Rafael Nadal reflects on his quarter-final victory over Stan Wawrinka as he boosted his hopes of a ninth title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I presume you’re much more happy with your serve today than yesterday?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it is obvious. Where is Ubaldo that is happy I didn’t face that many breakpoints (smiling). He is not here.
Q. We can call him.
RAFAEL NADAL: Va bene cosi.
The real thing is every day is a different story. Yesterday I played against an opponent that he was playing so good, in my opinion. Is true that my serve probably was a little bit better today than yesterday. But both days I think I played good, no?
Stan today, I think the last three games of the first set, that’s the only moment that he didn’t play well. Obviously he played with too many mistakes.
But in the beginning of the match and in the second set was a good match, in my opinion. Both played good points.
I think he played with more mistakes than me. But is true at same time he is going more for the shots all the time. When you want to play this way, very aggressive, you can have mistakes.
I think I played good. I defended well. I moved well. When I had the opportunity, I was trying to have the control of the point with my forehand and with my backhand, too.
I am very happy the way that I played.
Q. Would you agree to say the depth of your shots, you are playing long balls again?
RAFAEL NADAL: The important thing is play points in a row with the right intensity, with not many mistakes in a row. Something we are working hard on that. I think I was able to do it well yesterday and today. That give me confidence, no?
When that happens, I can hit some winners, too, with my forehand. I did today. I hit some good passing shots. I defend some good balls. That’s important for my confidence and for my game.
Then if I am able to play with no mistakes, then you get confident, you can play longer, you go more for the shots. Is little bit step by step every day and every moment.
But the important thing in my game is know that when I going to hit the ball that the ball going to go inside. Even in the bad positions, the ball going to come in.
Q. Tomorrow a semifinal with Andy. Your last match to Andy Murray was Madrid last year. Do you find some similarities between that match and the next one?
RAFAEL NADAL: We will see tomorrow. We cannot think or we cannot expect nothing because is a very tough match against a great opponent.
He played a great match today. We’ll see. I need to be ready to play the way I am playing the last two matches. If I am able to do it, I hope to have my chances.
Q. The referee tried to calm down the people in the restaurant twice. It’s really noisy. How does it affect you?
RAFAEL NADAL: We cannot talk about that after playing for 10 years here. That’s the real thing, no?
Me, Stan, Andy, everybody who gets used to play in that center court knows that every day is like this. It’s not a story about it. It’s not new about this. It’s something that every day is the same. We cannot talk about that after having the same story every day after, I don’t know, I came here for the first time in 2003, I think.
Q. But you can have an opinion.
RAFAEL NADAL: My opinion is the tournament, it didn’t change with that in, I don’t know, 14 years. Probably before I came here for the first time was the same. That’s probably because is not a big issue. If is a big issue, probably something will change.
Q. Have you had a chance to see much of Andy playing? Can you talk a little bit about his evolution, his improvement as a clay court player.
RAFAEL NADAL: He always was a good clay court player, no? He played semifinals of French Open twice or three times, I don’t know.
Q. He won a title for the first time last year.
RAFAEL NADAL: He won a title for the first time last year in Madrid?
Q. Madrid, and Munich before that.
RAFAEL NADAL: If he didn’t win titles before, is something anecdote-ic, in my opinion. Doesn’t make big difference, win titles or not. If you are able to play semifinals of Roland Garros or semifinals of Rome couple of times, you are ready to win titles.
He’s a great player in all aspects. I always say the same: He’s a great clay court player, great hard court, grass, indoor player. He’s a complete player in all aspects.
If he plays well, he can play well in every surface.
Q. Without wishing to dredge up bad memories for you, was losing in the Madrid final to Andy really one of the sort of low points for you last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Low points? No. I lost in a final. I lost a lot of matches before the final last year. Was not a low point. Was a good tournament for me last year in Madrid. I was able to play at a very good level for some matches.
In the final, I didn’t play my best match. I play bad. But something that can happen. And tomorrow is another tough match. At the same time is an opportunity for me to play against the second best player of the world. I going to try to my best to play the right level.
Q. You said ‘step by step’. How do you rate your game in percentage, for example, compared to your best years in clay?
RAFAEL NADAL: I never was good in mathematics. I cannot know about percentages or these kinds of things. I played two very positive matches in a row. I happy the way I’m playing.
‘Step by step’ mean tomorrow is another chance to go on court, compete. I am in semifinals. That is a positive news for me. Tomorrow we will see if I am able to keep playing that level.
Most important thing for me is the last two tournaments that I was competing, I was in two semifinals in a row in Masters 1000. That’s what I really need. That’s something that give me confidence. That’s the things that I am looking for.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports, Video: ATP World Tour