A transcript of the presser Rafael Nadal gave after his win over Benoit Paire in Toronto, 6-2, 6-3.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Last couple years you’ve come into this tournament after an early loss at Wimbledon but this year you had your best run there in a long time. Is that giving you more confidence coming into the hard court season?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the thing is there is two things to see it, no? If you lose a little bit early in Wimbledon, so you take the days off before and you have more time to practice for the hard court season. And if you play a good Wimbledon, then you have less time to prepare the hard court season.
Anyway, you need some period off after, you know, probably the toughest period of the year for me, mentally and physically.
But, yes, of course it’s better to play a good Wimbledon than a bad Wimbledon. It doesn’t matter you have little bit less preparation, no?
But I feel that of course I was not at my 100% today. But at the same time it’s true that it’s impossible, no? After a while, you need matches. It’s true that I did good work here the last five days, but at the same time it’s true that I didn’t work very hard at home. I just did the basics to come back to the competition.
So first match is important. It’s important victory for me, for my confidence. It’s important that I have another match tomorrow too. So just try to keep going.
And, you know, I think I played a solid match. It’s true that with myself in the second set I had some troubles, but my return worked well. And it was not about the serve. It was more about the mistakes from the baseline in my opinion.
Q. You’ve talked before about in previous years about transitioning to hard courts and how you need to come into the court quickly and take over the points, control points. Is it becoming easier now that you’ve had this many years on tour to make the transition? And also can you talk about some of the tricks you use on hard courts versus the other surfaces at Wimbledon? You talked about how drop shots are quite effective on the grass court.
RAFAEL NADAL: Drop shots are effective in all the surfaces if you did it in the right moment, if you do it in the right moment.
In general terms, what is important is don’t be very — (asks the english translation of a word).
RAFAEL NADAL: Exactly. She needs to keep improving the English like me. (Laughter.)
Yeah, it’s important to be a little bit unpredictable, especially on grass and on all the surfaces, no? But on clay, if you are predictable but you do the right shot, you know, is still tough for the opponent to take advantage, no?
Here it’s important to be on the rhythm. It’s important to play matches. It’s not about tricks. It’s about to play well. These tournaments are so hard. Since the beginning you play against the top 50 players. So it’s a big test from the real first round, no?
So that’s all. You need to be ready. And today I found a way to be through, and let’s try again tomorrow.
Q. You just mentioned that you felt you weren’t 100% today and in your postgame interview you said in the beginning of tournaments are always difficult. Was that you not feeling 100% today, was that because it was the beginning of a tournament and what do you think you need to do for your next match to improve?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, sorry. You know, as I said before, my English is probably not perfect. And when I say I don’t feel myself 100%, I say that I didn’t play fantastic match, but I didn’t play a bad match, no? I played a solid match. Normal to be the first round, being honest.
And especially, you know, it’s not the same play the first round after playing tournaments in a row. For example, for me, it’s not the same play in Rome after playing Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, and that first match in Monte Carlo and Davis Cup when I played the first match this year, no?
And here, you know, I don’t play a singles match on hard court since Australia. So is a long time. And that’s it. You need time.
And the victories of course helps and good to work on the practice for sure, no? But even if you have a good work on the practice, you need matches to get that percentage that you need.
Q. You once said before that playing a doubles match before your singles match is fantastic practice for you.
RAFAEL NADAL: What?
Q. That when you played doubles as well as singles —
RAFAEL NADAL: In the past.
Q. Yes, in the past. When you played a doubles match, it was great practice for you to set you up for your singles. What helps you decide if you’re going to play doubles since you’re not playing doubles here in Toronto and you have in the past?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, the age. (Laughing.) That’s all.
No, is all about the safe a little bit the body. I know I would love to play some doubles before the singles, especially in that situation that I was not able to play matches in the while.
But that’s thinking probably about this tournament. And at this stage of my career, I cannot only think in one event. I just to be confident with myself that I going to be able to be competitive.
It’s true that the last couple of years I felt myself competitive if I practiced well even without playing matches before. And I have the confidence that I can keep doing this, no?
And so at some point I need to save some energy for this last part of the season. So it’s here, Cincinnati, and then New York, and then keep going hopefully, no?
So I need to be focused on what I have to do.
Q. We’re still not sure who your opponent is going to be tomorrow night but it could be Stan Wawrinka. If it is Stan, usually you guys play each other really late in tournaments. What would it be like to play him early in a tournament like this?
RAFAEL NADAL: That’s part of our sport, no?
Having one year ranking when you have an injury and then you go back on the rankings, so that’s normal, no? And that’s why this kind of meeting is always a very tough opponent. And it’s a match that we played, you know, two times in a Grand Slam final.
So, yeah, it’s going to be an important and tough match hopefully for both of us.