THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You had three very tense matches and there are high hopes for tomorrow’s semifinal. How’s your body status, the abdominal?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. I think I’m fine. No, of course I played two matches close to three hours, but in some ways that helps, because if I’m able to hold these kind of matches, that’s what I needed because my preparation was not the ideal one for here.
So being able to spend hours on court helped me to play better and better. As many more minutes I spend on court, I feel myself playing better.
Q. This is a unique situation in that the match tonight decides whether or not you go to the semifinals. How do you handle these situations that are not in your control? Are you watching the match intensely, or are you just trying to relax as best you can?
RAFAEL NADAL: I’m not sure if I going to watch the match or not. I don’t know. I going to — the only thing that is sure is I have to be ready for anything, so I think I did my work and I did it well.
Happy for the victory. Then now I have to wait. So I’m not sure if I go for dinner with the family, because will be around 8:00 is the moment is to go for dinner, especially because I have to do the things like if I am playing tomorrow at 2:00. So then if I don’t play, fine, but I have to be ready for it just in case.
Q. A question from Bulgaria. First, congratulations to the big win. It was a really difficult match. And congratulations for this big trophy.
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you.
Q. What is the feeling when you win a trophy in the middle of a tournament? Is there a complete satisfaction of a winning of a trophy or you cannot feel it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I feel it 100%. It’s easy to separate things, no?
I think this trophy is the work of the whole year, a great year in all terms. Yeah, have this trophy with me is a big personal satisfaction, no?
I think we did a lot of things well during the whole year. Of course the team and the family played a very important role this year, even more than other times because have been some tough moments at the beginning of the season in terms of physical issues that demoralize me a little bit. So they played a very important role, so I can’t thank all of them enough for all the support.
Yeah, super happy for everything, honestly. Have this trophy with me with this big gap between the first time until today, 11 years, is a big thing. I don’t know if somebody did it or not, but is something difficult, because 11 years since the first time until the fifth is a big number.
Q. If it is Roger that you’re playing tomorrow, if you end up qualifying, can you just talk about your rivalry a little bit with Roger? What’s the challenge like playing him on an indoor court where he seems to excel?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, all the challenge is possible, because is one of the surfaces that he feels comfortable. He plays so well. He plays so fast. So I need to play a perfect match tomorrow if I want to have any chance to be in that final.
I think I am playing better, but is true that Roger yesterday played unbelievable. So he will come to that match with plenty of confidence.
So let’s see. I hope to be ready to compete at the highest level possible if that’s the case.
Q. Can I just ask you about the other possible scenario, if it’s now out of your hands and you are to go out tonight, would winning this trophy be some sort of consolation for this week? Can you sum up your year from where you were back in the springtime?
RAFAEL NADAL: Honestly, if I am not in that semifinals, is not like when you lose the tournament, a normal tournament, because at some point is a different feeling, you know. I know how I arrived here. I know the preparation have been very short for me and not the ideal one after the injury in Bercy.
So for me was important to give me a chance to compete better than what I did the first day. The first day have been a tough day. I think in general terms I was ready to play a little bit better but indoor, and it’s true that I only played one normal set before the tournament start, the day before, no?
So preparation have been very short, and is the worst tournament possible to arrive without the best preparation possible, because in other tournaments sometimes you can be a little bit more lucky with the draw. You can win two matches, and then you have a tough one but you will be more ready, more prepared for it, no?
But here, the first day you play one of the best players of the world in a tough surface, so if you don’t arrive with plenty of confidence on your body and your movements and everything, things become much more difficult, no? And I think that’s what happened. Then I think I have been improving on my tennis every day.
Look, if I’m not in that semifinals, I go to Madrid with positive confidence that I am playing better and better. For me was important, more than being in that semifinals or not, of course I would love to be, is to go from here with the feeling that I did all the things possible to be there and to finalize the ATP year with a positive feeling, no? And that’s what I did, because I think I played a good match today.
Q. First of all, congratulations.
RAFAEL NADAL: Thank you.
Q. Well, five years No. 1 in the world. You, like Roger, like Novak, in 16 years you won 15 years always you three. That makes something more special for you to be together with them or doesn’t make much difference? And when did you expect this year that you could make it?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I said during the whole time I will not — No. 1 was not the main goal for me. I will not follow the No. 1. I’m going to do my normal calendar, because you have to make decisions to try to play as long as possible or to try to fight for No. 1.
My decision or our decision is to try to do the things to play as long as possible, so that’s why I tried to do the conservative calendar in terms of save the body and everything.
But the thing is when I have been playing, I have been playing very well. I achieved almost every single time the last rounds of every tournament, no?
So that’s why I’m put in a position that I am where I am today, having this trophy with me. Of course after winning the US Open, I put myself in a position that can be a chance to be there, but of course having the rivals that I have in front, anything is possible.
So that’s it. No, no, for me, of course it’s important to share five years each other with Novak and with Roger, no? I cannot complain, but at some point I feel that there is a couple of years out there that I have been in a position that I had big chances to be the year No. 1, and I got injured, a long injury, no?
So at some point for me is something that give me very personal satisfaction, because have the chance to equal both of them after missing couple of years for injuries means a lot, no?
Because I remember 2012, for example, I have been playing great, and I have been in a position that I think I was playing great since Roland Garros. After winning Roland Garros, I had to stop for eight months for my knee.
Then in 2009 something similar happened. So couple of years that I have been there and for physical issues I was not able to fight for it, no?
So have this trophy with me means a lot, and of course is a great achievement.
Q. Because we might not see you tomorrow, could you talk about the La Caja M�gica and the home of the Davis Cup next week and what it means to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I cannot tell you because I never played a tournament like this. But of course is something special, something new, and when it’s something new, you need to be ready for something unexpected.
So let’s see. Let’s see how the things works. I am sure that they did great and going to be something really special. And playing at home even more.
So excited about it. I really hope that the team is working the right way during these previous days of the tournament, so I really expect to find a team very well prepared when I arrive there.
Q. I know that No. 1 at the start of the season wasn’t a target for you at the end of the year, but now that you have it, now that you’re sitting next to that trophy, does this mean as much to you as winning a Grand Slam?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is different to — I know is something big, and I know is something so important because it’s something that you did it because to achieve this you have to play well 11 months. To win a Grand Slam you have to play well two weeks.
But it’s difficult to compare. For me personally, when you win a Grand Slam, you win a Grand Slam winning the last point, and that feeling you can’t have it here, you know. You know, that’s the big difference, you know.
So I don’t want to compare because will be not fair. Both things are great. Winning, for example, the US Open this year have been super emotional, especially the way that this have been.
Having this with me is something unexpected and very emotional for me, because I think after all the things that I went through, means a lot to have this with me, no? Difficult to compare. Both things important. I don’t want to say one (smiling).
Q. You came to the net many times today. Also, in the US Open finals, served and volleyed quite a bit. Do you feel you’re coming forward to the net more than any time in your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, is true. I am serving better. So when I am serving better, I am able to go more times to the net, no? That’s what I am doing.
You need to be confident. You need to be quick out there, but if you go more often, then you are quicker because you see better the things. And I think I am doing quite well.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports