Rafael Nadal def. Sergiy Stakhovsky 7‑6, 6‑3
Q. How is it to get back in your rhythm on that surface?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think it was a good match, no? Only one bad game in the whole match, I think, 5‑4 with my serve in the first set. The rest was a positive match I think.
Not easy conditions today, no? A lot of wind. A player who don’t want to play a lot of points from the baseline, so just try to play the points shorter, so going to the net, playing with the slice. Was not an easy opponent to start.
Happy the way I managed the match. As I say, only that game, 5‑4 with my serve, in the first set. The rest was very positive.
Q. Early in the tiebreaker, you had that exchange where you had a couple chances for the big killer overhead smash. Your opponent stayed alive. Does having the opportunity for those plays bring out the beast or killer instinct in you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I make a mistake. I think he’s going to the other side. The first smash was the one that I had to win. The next few smashes were not easy because was a lot of wind out there. The ball was coming so high. I was happy that I didn’t miss (smiling).
Then he was quick on serving those balls. In general I played a good tiebreak, I think. In the second set, I played a good tennis.
Q. Do you prefer starting with a tougher match like that or starting with an easier match? Is it easier to find your groove with a tougher opponent like that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t prefer nothing (smiling). I prefer to be here with a victory; doesn’t matter the way. Important thing is winning. You have another opportunity tomorrow.
The same time this is a part of the season that I won zero points last year. Every match that I won are points that I add to the computer for my ranking. That’s important for me today. So every victory is important for me.
That was a good one. Let’s try tomorrow.
Q. It’s been a disappointing year for you so far by your high standards.
RAFAEL NADAL: Disappointing year? The year is obviously the worst year since couple years ago. But the year is not finished, so…
Q. Do you feel with a deep run here you have a chance at the US Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know if I have a chance at the US Open. I don’t know if I have a chance here or not. The only thing that I know is that all the ups and downs I had during the whole season, the line is positive, no? Is not up and down with negative line. Since the beginning of the season I think my level of tennis has been still up and down, but during the whole season was little bit higher level, no?
That’s important for me. I go day by day. Today is a victory that I am happy with. I satisfied the way that I played. I am practicing well. I am practicing more than ever now because I am healthy and because I feel that’s what I need today.
I won in Hamburg a couple weeks ago. That was an important victory here. Six consecutive victories, didn’t happen that very often during the season. That’s a positive moment for me. Let’s try to continue with that moment tomorrow.
Q. This is the second time this week that you mentioned not having any points in the computer from last year. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel a little bit more relaxed knowing that you don’t have any points to defend?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. Not at all, no. Seriously, when I go to every tournament, I don’t think about if I have to defend or if I don’t have to defend nothing. I go to the tournament with the motivation to play a good tournament and to win as many matches as possible, no?
But is obvious during the rest of the season I don’t have to defend nothing. Every good result that I have will add some points to the computer for me. That will help.
It’s tougher, the tournaments, when you are outside of the top four or top eight. The tournaments can be much tougher. You are not seeded high. So is important for me stay seeded in a good position for the next tournaments.
Q. On a day when you have a singles match and a doubles match, I saw your practice this morning, it looked like a hard, long session. Do you believe that work ethic gets you back to No.1 or are there people saying that you don’t have to work so hard, take it easy on your body now?
RAFAEL NADAL: I do what I feel is better for my tennis. I feel that, you know, normally before tournaments I practice two hours. Here I arrived on Thursday, so I practiced Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday three hours every day. So more than usual.
Playing doubles here helps to get more adapt to the hard court, with returns, with fast movements. That’s why I am playing doubles here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports