Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after the 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 win against Donald Young
Q. How do you feel after a win in three sets against a player like him on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. I think it was — yeah, it was a good match again. Almost all the time more or less under control. It’s true that I had the inconvenience with losing the serve serving for the match. That’s the only moment.
For the rest of the things, I think I played a solid match. Serving well. It’s true that in the third I served a little bit worse.
But in general terms, I am happy. I played well.
Q. I’m sure you have been asked to sign quite a few strange things in your career but it seemed as you came off the court you signed a prosthetic leg?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.
Q. Did the person take it off to sign it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Was already off. I don’t know if he take it off at that moment or not.
Q. Is that the weirdest thing you have had to sign?
RAFAEL NADAL: Probably not (smiling).
Q. You have not reached the last eight here at Wimbledon since 2011. That’s a long time. But you seem to be playing better on grass than you have in years. Are you confident you can go deep in the tournament this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: For the moment, third round. That’s all. No?
You never know. Grass is a different surface. Things change quick (snapping fingers).
I think I am doing the right things. I feel myself playing well. Now I have tough opponent in front of me like Khachanov. Going to be a tough match for me. I hope to be ready to keep playing well. It’s possible to improve a little bit more? I should be happy.
I don’t know how deep I can go on the draw or not, but I really don’t think about that now. The only thing is today I won another match here in Wimbledon. That mean a lot to me. Happy tomorrow I have a practice day, and then after tomorrow again a match. That’s all. That’s my route and just try to follow.
Q. Earlier in your career and again in Paris you said a really interesting thing, kind of a humble thing, that it’s good to have doubts, that you have doubts. Could you talk about that a little bit? If you could talk about that, about just some of the doubts that you have and your thoughts about that.
RAFAEL NADAL: Was nothing really special, no? Was just about in life, in general, not only in sport, no? It’s normal to have doubts on everything when you have to take positions. You know, if you are not too arrogant, you have different ways, and it’s normal to have doubts in life.
In sport it’s exactly the same, no? When you are not playing well, when I had more injuries than I would like, it’s normal to have doubts. And I did. And I tell you one thing, if I had doubts when I was winning almost every match, how can I not have doubts when I am in a bad situations, no?
But I repeat that, in my opinion, doubts are good. If it’s too much, it’s too much, no? If you have too much doubts, then to practice sport is more difficult because you need to have determination at the same time, no?
But the doubts give you a couple of things that for me are important. Respect for every opponent, that’s important. When you’re on court, you know that every opponent is dangerous. Then don’t relax yourself when you are winning. Keep having the motivation to improve, you know. Don’t consider yourself too good.
And I think this kind of stuff help me to have a longer career and at the same time successful career during long time.
Q. Do you think you’re better at dealing with doubts now than when you were younger and earlier in your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: Probably not. I was very good when I was young, no? I think when you are older sometimes you have more, you are a little bit more scared about things, no? When you are younger, everything is new so you have the energy.
You know, you are not scared about anything because didn’t happen to you in the past, no? When you are older probably you had negative experiences, too, that you have positive experiences that help, but at the same time you have negative experience that push you to the other way.
Q. We spoke to Karen Khachanov and he said you practiced with him a few times. Compared to the rest of the guys of his generation, the young up-and-comers, what stands out in him the most, in your opinion?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s a great player in all aspects; good serve, good forehand, good backhand, a lot of power. He’s very strong, as all the young players. And he’s a good worker.
So yeah, he like this sport, so he has a great future. Hopefully not after tomorrow (smiling).
Q. You have the chance to get back to No. 1 here. How much is this on your mind and how much would it mean to you to get back to No. 1?
RAFAEL NADAL: Difficult for me to think about that now, no? I’m just on the third round and I am happy the way that I am playing. That’s all.
Of course it’s better to be No. 1 than be No. 2 or be No. 5, of course. No doubt about that. With that, I don’t have doubts (smiling).
But at the same time, I just do my way, no? I said a lot of times, but at this moment of my career, ranking of course is important because it’s another part of our tour. For sure, for me, have the chance to be back to No. 1 is something beautiful.
But at the same time for me the most important thing is be happy. What make me happy feel myself, first thing healthy, second thing, competitive, and then if that happens, then I can fight for other things that really excited me. That’s all.
Then if I keep playing the same level that I did the first six months of the season, then I hope to have my chances to be in a very high position of the ranking.
Q. Can you compare the run that you’re on right now to 2008, 2010, when you didn’t drop a set in the French Open, you came here. Can you compare that 2008, 2010 to what’s happening currently?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, 2010, 2008, I was playing finals in a row here. 2008 was the third, already played two finals in a row and in 2010 was the fourth in a row because I didn’t play here in 2009. Different story.
But at the same time you never know. We’ll see, no? We are just beginning of tournament. I won two rounds. Happy for that, but doesn’t make sense to think about these kind of things.
Q. Just going back to your opponent, when he played Murray at the French Open, McEnroe said he felt he would be in the top 10 by the end of this year or at least by the French Open next year. Seems to think he could be a guy who goes on to kind of be world No. 1 and win a lot of Grand Slams. You have played with him before. Do you see him going that high? Do you think there is any kind of ceiling on what he can achieve?
RAFAEL NADAL: For sure he’s good. For sure he has chances to be in a high position of the ranking.
Win so many Grand Slams? I tell you one thing: Is not easy. Somebody have to win Grand Slams, of course, but looks a little bit easier because during this part and this moment of our sport, there is three players that won 18, 15, and 12.
But if we look back about the history of our sport, was not very long time away when Sampras have 14, and looks like nobody gonna have the chance to increase that number. We need to appreciate the things, when we need to put everything in the right spot.
And Karen is a great player, that he has chances to win a lot. But then there is good players out there and the player who is able to improve more during the next couple of years will have the chance to win more than others.