Q. I noticed when you come into the stadium, you waved to your fans. There were many Chinese fans with Spanish flags. How do you feed off the atmosphere in the stadium? RAFAEL NADAL: Great. It's always special to play in this part of the world. The fans are great, very enthusiastic. You feel the passion, no? It's great. Just can say thanks to all the fans.
Always have been a huge support from them here in China. I really enjoy a lot, no? Is great to be far from your home and see a lot of Spanish flags out there.
Q. Towards the beginning of the match, you had several double-faults. What was going on with your serve? RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. You have the statistics. I don't know how many I had. I think I had maybe two or something like this. Was a good day. I think I played a great match.
Q. You also wiped something on the ground with a towel. RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Was my own sweating. There was some. Was a little bit slippery.
Q. You were in great form today. How are you feeling after your doubles match yesterday? Do you think it helped you warm up, get into the swing of things? RAFAEL NADAL: I think we played a good doubles match yesterday. I was practicing good during the last couple of days. Is obvious having a doubles match before the singles starts is a positive thing. That's why I asked to play before.
Yes, is a good start for me. Today I think I played a very solid match, playing very aggressive with my forehand. I only played one not very good game. That was in 3-1 of the first set. But for the rest I played a very good match. I very happy.
Q. You seem to be playing much closer to the baseline in practice and during this match. Is it because of the conditions here or do you think it will be the trend for next season, that you're taking the ball earlier? RAFAEL NADAL: No. I am trying to play like this during the whole season, no? Is not something new from here. Since last year here -- no, I am wrong. Since last year in Montreal I am trying to play closer to the baseline and trying to return closer to the baseline, trying to play a little bit more aggressive.
I think I did well this year. When you get injury for two months and a half at the half season, in the middle of the season, is tough, is difficult. But even like this, I came back well. I came back well playing in Olympics and US Open, too. I lost a match that I could win, had big chances to win, but against a good player.
No, I happy. Considering how difficult is to get injury in the middle of the season, I am happy the way I am playing.
Remain a little bit to finish the season. Today is an important victory. There are points to try to qualify for the World Tour Finals. That's a good victory.
Q. In the last press conference you said making tennis quicker is not the way to make it more interesting. You said there are other solutions to get people more involved. What kind of solutions are you thinking of? RAFAEL NADAL: I don't want to talk any more about that. I am just a tennis player, no? I do what the guys who run the sport thinks is better for the game.
I just said you need to have changes on the rules to have the match more interesting, as all the sports does. All the sports improves, adapts to the new times.
But you cannot pretend to have sets to four. I think is something good for the young kids, but not for the professionals. The matches, you start one break against, 3-0, you are over for one set. I think is not fair enough. Is not enough time to compete.
Q. The verdict on Maria Sharapova's ban appeal is due later today. Do you think it's positive if she's allowed back? Do you think it will be positive for tennis if she's allowed back on tour after a year? RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have all the information, no? Is not good that the people decides on that or have an opinion on that. It's good that the people has to decide on that decides the right way and do his job. It's a decision for the people who really knows about it. They going to make the right decision. So that's all.
I cannot pretend to have an opinion. You know, an opinion of this kind of case, you need to know all the information that probably you don't know, I don't know. Is not good to create an opinion or write things that maybe are not hundred percent right. Can be painful for some people. I am not agree with that. I am not happy with that, no?
There is somebody, and there is a legal instruments that they have to take the decision. They going to do it well because that's they job.
Q. Compared to the first set, the match was tougher in the second set. How do you feel about your performance today? RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, was a tough one. I think I played a fantastic first set. Great level of tennis, serving very good, hitting so good.
During the second, I think I slow down a little bit the rhythm, and he really played well, no? He really played with not mistakes, returning so well. It was tough, no?
I had the break advantage at the beginning of the second, but I was suffering a lot with my serve the first three games of the second set. Finally he have the break back. I think he serve it.
After that I had a couple more chances to have again the break and probably have a good chance to close the match, but didn't happen.
Then in the tiebreaker, was a tough one. Always the tiebreak, anything can happen. I feel very happy that I won that tiebreak, no? Is always very important for the confidence win these kind of moments, tough moments, pass through these moments.
So just very happy with that. I think I played with the right determination in the tiebreak.
Q. Can you talk about your forehand in this match. RAFAEL NADAL: I think I played a lot of very good forehands in the first set and at the end of the second set, too. In some moments of the second, is not a problem of the forehand. I think I choose not the best moment to try to hit my forehand. I had some mistakes with the forehand in two breakpoints, I think. But I was wrong. I had a mistake because was not a ball to try to hit the winner. I should waited for a little bit more.
In general, I am playing well with the forehand. That is a key shot for me, no, if I want to have chances to compete for the most important things if our sport, I need to recover my forehand 100%. That's the shot that makes the difference. That's what I am focus on. I am trying to hit more forehands again. Is true that last four months I really could not because with the problem on my wrist, I was trying to cover my forehand, hitting more backhands.
