A transcript of the presser Rafael Nadal gave after his win over Victor Estrella Burgos.
Q. How did you feel about the game tonight? Where do you see any areas in which you’d like to improve?
RAFAEL NADAL: Happy for the start, of course. Is a positive start with a good result. If I do months without playing official match is always a little bit more difficult.
But I started with positive feelings. That’s most important thing for me now. Of course, there is things to improve. But the thing that I need to improve, the matches will give me that things, no?
Victories are the most important thing now.
Q. How is your body feeling?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. If I don’t feel myself ready, I will not be here. So I am happy to be here, happy that I’m on court again. Last year have been a long, very good but long season. So yeah, let’s start another one and try to don’t think much about what happened the year before.
Q. Your knee felt good tonight, didn’t have any problems at all?
RAFAEL NADAL: No problems. No problems.
Q. Did you have any doubts going into the match or were you confident you were fully there?
RAFAEL NADAL: I always have doubts. I said hundred times, I believe that the doubts are good because when you have doubts, it’s because you aren’t too arrogant, because you have respect for your opponent, because you have respect for the game, and because you don’t consider yourself unbelievable good.
The real thing is I always have doubts, but at the same time I have the confidence that I was ready to start the tournament. That was the case.
Through to second round. That’s a positive thing for me. I am looking forward to play the next match.
Q. You’re now No. 1 in the world. What would you have thought if I said to you this time last year you were going to be No. 1 in the world?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, was difficult to imagine after all the things that happened. Being realistic, I had very positive feelings last year at the beginning of the season. I started playing so well here. I could not imagine to be No. 1, but I had good hopes to play a good season. That’s my feelings.
Q. Do you have to pinch yourself sometimes to realize where you are? Is it a reality check?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I don’t need to reality check. I know where I am. I really appreciate that. At the same time I don’t think much about all these kind of things, no? I just think about try to be ready for the next tournament, for the next practice. I am not thinking all day, Oh, how good I am, I’m No. 1 of the world. No, is not the case.
I just go day by day. I know in sport, in general, the things changes so quick. You need to be ready to accept all the challenges that’s not going to happen.
Today you are here, the next day or a couple of months you are here (high to low). Sometimes you here and then you are here, like last year (low to high). Is part of the sport life.
The most important thing is just enjoy and keep having the passion and the motivation to keep working hard, to be where I am today.
Q. We heard a little bit about the players meeting on Friday. Do you think a separate players union is a good idea?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every year here in Australia, there is talks about new things. There is always an issue here in Australia, no? I really believe that there is plenty of time later on the year to speak about things. But now is the moment, for me personally, to play tennis, to play tennis and to try my best on court. That’s all really. I really focus on this.
Q. Was it odd for you to be out on the court this evening and not seeing your uncle Toni in the players box at any moment?
RAFAEL NADAL: Toni was not always on the box. It’s true that in the Grand Slams he was here all the time. But in plenty of tournaments, he was not there.
Strange or not? I cannot think about all day that. I just have to move forward, believe in the team I have. I feel lucky I have Carlos today in my box, and the rest of the team that is a huge support.
Toni is the most important person in my career, everybody knows. I can’t thank him enough for all the things. But today he is not here. He’s doing a great job in my tennis academy, no? Just can say thanks to him for that, too.
But today I have to think about the team that is here. I am happy with it.
Q. You had a nice exchange with Victor at the net after the match. Was it strange playing someone who has been on the tour for a long time for the first time?
RAFAEL NADAL: I know him well. We played a good exhibition a few years ago in Puerto Rico. He’s a good friend. He’s a great guy. He has an amazing story of his career. He’s a person that everybody love him on tour.
I was happy that I had the chance to play with him.
Q. A moment ago you mentioned your motivation for the game. What keeps you motivated?
RAFAEL NADAL: Because I love the tennis and I love the competition in general. I love playing in the biggest and more historic courts of our tour. I appreciate all these kind of things, no?
That motivates me. Every day for me is a good motivation to go on court in front of a great crowd here in Australia, in Rod Laver Arena. That’s really special feelings, no?
I know this is not forever. I want to enjoy all the moments that I have the chance to spend on this historic stadiums. That’s what I am doing: enjoy every moment, and try to give me chances to keep playing in these places, with chances couple more years.
Q. If you had the chance to talk to yourself 20 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
RAFAEL NADAL: I think I was lucky enough to have the right people around me. I believe all the advices I received from my family, my father, my mother, my uncle, the team, I really believe I had the right people around me. I don’t think I needed myself 20 years ago.
Source: Australian Open