Rafael Nadal spoke to John Fitzgerald on the court after his win over Cameron Norrie in the third round of the Australian Open.
Q: He pushed you pretty hard for part of that match. He fought hard and he was a great competitor, wasn’t he? It took an effort to get past that.
Rafa: Of course, all the matches are tough. He came here winning a couple of good matches. Yeah, I think I didn’t convert the opportunities that I had at the beginning of every set, so then the situation become a little bit more difficult. I had, I think, a lot of lapses with a couple of 0-30s, break points I didn’t convert it. Then, of course, you play against the best players of the world, so normal that you’re going to suffer a little bit than later. Happy now. Good feelings. Of course, I need to keep improving, but tomorrow another day to practice. So in the second week, that’s the main thing for me now.
Q: I’m not sure if you knew, but you’ve won now your last 16 matches against left-handers, so you must feel quite comfortable going against them.
Rafa: No, I didn’t know that before. Just is about adapt little bit. I don’t put a lot of attention on these things, just to change a bit, some kind of shots when you need to attack or defend. But for the rest – all the things I just tried to play my game. I think I played – I combine it, very good games with another couple of unforced errors that I need to fix it, but it’s normal. First matches in a lot of time. Now I already have three matches that I hope really will help me for what’s coming. I hope to be ready for Monday.
Q: OK. It is a bit different. It’s strange times. It doesn’t seem to affect your play, but it must affect the enjoyment a little bit.
Rafa: Of course. Feeling is completely different now. Nobody wants this, but as I repeated plenty of times, it’s not the moment to forget about the situation that we are facing, it’s a moment to be responsible and Australia like the country is one of the best examples in the world. So maximum respect for what they are doing. Hopefully the situation will improve and for the end of the tournament, crowd will be back.
Q: Let’s hope so, fingers crossed. It is what it is, I guess. You don’t normally want to know who your next opponent is, do you?
Rafa: I know. It’s Fognini. I saw.
Q: You know, OK. Alright. You’ve had a bit of a history with him.
Rafa: Yeah, we played a lot of times. He beat me a couple of times. He came here after the – an injury. He will be hungry to play well, very impressive victory today in straight sets. He will come to that match with plenty of confidence. Let’s see, I need to keep improving. Of course, you don’t expect an easy round at the round of 16, want to be a tough one. I need to be ready for it. I hope this can happen.