Rafael Nadal def. Illya Marchenko 6-3, 6-4
Q. Just talk about the match. You seemed to be doing everything perfectly. How was it from your side?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, not perfect, obviously. But I did a few good things, and I’m happy with the victory, being in the first final of the season in the first official tournament is something great, very good news, very happy for that. For sure is important for me for my confidence, confirm that the end of 2015 season had been something realistic and this beginning of 2016 I still playing well, so I’m able to already won four matches here and be in the final. Have points, have confidence, and rhythm. So everything is all positive.
Q. Marchenko was riding on a lot of confidence with some big wins this week. How were you able to neutralize his game so well today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he was playing well during the whole week, no? Winning against great opponents, very dangerous opponents, like David, Gabashvili, and yesterday against a big player in hard court like Chardy, no?
So I went on court with a lot of respect for him, knowing that he was playing at very high level. I tried to play a little bit more aggressive than yesterday. I think I played well. My serve was working well tonight, and I had some opportunities on the return. I didn’t convert all ones, but two breaks was enough because I was serving well.
Q. It’s been two years since you won a hard court title in an official competition. Does it feel in your mind that it’s been that long since you have won a hard court title? How much would it mean to you to break that?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s something that I don’t think about. It’s something that it’s obviously not worries me much. I know if I’m playing well, I gonna have opportunities. If you are not playing well, for sure my opportunity is not going to be there, no? That’s it.
The last, I don’t know, six tournaments that I played on hard court I have been playing semifinals in Beijing, semifinals in Shanghai, and then final in Basel and then quarterfinals and semifinals — well, quarterfinals in Paris and semifinals in World Tour Finals. And last week is not official tournament but playing against tough opponents on hard too in Abu Dhabi, so winning a couple of good matches, too.
If I play well, I gonna have my chances, no? And then win or lose, anything can happen. But the positive thing and most important thing is feel yourself that every time that you go on court you are competitive against everybody and you have your chances.
That’s what I feel today. So I don’t know if gonna be tomorrow or not, but if I play well, gonna be soon or late.
Q. You’re tied 23 apiece with Novak in your head-to-head. If he wins today against Tomas, how do you approach that match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Even though I won, it’s the first of the season, so for me is important to play against any opponent, Tomas or him, play being competitive and fighting and do positive things on court. That’s what I gonna try, and I gonna fight for it.
Q. Novak said he is a kind of a player who likes to take a break at offseason or…
RAFAEL NADAL: Who?
Q. Novak. And if he doesn’t play tennis for a week or something, still, you know, techniques and feeling of tennis doesn’t go anywhere. In the other hand, like some other players like Nishikori said if he doesn’t play tennis for just two or three days, he’s going to lose the feeling of tennis. I was wondering which type of a player you are.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, with two or three days without playing tennis, I am not losing my feeling. Sometimes you recover the feeling. But it’s obvious that I don’t like to rest for two weeks without touching a racquet, or three weeks, because then is not just a question of tennis; it’s a question of physical performance.
You know, playing tennis, after a lot of years playing tennis, if I stay two weeks without playing tennis, then I start and I have pain everywhere, no? Elbow, shoulder, knees. So I don’t want to do it that way, no? And I cannot.
So I take, if I want a break, to have breaks, I break for three days, then I practice two days, then I have to break again for three more days. That’s my holidays, no? And I cannot have a break of 15 days in a row, because then I am in trouble.
But this year I didn’t have rest. I keep going. Not for everybody is the same every year. Novak last year played IPTL, too, and this year he didn’t because he played so much during the full season, official season. So for everybody, every year is different. And for everybody works different things.
Q. Your opponent Marchenko had defeated two seeds before he ran up to you. Now do you think actually it’s your name, you know, the ranking that has an impact and the rest is then done with the game, the amazing game that you have? Do you think people are actually pulverized before they actually meet you? I mean, they are like, okay, they are up against Rafa, that kind of feeling?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t — you understand?
Q. The thing is I want to ask, is it the image that you have or that actually scares your opponents away even before they actually play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Didn’t happen last year (laughter). Is obvious that when somebody is winning a lot in a row, then sometimes that effect can happen, but is not my case today. I have to fight for every match. And that’s it.
No, no, no, I know that feeling when I was winning a lot on clay in the past or winning so many matches in a row, then sometimes you win matches not before the matches start, for sure, because you have to play every match, but if you start well the match, then the things are a little bit easier. But is not my case today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports