Rafael Nadal reflects on his victory over rising star Dominic Thiem to book his place in the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Do you think it was the best match of your season?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think about these things, no? I think I played a good match. In terms of level of tennis, was great I think. In terms of fighting spirit and attitude and being ready to accept the mistakes, the good points, the tough moments, was similar way that I played in Indian Wells.
That was a great continuation against a very tough player. I think he played a great match, too. Was a very good victory for me. Very happy for that.
Q. What was the reason, in your opinion, of the fact that in the first set there were 16 breakpoints for him and you saved 15? Is it a mental thing? His inexperience? You were playing better with more concentration? How would you explain it?
RAFAEL NADAL: That was one day. Not happening every day. Even if you are well mentally, even if you are playing well, I don’t think is lose more breakpoints, no?
But I think he is not inexperienced. He is ready to compete for all the things. He doesn’t need more experience. He’s ready for everything. He has the right experience. He won tournaments already. He is playing great this year.
The good thing, in my opinion, the best thing is he didn’t play bad the breakpoints. It was more that I played well in the breakpoints than he played bad.
So happy for that because that mean that I was ready to find and take the right decisions in the most important moments. I was able to fight all the moments, no? I never give up in all these tough moments that I had in the first set. So very happy for that.
I think I played a solid match in general. That’s why I’m in the next round, because the opponent was very hard.
Q. Do you think this match is going to help you for the next one against Stan?
RAFAEL NADAL: We will see tomorrow. Tomorrow after the match, I going to come here, and you will know the answer.
You cannot predict what’s going on. Tough victories against good opponents always helps. Tomorrow is another opportunity to play against one of the best players of the world, a player who should be playing great, because today he won very easy.
Will be a tough one again. I hope to be ready for the action.
Q. We saw you watch Novak’s match intensely yesterday. Do you have any comments in regards to that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. I watched just a couple of games, no? I was waiting for my team arriving to the car. I was watching a little bit of the third set here. I didn’t see nothing else before that.
Everybody can lose. That’s the real thing. That’s the good thing in sport. Novak, I think is the first match of the year that he lose.
RAFAEL NADAL: In Dubai he retired. But this is the first match he really lose of the year. After a lot of difficult tournaments, that’s an amazing thing. You can forgive him for one day (smiling).
Q. Knowing how Stan plays at the moment, what will be the key points, do you think, in the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Stan, he’s always very dangerous opponent and he’s a great player. I know when he’s playing well, it’s difficult to stop him because he’s able to hit so hard the ball from every part of the court. He’s able to serve so good, too.
We’ll see. Will be a tough one. I only can think about myself. I have to continue the same way than today, fighting for every point, playing with my strategy. We’ll see if I am able to play like today or maybe little bit better. Let’s see.
Q. You save 15 or 16 breakpoints, you were very strong mentally. Why do you think he was always reaching that point to have a breakpoint? Were you less careful before or he was playing better? How can these things happen?
RAFAEL NADAL: Did you see the results of Thiem this year?
Q. He’s good. But I’m saying, why in the same game.
RAFAEL NADAL: In sport, you cannot find an answer for everything. You play points, you win points, you lose points. Happens what happens.
Is obvious that in the breakpoints, is a stress point for both players. One player has a good chance to win the point, and if he wins the point, he gets a break, he’s in an advantage to win the set. For the other, is a critical moment, too, because if he loses the point, he knows he’s in disadvantage.
Is important to manage well these moments. Today I think I managed very well these moments. Is something that not happen every day. I going to try to face less breakpoints the next day because you cannot resist saving all these breakpoints.
At the same time is obvious that you need matches like this. You need to suffer on court. You need to pass through these moments to be at your full confidence.
Tomorrow is another battle, another test. I going to play every point with full concentration, as I did today. You lose points, you win points. At the end of the day what happened on the breakpoints or not doesn’t make big difference. Most important thing is who wins the last point.
Q. To the very first question. Was it your best match on clay this year? If yes, since when?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, it was my best match on clay this year. Is obvious because in South America the conditions were so extreme in terms of combining points in a row or playing these kind of rallies was impossible. The weather conditions was too extreme for me. That’s it. It’s obvious that it was the best match on clay this year for me.
And since when? I don’t know. In Hamburg I played a great match against Seppi in semifinals or quarterfinals. Semis I think. I think in Madrid I played well last year. In Rome, too. In Rome I played good matches. In the quarterfinals against Stan, was 6-1 in the tiebreak. I was playing good matches in Rome. Good matches in Madrid. In Roland Garros I was playing good before I lost in quarterfinals.
No, I had more ups and downs than before, but I still seem able to play some good matches.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Video: ATP World Tour