THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Congratulations for being in the final again.
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you.
Q. Five times. Hey, Rafa, did Fabio’s sloppy play in the first set maybe cause you to lose concentration or bring down your level do you feel at all today?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I think I played a very good first set. He had mistakes obviously.
In the second is not about losing the concentration, it’s about not being lucky at the beginning of the second set. With the normal situation, the normal thing is have a break at the beginning of the second. I had so many chances, but then situation changes, no?
But when you don’t convert opportunities you’re in trouble, and that’s what happened. Especially with these conditions out there, a lot of wind. And with Fabio, who is a player that he is able to combine great points with mistakes then, you know, the match became strange, not a lot of rhythm, and then end of the second set was tough.
Q. (No microphone.)
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I served well. My serve worked well. I think I didn’t face a break point again during the whole match, so that is something that I am very happy with. That’s give you calm when you have opportunities on the return and you don’t convert.
Q. What happened on the point where you ran out of your shoe?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. Is strange because happened twice. In one month happened two times. I don’t know where the other time — practice. But practicing, not competing. I don’t know. Maybe I need to put tie stronger, but I don’t know. I don’t know how the shoe goes out. I have to check again.
Q. Was there a spot on the court? I know you were wiping it up afterwards. Was there moisture or wetness on the court?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, but I had to put my shoe on and I was losing — from my head is going out a lot of water on the floor, so I need to — no, no, no.
Q. Hey Rafa, congratulations. You’re in the final. Maybe you’re going to play against Roger Federer. What do you notice is new with him now after his recovery? Is there something new? Different?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s playing so good. That’s all, no? He’s playing great. When top player like him is playing that well, then it’s always a big challenge for every player. That’s all.
Q. What about Nick? He’s like the next generation. Is there something different with this next generation than yours and Roger’s generation?
RAFAEL NADAL: Different, but life and world changes, and Nick is big talented player with huge serve. That helps him a lot to play with more confidence on the return and play more relax.
Then he is solid now. He played I don’t know, semifinals in Marseilles, semifinals in Acapulco, and quarterfinals last week in Indian Wells. Again this week he’s in semifinals. He’s in a great moment playing solid and winning great matches against top players.
He’s not the next generation, he’s the generation now, no? He’s close to be in top 10, I think. He has a good chance this year to fight for the Masters.
Q. Fabio seems to have some injuries or pain on his elbow. In this tournament we missed Novak, Andy, Gasquet, Monfils, many top players. Do you think it’s coincidence or some explanation on these injuries?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know if Novak is injury. He’s playing Davis Cup this week. I’m not sure if he’s injured.
I don’t know if Fabio is injury. You can ask him later. I don’t know.
Gasquet is not injured. He had appendicitis. Happens to a lot of people. It’s not an injury. Happened to me, too.
Yeah, Andy, I don’t know what’s going on. Is obvious that he is not playing here, a tournament that he likes, so something is going on.
But at the same time, is obvious that it’s coincidence today, but overall is not a coincidence. When you are playing most of the time on hard surfaces I think it’s tougher for the body. It’s more aggressive.
Q. Rafa, in the next 48 hours, how much will you draw on what happened in previous finals here? The fact that you’ve been at final four times, do those experiences help you? Are they irrelevant? How would you describe it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think that’s going to affect in terms of helping me to win or helping me to lose. That’s a long time ago. Last final was in 2011 I think, and it’s not about if I never won a Masters 1000 and you play five finals and you lost all five, no?
I won 20 something, I don’t know. It’s not more pressure for me to play here the final than playing in Monte-Carlo or playing in Indian Wells. Is the same. Is something that for me winning here will be something great and something that’s an important title that I didn’t win.
But winning or losing, being honest, not going to change my career. Just helps to add something important for me and that’s it.
I am very happy about the first part of the season on hard courts before the clay arrives. I won a lot of matches. I have a lot of points. I am in a privileged position of the race. That’s a great news for me and give me calm to play the next couple of tournaments.
At the same time, I needed to play well at the beginning of the season because I didn’t have points the second half of the season on the computer, so I had a good chance to go back a lot on the ranking. That will not happen a lot probably. I can lose — I am still defending a lot of points on clay the next four tournaments, especially first three ones.
But I won a lot of points during the first part of the season, so that helps.
Q. How much better do you feel you have been playing at this tournament than you have been in Indian Wells, for example? You were not too happy after your match against Roger. Do you feel you’ve raised considerably your level here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I was playing well in Indian Wells. It’s true that I didn’t play my best match against Roger, but the feeling was good.
Being honest, I will not lie nobody, and I felt myself playing well in Indian Wells. Being honest, my draw was not the perfect one. Here I had — is true that in my place couple of players lost, some seededs lost overall in the whole draw.
That helped some players. In my case, I was able to play every day a little bit better, I think. That’s why I am in the final, no?
Indian Wells I faced player playing so well in the third round for me, and you are out. That’s it.
Q. Your rivalry with Roger started here I think 12 years ago. First time you ever played him; played him next year in the final here. You every think 11, 12 years ago that here you are again, back in the finals possibly with Roger? What does that mean to you nostalgia-wise?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s great to be in the final for me. For me doesn’t matter the opponent. I am happy to be in that final again, and I am excited to play another final of on important event.
So if it’s Roger, going to be another one for both of us, and that’s it. Just another one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports