THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.
Q. Querrey won a set off you in Davis Cup. Was he a tough opponent?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yeah, of course. Every single opponent is tough. All the players that have opponents who hit the ball so hard, you know that there will be moments that they will hurt you.
Also, the fact of playing at night, you know, I hadn’t trained a single day during the nighttime. It was a completely different feeling. Today it was a little bit covered, a little bit slower, cloudy.
Well, at the beginning when we were warming up I was feeling a little bit strange, but actually during the week I’ve been training well and playing well. At the beginning I thought I was going to step into the match. At the beginning I tried to avoid what happened, but that happened.
After that I just had to come back, step in again, and turn the match around. Luckily once I did that the match went well. It was on my side most of the time, and I made two consecutive breaks.
Q. At the beginning of the match was a little bit complicated, wasn’t it. You didn’t have any doubts to turn it around.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know I think that when you lose so many points at the beginning, well, you have doubts. He was going to serve for the 5-3 with new balls. You know that you’re there at the limit and you can lose the set. Not the match because you still have another set to go, but it was tough.
In that moment I decided to step back a little bit and change a little bit the game, open it a little bit more, try to return the ball properly, try to close the gap so that he couldn’t just go for the gaps. I think it worked out.
But until that moment he was putting the balls on the lines and it was difficult. He was serving fast and it was tough for me. He started hitting the ball very hard and doing it well and hitting good shots. I had to try to neutralize that.
I had the confidence that if I managed to step in I could turn it around. If I could play longer rallies, more than three balls, I knew that things could turn around.
Luckily that’s what happened. I saved that important point when we were at 4-2. Then from 4-2 I managed break him. From there on things went more or less well.
Q. In the deuce game were you trying to serve up the T, and advantage to the opposite side?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, the opposite.
Q. Do you think that this was something you adapted for Querrey for this match, or was it something you’ve done before?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I’ve been doing this since the last season. I’ve been moving a little bit more around the court. I feel comfortable when I serve at that point, and it’s a change that I did from here on. If you see in the previous matches, I haven’t changed anything. I’m doing that since weeks ago.
Q. I wanted to know why did you decide to put one kilo more in the tension of your strings?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I decided this when I came, and I do that every year because the altitude.
Q. During this month where your results were not so good as we’re used to, many times the press and also the people in tennis are saying that perhaps you should change trainers, you should change your coach. Do you think people have been unfair with your uncle during this time?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think I’ve spoken about this many times. I just don’t want to talk anymore about this. I think I made things clear when they were not working out. I don’t have any necessity to say it again when things are working fine right now.
I always said that things were not going as well as we wanted. I always say that it was just my fault, not others. That’s the way I thought about it in every moment. That’s the way I think also right now.
You know, normally the one who’s doing things wrong is the same one if things go right or wrong. You don’t have to find why or find excuses, especially when I play with this team and I have a great career with my team. So I’m happy about it.
You know, the same way they have criticized me, I don’t have to defend my uncle, but sincerely I never thought about anything. I respect always everyone’s opinions as long as they are respectful. When they’re not respectful, I think they’re not right.
I just try to be respectful with everyone, and I expect the same thing from other people. Apart from that, everyone is free to have their own opinion. If someone thinks that I need a coach change, it’s not being unfair. It’s just an opinion.
Same as if someone thinks I don’t serve well. It’s just an opinion and we have to respect that. When they’re respectful.
Q. Rafa, yesterday we saw you at the Bernabeu, in the stadium with Novak. How do you get on with him off the courts? How is your relationship with him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, I have a good relationship with everyone. I’ve had very few problems in my career with people. You can count them on one hand.
The truth is that life is much better when you have good relationships with the most amount of people, and especially if they are your colleagues. I see them every single week so I get on very well with them.
I think my relationship with Novak is very good, same as with other players on the tour, or most of them. I believe that’s the way it should be. We’re in a tour that at the end of the day it’s just a sport, a game. Life is way more important than that. I understand that life is much nicer if you have good relationships with nearly most of the people.
Like that, wherever you go you’re going to feel comfortable.
Q. I wanted to ask you what you thought was the key to today’s match.
RAFAEL NADAL: I really don’t know. I think I did things better than the opponent, as usually happens when you win matches. When you lose them it’s because you did worse than your opponent.
The key, as I said before, the key was the break at 4-2 and me stepping up in the match. Until that moment I hadn’t stepped up in the match because he was serving quite well. I just had to change a few things, adjust others, and try to make that happen.
Once it did, everything was fine. I had good rhythm and committed few errors. Maybe a very bad game in the second set. That was all. After that I tried to fix it and I did it. I think since I did the break at 4-2 until the end of the match it was a good match for me on my side with few errors. I controlled most of the time.
That’s why I made it to the quarterfinals, and I think it’s great news.
THE MODERATOR: Question in English.
Q. When you played here in 2012 you were not a fan of blue clay. Just wondering if you would be open to another innovation like that, or if you think that such attempts like that should never try again?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t have an opinion about that. I don’t know. For sure that was a bad decision in that moment, and the result have been not high quality of tennis during the whole tournament because the court was not in the right conditions that a tournament like this one deserve.
The real thing is after that year, here in Madrid the courts are fantastic, one of the best clay courts in the world. The tournament did a great effort in all what they did after that. I believe that the clay is red. We don’t have 100 tournaments on clay per year. The clay is part of the history of our sport, the same like the grass. I don’t see red grass, so I don’t like blue clay. That’s all.
Q. Was today’s match the sort of match that a few weeks ago when your confidence was a bit lower you might have struggled more to turn around maybe?
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe. As always, I say the same. It’s obvious that when you win, when you are winning, when you are with confidence, with positive confidence, the victory helps to keep winning, and the loses, defeats helps to keep losing.
So it’s obvious that the calm that the victories gives you helps you in tough moments like today.
Q. You’re going to play Sousa in the quarterfinals. You played him a couple years ago I believe in Sao Paulo. Any thoughts on that matchup?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s a great player. We know each other very well. We have been practicing together in Mallorca this December. When he’s in advanced rounds he’s a very dangerous player. He had an amazing victory today against Jack Sock, that’s a very dangerous, good player, especially here in altitude.
He will be ready for the match of tomorrow. He will be confident. I hope to be ready for play a good match.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Like Rafa, I am looking forward to the Rome Masters. He has time to regroup and review his game against Murray. I do pray that his confidence is in tact and will lead him to a great Rome Open showing.
RAFA FAN STANDING BY HER MAN
I hope Rafa doesn’t let this defeat set him back , he has been playing great . It’s one step at a time , know one can expect him to go straight to the top again that soon , it will im come sure of it . Andy is number two at the moment for a reason.
Our champion did not make the final.
RAFA STILL ROCKS
Now 3-5 second set Murray
Not looking good for Rafa vs Murray: 5-7, 2-5 Murray.
Rafa is just so grounded and sensible. How can anyone not admire him? He has such a great grasp of what is important in life and is so happy. We fans could follow his example. I hope that he wins today against Andy, but if he doesn’t, he will have tried his best. I must say that as a TV viewer, the blue clay did show the balls better, but I defer to the players.
What a charmer!
RAFA IS AN ALL AROUND WINNER