Transcript of Rafael Nadal’s presser after the Edmund match.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Did you expect that he was so consistent with his backhand?
RAFAEL NADAL: If we have to talk about something, we have to talk about the forehand, not the backhand, in my opinion.
Q. Forehand he’s so strong, but the backhand was a little bit surprising, in my opinion.
RAFAEL NADAL: And in my opinion the problem was he didn’t hit enough backhands. He hit too many forehands. That’s my opinion, no?
When you hit one backhand, is easy to be consistent. When you have to hit backhands in a row or backhands in not very good position, the story normally changes, no?
My fault, I believe, was that he had the chance to hit his forehand. Talking about another thing, he played great. He hit so strong, a lot of big forehands from everywhere. So well done from him.
But I am here to talk about me, not about the opponent that he play great. Well done for him, because for moments he was playing good enough to win the match.
But for me, the thing that I need to do better is when I’m hitting with my forehand, he cannot hit his forehand, no? When I’m hitting with my forehand, he has to hit his backhand, or he has to run to his forehand, no?
That was the problem this afternoon for too many times. I think at the end of the match I changed that. I changed more down the line. When I was hitting my forehand, he was not able to hit his forehand from the backhand side. That’s so important for me.
But for some moments he had the chance to go for the shots all the time. Probably is true that with the conditions like this, is little bit tougher because the spin is not there, balls are so heavy.
When you play against a player that wants to hits every ball so, sometimes you are in his hands.
Q. You would have been aware of him on the tour, seen him play. But your first match against him, are you surprised by his power?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know he’s a great player, no? Last year he had a great year. He’s young. He has all the possibilities to become a top player: good serve, good forehand, not a bad backhand.
My feeling is when he’s able to put all these ingredients together, play solid enough, he will have the chance to be in the top positions, no?
His forehand was huge. I believe that probably he didn’t start this year as good as he played last year. But he has potential to be fighting for important things soon.
Q. Talking about your forehand, what would you say you’re still searching for on that side, if you’re still searching for something?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I think I was practicing well. But sometimes is not easy to win a set like this, 6-Love, especially in the first match on clay.
Then the opponent change because is obvious that he thought that the match was not going anywhere for him. He started to hit forehands so strong. He had a lot of success. He hit the spots a lot of times, a lot of balls to the line, close to it, with big power, no?
I believe that after the first set he played with nothing to lose, in my opinion. He hit very strong, but even stronger than usual.
He played well. I am very happy to still here with a victory. I think mentally I was there all the time. I fighted very well. I was strong enough after tough situations. I saved one breakpoint in the third. So I’m very happy to be here.
I was humble enough to run and to put one more ball in, to find solutions.
Q. Overcoming a match like this, is it important for the boost of confidence for the next round?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is important because tomorrow I have another opportunity, no? I think I will say yes if I’m in a position that I was not winning a lot of matches the last couple of months. But is not that case. I have been winning a lot of matches this beginning of the season.
What I feel today is not about confidence, is about I have the chance to play again tomorrow. That’s the most important thing for me, no?
I saved a tough match against a player who played so aggressive and very well. Tomorrow I have another very tough battle against a big player again.
Q. Can you compare your feelings compared to on clay in the beginning of the season compared to other seasons?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t remember, no? Well, is true that I didn’t win matches on the third set in the first round here very often. I think I won always in two sets. But I started well.
But even in the first set, I need something more with the forehand. I going to look for it tomorrow. That’s my feeling, no? When I’m hitting my forehand, I need more power. I need to create more damage on the opponent.
That’s what I need tomorrow. That’s what I going to try to do. That’s all.
Q. He’s from the north of England. We’re a bit surprised to have a player who plays like him. I know it’s hard to sort of rank forehands. You’ve obviously played against all the great modern players. The power of Kyle’s forehand, how does it compare in terms of the force of it, compared to some of the bigger forehands that you’ve played against?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have to see it more often. That’s my feeling, no? I cannot say for one day.
But today was a big, big forehand. I know for experience is a little bit easier to hit that tough, looking for the shots that much, when you have less to lose.
When you are higher in the ranking and when you start to have to lose in every match, it’s little bit more difficult to go for the shots as he did this afternoon, no?
But today he had a top forehand, in my opinion. Big, big shots from everywhere. Yeah, difficult to say because it was difficult to create damage on him because he was quick running to his backhand, too.
I think my mistakes for moments was that I needed to play more against his forehand. I was trying to play against his backhand, and he was waiting there. I needed to open the court to go to the other side. His forehand is big. Especially all the players who has big forehand have better forehand from the backhand side. He did very well.
Q. Do you think Alexander is less difficult to face on clay, or is the same?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, he’s a top guy. He’s a top player everywhere. He’s a complete player. Everybody plays well in all surfaces today.
Is obviously that is a very tough second round. I need to play very well if I want to have chances to be through. I’m looking forward to try to find the best level possible for tomorrow. That’s what I need.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports