Rafael Nadal spoke to the media after his third round match at the 2015 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Yesterday you said it was probably the best win of the season. Is this one even better?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is not even better. Is an important victory for me. I lost in three sets in Rio. I lost in three sets in Indian Wells. I lost in three sets in Miami. So break this straight three times matches in a row losing in the third set is important.
After the way that I play, I lost the second having Love‑40 for 5‑3, then lose 6‑4, have been little bit painful.
But very important the way I played the third. My mentality I think in the third have been very positive. The game, the level of tennis, improved a little bit in the third than in the previous two sets. That’s very important for me.
Very happy to be in quarterfinals. Very important result for me.
Q. Is there anything in your game you’re especially satisfied with after this match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is very difficult to play against John. You play under a lot of pressure all of the time. Is difficult to analyze all the things.
But in general I think at the beginning I played little bit too much behind the baseline. I think he had the chance to go for the winners too many times ‑ something that didn’t happen in the third.
The third, my position was a little bit closer to the baseline, having more control of the point with my forehand. That’s the most important thing for my game in any surface, but especially here on clay.
I think have been an improvement during the match. That is positive. But in general, as I say before, I am very satisfied about the reaction on the third. I think I played at the right level the third set.
Q. Playing on the baseline is something you have to make an effort to do because you prefer being further back or it depends on the confidence level?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I prefer to be inside. I prefer to be closer to the baseline, no? Sometimes when you don’t have that confidence or when you don’t feel it, it’s more difficult, no?
At the end of the day is question of feeling, question of confidence. When I am able to do it, is because I am doing the right things.
In the third set, as I said, I played with the right position. I had more chances to go with my forehand down the line or change direction with my forehand. In the beginning I felt I was in a defensive position too many times. Was difficult to find the right ball to change against his forehand.
I know is very important when I am playing John, I know if he hit his forehand from the backhand side, is almost unstoppable. He hit too strong.
If I am able to open the court there, the point is a little bit more neutralized. Is the right way to play against John when you are playing the point.
I think I was able to do that in the third because I had closer position to the baseline.
Q. The improvement in the key points, is it just that before maybe you were thinking too much and now you just play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is something that is not 100% fixed. You need time, you need matches. You need to confirm that all the time.
Is true that in the last two matches I was able to do it better than what I did in the matches before, the previous tournaments. That’s important thing for me.
As I say before, when I arrived here, I am not favorite for nothing. I am starting not from zero, but is a little bit like starting from zero. Every moment is important for me.
Talking about mentally, important thing is have the feeling I am improving things. I am feeling stronger again every time a little bit more. That will not come from zero to 100. Is by step by step. That’s what I’m trying to do, being positive, trying to watch the things in a positive way.
As I say before, every match is important for me, important for my confidence. Today important thing is I played the decisive set with the right determination, at the right level. That’s a good improvement for me.
Q. You just said you are satisfied. If I ask you to rate yourself today from 1 to 10, what would you choose?
RAFAEL NADAL: I will never answer this kind of thing because I don’t know. 1 to 10, I don’t know. If we compare with what? To say 1 to 10, we have to compare with another year, we have to compare with another moments of my career. I don’t want to compare with other moments of my career.
Is a challenge for me to find again the positive feelings, the confidence, the feeling that I am strong again. Matches like today, third set today, helps to improve, helps to arrive to that place that I want to be. That’s it.
There is no numbers. There is day by day. There is feelings. It was a good feeling in the third. Let’s try to play another competitive match tomorrow against a very tough opponent. Probably will be David, as he is winning. Always is a big challenge play against David. Even when you are playing your best, he is a big challenge.
Tomorrow will not be an exception. With the moment that I am today, will be a very good test I think. He’s one of the players that have been able to win more matches this year, so he is confident. He is playing well. He is one of the best players of the world. Is a good challenge for me. I’m excited to play that match tomorrow.
Q. If it was Gilles Simon?
RAFAEL NADAL: If it’s Gilles, the match is a little bit different. But if is Gilles is because Gilles is playing very well. If you win against David, it means that you are playing very well. If is another match, will be a tough match.
Q. Rafa, does it feel like the new racquet can be the turnaround of your season?
RAFAEL NADAL: The turnaround of my season? There is no racquets, there is no strings, there is nothing outside of me, you know. There is myself. Always when I am winning, is myself. When I was losing, is not excuse for racquets, for strings, for shoes, for nothing.
The person who makes the things possible or not possible is myself. The racquet, always very satisfied with the work of Babolat, always trying to help. That’s important for me.
But I know if I have to change the dynamic of the year, if I have to find the way that I want to find, is the work of myself. Nobody will do it for me.
Q. The weather has been cold a little bit. Does it affect your play? Does it change the way the court plays?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the conditions change here. Can be like this. I played lot of times in my career here. I know how the situation can change. But that’s not affect much. When the day is cloudy, is a little bit slower. Everybody knows that. But that’s part of the game, no? Nothing else.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports