Q. I’m sure you’re very disappointed of this loss today. How do you assess the improvement of your game between last week and this week, however?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played well today. I didn’t play a bad match at all. I think Feli played great.
The match decides in ‑‑ playing against him when he’s playing like this, my feeling is I didn’t make nothing wrong, no?
I was there during the whole match with the right intensity, with the right attitude, doing the things that I have to do, trying to be more aggressive, trying to go to the net more often.
That’s what I did. But today I played against an opponent that he played a fantastic match, I think. He played the best match ever against me, without a doubt.
I congratulate him. That’s it. For me it’s a tough loss because I was playing better and my feeling on court was better than they were before.
For me was an opportunity to win today and to have no pressure match tomorrow to see how the things are going, but was not that case. I lost.
This year, you know, in a lot of key moments of the year I lost a couple of matches that I should not lose. This one is another one. Is a little bit different than others, for sure. Others I lost because of my fault, because I played bad, because I didn’t play with the right intensity.
Was not the case of today. So accept the lose and keep going. Is nothing more that I can say and nothing more that I can do than keep going and keep believing that with the work things are going better.
I think having less bad days than months ago, always an improvement. And for me the first improvement that I have to do is avoid the very bad matches, no, against players that I have ‑‑I should not lose. Then when that happens, then is the chance to go and let’s see how I am with the top guys, no?
But for me that’s the first goal, main goal, and my feeling is I’m doing better that. But today I lost a match that I should ‑‑I could win, not I should not. I could win, and was not that case. That’s it.
Q. Three matches in Montreal last week, two this week in Cincinnati. Doubles, as well. Do you feel like you have enough matches under your belt ahead of the US Open?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is not a year that I feel that I am preparing for a big tournament, you know? Is not this time, is not this period of the ‑‑is not my feeling, no? My feeling is I go tournament by tournament. Every tournament is important for me and every match is important for me.
Today every match is a test. Every match is an opportunity to improve something.
I did the things that I had to do, I believe I have to do to change a few things that I need to be back to the right level.
I was trying to return more inside than before the first and second serve. I did yesterday; I did today; something that I gonna keep doing, gonna try to keep doing.
I believe I need to practice that and I need to improve on that if I want to have chances to be in the top positions for the next year and to compete against the best players, no?
I am working on these kind of things. Accept that some loses gonna come, maybe, but that’s part of my career, too. Is period of time that I don’t know if it’s enough or not enough for the US Open. I don’t think about winning the US Open today. I think about keep going and keep playing a little bit better.
I gonna try to be ready for the US Open. I gonna try to play a good US Open. Let’s see if I am able to do it. I think the way that I played this week is a good line, so let’s try to be ready for it and we will see if, when the US Open arrives, I am playing well and I have a chance to win matches.
But that’s it. Is not preparation for the US Open at all.
Q. You talked about trying to eliminate bad matches. How do you do that, because you don’t know when they are going to come? Going into the US Open now, how do you make sure you don’t have a bad day?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t make sure. (Smiling.)
Q. How do you prepare as best as possible doing that?
RAFAEL NADAL: As I did in all my career, eliminate bad matches. I mean, don’t play a match like I played against Fognini in Barcelona; don’t play a match like I played against Fognini in Brazil; don’t play a match like I played against Berdych in Australia; like against Brown in Wimbledon.
Try to eliminate as much as possible these kind of matches. That’s something that I did great during all my career, and that’s gives you possibility to compete against the higher level players with a little bit more confidence, no?
I am working hard. I don’t know if I am gonna eliminate that for the US Open or not. That’s it, no? The US Open is not everything. Is a very important tournament, very important tournament that means a lot to me. Is a tournament that I completed the Grand Slam and I won twice. I played many finals. I’m going to try to be there and have the right energy to play a good tournament.
But for me, the real thing today is I know where I am, I know who I am, and I know what’s my real level when I am playing well.
And in what I have to be focused in is recover that level. That level is back, I gonna think about winning tournaments.
Q. When did you first get the sense this year that this was going to be a difficult year for you? When did you first start to get the feeling that this year, 2015, might be a difficult year for you? Was it before the year even started? You had a lot of injuries and appendix end of last year.
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s obvious that when you have 2012, seven months, eight months out, 2014 seven months out, six months out, that can happen, no?
Look, I am No. 7 in the race, so is not that disaster. I am enough humble to not consider myself that good, consider to be No. 7 in the race a bad number.
I had to keep going and keep fighting for every match to try to finish the year in the top 8. That will be a good news for me if that happen.
And if a bad year that I lost a lot of matches that I should not lose I am able to finish the year in the top 8 will mean that I am good enough. Because playing bad I am in the top 8, or we will say that if I am able to improve a little bit I will have the chance to be higher, no?
So is not the question of ranking or the question of winning or losing. Is a question of recovering the level that I have to recover, I want to recover.
I gonna work hard for it, and this week have been not a negative week. The same last week. Different story a little bit, because last week in the match I lost I didn’t competed the way that I wanted.
Today, yes, I competed, but was not the day to win because I did the right things to be through, I think.
Q. Have you learned anything new about yourself or the sport as you had these difficulties this year? Hard times, you know, you learn about yourself and things don’t come easy. Just wondering if you had anything like that at all or you already understood that this could happen before?
RAFAEL NADAL: I always understood that that could happen. For me is, let’s say, I always know that, you know, I never consider myself a big, big star. So I know when I appreciate so much when all the good things are happening to me. I enjoy all that things.
I am having a tough year, yes. Not terrible year, bad year. But 14 Grand Slams, 27 Masters 1000, so many tournaments in my bedroom. I cannot make a drama about these kind of things, no, losing matches. That’s part of my career, too.
For sure, I am ready to accept all the things. In the other hand, I am the second player on the tour with more victories in my bedroom, no? So nothing to say. This is not the moment to cry and is not the moment to say how lucky I am that I am not winning matches today.
Okay, I am losing and is the thing that I have to accept now and I accept, and I gonna work to change that. But in the other hand I had an amazing career. I am having an amazing career. And I won much more than I ever dreamed.
So still a good chance for me to compete well in the next couple of years and seriously I think I gonna keep doing and I gonna be back again.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports