Q. Congratulations. Can you just tell us how you felt about that match.
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you very much. Yes. Well, important victory for me, no? Start the season with victory is so important. Well, the negative thing is the condition changed a lot from here to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi was much more hot and here is colder and have been so windy the two days of preparation for me, so I couldn’t practice the way I needed to adapt. So was a big change in terms of ball feeling on court.
But he played well. You know, I had chances in the beginning of the match, no? I couldn’t convert. And then he played well at the end of the set. And then I think I changed a little bit at the beginning of the second. I played with a little bit higher intensity and being a little bit more aggressive, going a little bit more for the shots. When I was able to make that happen, everything changed, no?
So very happy the way that I managed to change the dynamic of the match, and I think I finished the match playing well.
Q. Novak mentioned last night that he was glad he skipped the exhibition events in order to fully recover in the offseason. Do you feel you were able to get sufficient rest as well as put in the offseason work despite playing the IPTL?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me the IPTL was a great preparation, better preparation being in the IPTL than being at home. The situation of myself is completely different than the Djokovic one. He won almost everything last year. He played a lot of matches. He came with — he doesn’t need no one preparation probably after winning almost everything.So for me was a different story. So for me, not everybody, what’s good for me maybe is not good for you or what’s good for you is maybe not good for another person, no?
So everybody does his own calendar. It’s obvious that playing as much as he did last year and total success, it’s normal he preferred to rest. For me, it was a different story. I do what I feel is better for my preparation. My feeling, I did the right thing.
Q. On the conditions, is it almost too cold to play in the tournament and to prepare properly for the games? And slightly off topic, do you have any reaction to Zinedine Zidane being appointed manager of Real Madrid?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, no, it’s not too cold. It’s not too cold, obviously. It’s good weather to play tennis, but when there is wind, things change, no? So I think if the two previous days we’ll have the conditions of today and I was able to practice with normal conditions, I think I would have arrived to the beginning of the match with a little bit more confidence in terms of the ball feeling. But having the crazy wind we had the last two days I couldn’t practice well.
But the real thing is I played well later, no? I started not doing a disaster, for sure. I started playing okay, but he was playing better than me at the end of the set, because at the beginning I felt I was playing better than him.
And that’s it. He went more for the shots at the end of the set. He deserved to win that set at the end. Then everything changed, and I think I was able to play at the right level later, no?
You can see David had a tough day today, too. So the conditions are not easy, and for us it’s great to play in Abu Dhabi, to play some matches that gives you more preparation, and that’s why we are there. But the real thing is the conditions the last two days here have been so unusual, no? So that makes a tough situation for both of us.
Well, Zidane is history of the sport, history of football, and he’s part of the history of Real Madrid. It’s obvious that he’s good, I think, for the players, he’s good for big, one of the most important clubs of the world, Real Madrid have somebody like him on the bench managing the club, and I am happy for him. I know him. He’s a good person and humble person, and I think he deserve to be where he is today.
I wish him the best of luck. I’m sorry for Benitez, that he was not having the success that he expect probably. And it’s tough to start a new project and after a few months goes out, so I feel very sorry for him. But if the feeling is needs a change, I think Zidane is the perfect position today.
Q. Obviously different parts of the season pose different issues and whatever. The beginning of the season, people aren’t quite in the groove and whatever. Can you just talk to, you know, the dynamics and how vulnerable like David was today of the beginning of the season?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, it’s just the beginning of the season, no? First day of official competition for us. David was playing great in Abu Dhabi, so as I said before, probably the last two days with crazy wind here didn’t help, no, in terms of our preparation.
But that’s it. I think David is playing great, working so hard, and I think he will be very ready for the Australian Open, no? For me was important victory. That gives me the possibility to play again tomorrow, and I am very happy for that. Very happy to start the season with a good comeback. And not for the comeback, not for that. The most important thing for me is I managed to find the good way to play good tennis, no?
I did at the right time, and I finished playing well with good result in the last two sets, 6-3, 6-1, against a very good player. It’s a very positive result.
Q. Can you talk about your next opponent? You haven’t played him in a long time. But when you did play him it was a tough match. Do you remember that match at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I have been playing with him in the preparation for Wimbledon last year, no, in exhibition match. But he’s a very dangerous player. Big serve, big forehand, good volley.
We’ll see. He’s a tough opponent, and I hope to be ready for it.