Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after the 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3) win against Karen Khachanov.
Q. Was your opponent difficult or tricky?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s obvious that it’s a tough opponent, no? He came here playing good matches on grass, semifinals in Halle one week and a half ago, playing good match in semifinals.
Yeah, I think was a tough one. For a set and a half I was playing fantastic, then little bit worst. But in general terms very well, very happy.
Q. How would you describe the third set?
RAFAEL NADAL: At the beginning I had my chances. I should had the break. But didn’t happen. Then I had two tough games with my serve. That’s it.
I think I played well the important moments. In the tiebreak I think I played a little bit better than him.
Q. As experienced as you are with the difference at Wimbledon where there’s an off day on Sunday, and Monday where the men and women are all playing singles, how would you describe the Sunday, what you do with the day off, and Monday where the fans get to see all these players?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is two days off. Is not usual. But that’s the tradition, so respect for that. That’s all.
Q. What will you do on Sunday?
RAFAEL NADAL: Just practice and have — relax, relax at home with my family, maybe watch some golf maybe, some film with my cousins. My small cousins are here. Maybe play some football with them. That’s all.
Q. How much are you enjoying the warm conditions, bringing a bit more bounce out of the court, helping your game, is it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is always that is better when is the sun out there. The conditions become a little bit more drier, and the court is more firm. Is better obviously for me.
Yeah, is always good to be in the second week. I hope the weather continues like this.
Q. Sergio Garcia was watching on today. Have you spoken to him over here? Will you be trying to meet up with him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I saw him just after the match there on the way to coming back to the locker room. Yeah, was great to see him again. Just is good for our sport to have big stars here supporting our sport like David Beckham, like him. I think is great news for our sport.
Q. Could you see him in his green jacket with the green sleeves?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I saw it.
Q. You’ve had problems over many seasons with your body, the physical side. Did you ever lose confidence in your body? How did you get to a place where you had confidence in your body?
RAFAEL NADAL: When you are under problems, is always that you don’t have confidence with your body, then is much more difficult to play well. If you feel that you are healthy, then you feel confident that you can do whatever you want in terms of practice, and you can move without thinking on anything, just thinking about the ball.
That’s very important because when you are losing little bit of time thinking about how you have to put that leg there because can be painful, then is, I don’t say impossible, but almost.
Q. Some of the players are complaining maybe more because of the weather that the courts aren’t in the best of shape as they usually are.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?
Q. The courts are not in as good a shape as usual. There’s a lack of grass. They’re a little bit too slippery. Are you finding anything different than in past years?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I didn’t. Not yet. Hopefully not. I didn’t slip yet. No, is true that I don’t play last year. I feel the court’s in good shape, similar to every year. I don’t see a big difference.
Q. You have Muller next. He’s won more matches on grass than anyone else this season. A unique style that’s dying out a little bit in the game. Will you change your preparation to play against someone like that, someone who comes to the net a lot?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s one of the toughest opponents possible on this surface especially. Probably is his best surface without a doubt. He has a great serve, a great volley. He play well from the baseline here.
Yeah, he’s a tough, tough opponent. At the same time we are in the round of 16. You cannot expect to have an easy opponents. So is a very tough one because he played a lot on grass this year. He won, as you say, more than nobody, I think.
But that’s the second week. All the matches are difficult. Let’s see if I am able to keep playing well.
Q. You mentioned maybe going out to play golf. Where would you play around here? Would you see if Sergio would come out with you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t say I was going to play golf. I said I’m going to watch some golf.
But, yeah, I played already, the week before I played in Wimbledon Royal one day. It was great.
Q. You grew up on clay. You’re very successful. How was it for you to learn to play on grass, to believe you had the game to have good results on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, at the end of the day, the only thing is the motivation that you have to do it. I always had the passion to try to be better player. Wimbledon is an event that is one of the most important events of the season, of course. Is a very special event.
My dream always was to play well here. I worked hard. I really respect a lot this event. I really wanted to play well here. That’s why I worked the right way to play well here in the past.
But I tell you one thing, because the people sometimes, because I have been winning a lot on clay, they forget other things. When I was 16 years old, two years less, I played the junior tournament here. I didn’t lose in the first round. I played the semifinals, so I was not that bad on grass (smiling).
Q. Playing another lefty like Muller, does your strategy change at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played against a left-handed player in the previous round, no? Is something that is little bit different. But we are used to do it. That’s it.
Is true that is an opponent that has a special style, a lot of serve and volley, serving so good. So going to be a very tough one. I need to be very focused with my serve and try to be aggressive on the return to try to have chances.
Q. If you were a fan, what do you think you would make of the Monday at Wimbledon, when all the men and women are playing?
RAFAEL NADAL: What do you think?
Q. If you were a fan, you weren’t playing, what do you think you would make of that Monday at Wimbledon when the men and women are playing, this coming Monday?
RAFAEL NADAL: I didn’t understand exactly the question.
(Translated into Spanish.)
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. You have tickets to be here, is good. Is not easy to have the tickets, by the way (smiling).
Is an interesting Monday. Is good, but at the same time is bad, my opinion. Is good because you have a great, for sure, fantastic players playing there. At the same time is bad because you cannot see everybody. When you have less matches, you can follow more matches.
On Monday going to be a lot of matches out there. I don’t know in which court we going to play. Going to be little bit strange. But going to be good. For sure, going to be a good show.
Q. You love golf, football, you’re a great fisherman.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not great.
Q. You enjoy fishing. What is your best attribute, your best skill in those three, as a golfer, playing football, and fishing?
RAFAEL NADAL: Playing football, I am very bad right now because I don’t play. Little bit too risky. I do sometimes only with my friends, with the people that I know, just at the end of the season, not during the season. I used to play not bad in football. I forget. I lost everything.
In general terms, the best skill is when I do things, I want to do it well. I put all my effort to try to do it well. That’s the thing.
I don’t understand the sport without trying your best. I don’t understand go to play golf, and don’t try your best. I don’t understand go to play, even a football match between friends, don’t try your best to win or to play well.
The sport, in general, if you don’t try your best, in my opinion, lose everything. Is about competition at the end of the day. If you don’t have this competitive spirit, then the sport, just by sport, is better go running or these kind of things.
Q. In your golf is it your approach game that’s best or your driving?
RAFAEL NADAL: My golf? I am more or less have a very bad swing, but I am a solid player. I don’t have big mistakes. More or less, I have not a very bad shot. In general terms, I have a good shot game and good drive.