Q. Happy New Year. Talk a little bit, just as you approach this new year, what’s going through your mind, what your hopes are. Obviously it’s a year, an Olympic year, so that adds a different dimension, I would think, to the year.
Rafael Nadal: Well, the fact this is an Olympic year really don’t change nothing, no? When the Olympics arrive, we gonna try to be ready for it, but for the moment, that’s the normal ATP calendar, and I am focused on it then for sure.
The motivation to play Olympics will be amazing, but for the moment, I am focused on Qatar now. I have been playing well in Abu Dhabi last week. I am practicing well. We start these two days with that wind, but I feel myself ready for the next season. Tomorrow is another match, tough match against a good friend.
But the expectations are the normal ones, positive ones, because I feel that I finished the past season playing well and I feel that I am playing well again. We’ll see.
Q. If you compare the first week of this year to the first week of last year, what is the difference in your mood, your everything?
Rafa: Well, it is obvious that I feel more confidant this year but anything can happen. This is the sport. And last year I played a great set here in the first round and I lost. But I was playing good, no?
And then having a not easy year, I managed it well because I finished in a very high position of the ranking. And especially I finished it playing well, no? This year is another year. It’s true I’m not coming back from injuries, and I feel myself that I worked a lot to be ready for the beginning of this one, and I feel I am.
But then this is, as I said before, this is sport and highest level of the sport and every match is so difficult. Anything can happen.
Q. We know that you have been training very hard during the offseason. Can you talk a little bit about the program and your training, please?
Rafa: No, I have been training as much time as we believe we needed, and that’s it. We worked hard. We worked harder than usual because the physical condition allows me to do it, and that’s important for me.
I feel that I worked well. Didn’t stop much this year. That helps too to don’t lose the condition, and I played in IPTL. For me it was great, because it was a great week of practice, practicing a lot there at the same time and competing a little bit, too. So it was, for me, was a great thing to do.
And then when I was back in Mallorca, I had João Sousa that came to Mallorca for practice. We practiced very hard, and then I started in Abu Dhabi playing well again.
Q. I believe this was the first match that you have had Carlos Bernardes in the chair since Rio. I was just wondering, did you guys have a conversation before the season or anything? Chris Kermode had mentioned that you needed to clear the air before the new season.
Q. How would you describe today’s match, especially with regards to your form, the conditions?
Rafa: Well, I have been winning here a lot of years doubles, so hopefully that’s the good news that I lost this time in doubles that I hope to be ready for singles. Today’s match was a match that we had a lot of chances and was not the day to win. And that’s it.
Q. Obviously you have been playing a long time in the game and everything. Players tend to evolve as they get older and are used to the sport. Do you feel like you have changed anything in your preparation towards a new year now that you have been around the game more or how you approach the game?
Rafa: The way that I approach the game is I worked on the things that we believe that we needed to be better player. That’s the only thing. The same, like always. We analyzed what happened last year a Rev #1 by #180 at 2016-01-04 15:39:00 GMT page 1 of 2 little bit, and, you know, in terms of tennis, because the mental part is another story, but in terms of tennis we analyzed what we need to do to be very competitive this year and we tried to work on what we think we needed. Then we hope that we make the right thing, and I would hope to be very competitive.
Q. You do something different from last year?
Rafa: If I do something different?
Rafa: I hope the most important thing: Play better (smiling).
Q. When you say you worked well in your practice, what exactly does that mean? I mean, intensity or…
Rafa: Intensity, I always work with intensity. I don’t need a lot of intensity. All my life I worked with the highest intensity possible, but we worked a little bit different, different thing. We try to find different positions on court, try to play more inside and we work a lot on the return, too.
We feel that we need a few things that are different than other years but on the same time without losing the character of my game. It’s obvious that we were able to play and practice all the things that we wanted to practice because I didn’t have injuries. That’s so important.
Q. Along with Roger, you’re one of the most popular players on the tour. In the last year, wherever you’ve gone, do you find sort of a desperation for fans for you to come back and play at the highest level? And does that motivate you, encourage you, or put more pressure on you? Or does it not?
Rafa: All the support is very welcome. I felt around the world a lot of support from the fans. I still feeling this, and that’s very important. That’s always, when you feel the fans behind you are supporting you, is a great energy, no? So just feel great for that, and just thank you very much, everybody around the world, for that.
Q. Obviously last year you were coming back from injury. As you mentioned, you ended it really well, but how do you reflect back to last year? Do you just look at it as a building block to get back to where you were, or what’s your perception of Rafa’s 2015?
Rafa: Seriously, I’m a little bit tired of talking every day about 2015. We are in 2016 already, no? We talked enough about 2015, and I talked enough about all the things that happened. I have been very honest in all the press conference without lying or without don’t say the things that really happen to me. I have been very open of talking all the things that what’s going on during the year. But we are in 2016, and 2015 is past. When we are in 2014 when I was here and in 2013 I was winning a lot, I was not talking a lot about 2013. The real thing is all the victories in the past we are not talking about and we are not talking about all the defeats of last year, because that’s past. What really mean is what’s going on tomorrow. That is the first match for me of the year, and I am motivated for that.
The rest of the things are past experiences for your life: good experiences, bad experiences. I feel lucky that most of the experiences have been very positive. Some ones are not that positive, okay, is everything good, because you cannot be all the time perfect, because then when something goes wrong you cannot understand nothing. So you need to be prepared for tough things in life that in general for me have been a great life.
Q. Is there any one goal bigger than any other goal in this year, like Olympics, Roland Garros, No. 1?
Rafa: You never will hear from my mouth saying one particular goal, because the end of the day in tennis, we have tournaments every week, and we cannot say — you know, everybody knows what they want to achieve and everybody knows what’s the things that I want to do it, but my motivation is Doha now and then going to be Melbourne. That’s it. No, no, no, I cannot think farther than that.
Q. Doubles is one of your priorities in 2016? The doubles? You like to play doubles?
Rafa: No. My priorities is singles, 100%.
Q. But considering you can win the gold medal in Rio, will you do anything for…
Rafa: I gonna do it my way, and my way is the singles. For sure, I gonna, when I arrive at the Olympics, I gonna be ready to compete in as many competitions possible. If I can compete in mixed, in doubles, in singles, I gonna do it, but I am a singles player and I am not a doubles player. My motivation is the singles.