s unbelievable is what happened the last 10 years:  that every single Grand Slam were in the final one of three players.  That’s very difficult to repeat and I think going to be very difficult to repeat in the next years.
But they are great players.  They played great.  They deserve it.  At the same time I think for the tour always is good to have new faces winning important things.
For Asia, I think it’s great to have one player like Kei.  He’s one of the really top, top players.  And Marin, everybody talks about how good he is five years ago.  I think he fighted a lot and he worked a lot to be where he is today.  He deserve it, too.
Just happy for them.  I think the rest of the top players, let’s say Andy, Roger, me and Novak, we worked a lot to be where I am.  But we always had fantastic results.  Has been very positive for us what happened the last couple of years.  And other people deserve to win this kind of thing anytime, too.

Q.  My friend is in Spain, your hometown, in the tennis academy.  He told me that Mr. Sergio, he worked with him.  Previously you did training with a young Chinese tennis player.  As for coming back to the Asian season, what is your suggestion for the young Chinese tennis players?
RAFAEL NADAL:  Yes, I have been practicing with one Chinese player at home a few days.  I think is important to have references close to you.  I think is important to have players close to you that you can admire, you can play with them.  I think China potentially is a very important place for tennis in the future.  I think China have everything to have a future top, top players on tour.
The only thing that probably needs is time, be around good coaches, good people, people who really knows about this game.  These are the kind of things China really needs to have a good top player soon.

Q.  On the first day you asked the workers where you can see the football game.  Did you see the football game that night?

Q.  Your answer is too simple.  How did you watch that game?  On the Internet or on the TV?
RAFAEL NADAL:  I watch it on TV, yes.  Not very good Internet here (laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports // Video: ATP World Tour

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