Even if I improved my backhand, my forehand is my shot. I need to play with my forehand if I want to have better chances of success.
Q. Do you think the doubles match can help you to feel confident in the singles match? RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, for sure. For sure the doubles helps with the volley. But not today. Today my volley was very bad. I went to the net a couple times. Even if I won a few points, was not because I had good volleys, was because the opponent missed the shot. My volley today was absolutely very bad, so...
Q. Next round your opponent is Dimitrov. How do you prepare for that? RAFAEL NADAL: He is a great player. He is a player that is playing well. He is one of the players with high potential on the tour.
I prepare the match the same like every day. I know I have to play my best tennis to win against a player like him. I am focus on try to do that.
Q. You had such a wonderful day yesterday. How was the trip to the Great Wall? RAFAEL NADAL: No, it was good. I had to visit the Great Wall for the first time in my life. I've been here, yeah, lot of times already. I had never the chance to visit it. I really enjoy it.
Q. How do you feel coming into this tournament practice-wise, the wrist? Everything completely okay? RAFAEL NADAL: Good, no? For me is always special be back here. Is one of the most important places in my career. I won the gold medal in this place eight years ago. Goes quick.
Yes, I am excited to be back here. I need to keep practicing well this afternoon, tomorrow, try to be ready for the match on Tuesday. That's all.
Q. You had some issues in Davis Cup. Was it linked to the wrist? RAFAEL NADAL: No, it's okay. It's okay. Thank you.
Q. You have so many amazing comebacks after serious injuries like in 2010 and 2013. You impress all the people that you can rebuild yourself to win big tournaments. This time do you have confidence to create new inspiring stories for us again? RAFAEL NADAL: Is always difficult, no? Is even more difficult when you have injuries in the middle of the season. If you have the injuries at the end of the season, everybody stops at the end of the season, so you have time to recover. A new year, everybody starts not from zero, but starts again. It's a little bit easier to come back well.
Having injuries at the middle of the season is tougher. But being realistic, I should be happy the way I came back after the injury. I played a great Olympic Games, and I played a good US Open. I lost a match against a very good player, but a match that I had a big chance to win.
No, I should be happy. It's obvious that I need to continue work with the things that I need to keep improving, to try to be back at the level I was before the injury this year. I was playing great, I think. I going to try to make it.
Q. You are still in the race for the ATP Final to London. Is that a motivation? RAFAEL NADAL: For me to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals?
Q. Yes. RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, is always important thing. Remain four tournaments for trying to qualify. I going to try, yes.
Q. There's more and more talk about speeding up the game, changing the scoring to make the game faster. What is your opinion about this? Playing sets to four games, no-ad scoring. Does tennis need to change to make matches faster? RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I think depends. Depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for just hitting balls and don't think much, yes. I mean, if you're looking for work little bit more on the longer points, the things that really makes the people involved on a tennis match, probably is a mistake.
But I am just a player. I am just a player that going to do the things that the rules says. That's all.
I don't remember no one match in my life, not of me, or tennis in general, that the match finished in one hour. I think is not in the memory of the people, these kind of matches. The kind of matches that stays on the memory and on the history of our sport are a little bit long matches and dramatic matches that become emotional, the physical issues, everything. You need to put everything together to create a great show, to create a show that the people emotionally feels involved on the match.
I don't know. I don't remember a match that the people remember with just serves and winners and mistakes and short points. I am not sure if the people are looking for that.
Q. The WTA said last week that to get the attention of the next generation, like the young generation involved in tennis, that's the argument. What is your opinion about that? RAFAEL NADAL: I repeat what I said. I am just a player. I just have my opinion. Maybe I am wrong. I don't think so, but maybe I am wrong.
If you want to change the values of the sport, maybe yes. But the tennis has values that we need to follow, in my opinion. It's clear that all the sports needs an improvements. All the sports needs to improve and adapt to the new things.
But I am not sure if that's the way, to make the matches quicker, make the timing between points quick, with matches at four games. I think there is a point with other solutions to make the people involved.
Is not about the scoring, in my opinion. It's about to change things that makes the game more interesting, not about having shorter points.
I repeat what I said. Do you remember a match with just 50 aces? Do you think that create emotions on people? I don't think so. So what we really need is to have a show that the people, when is watching our sport, really gets emotional and really enjoy the game.
If we try to move the sport on that way, every time going to be only more and more shots and nothing else. At the end of the day, the sport, in my opinion, is another thing.
Q. I'm from the Dutch press. Next year you're coming to Rotterdam. The last couple years you decided to play in South America on clay. Can you explain your choice to come back to Rotterdam. RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I enjoyed a lot in South America. Is a place that I feel close to the people. I feel a lot of support from them. So it's very excited for me to play in South America.
The real thing is the weather conditions, in my opinion, are a little bit too much to practice the sport. Last couple years I really don't enjoy it. I enjoyed the crowd. I enjoyed the place. But the weather conditions are too extreme, no?
I want to enjoy playing tennis, and I didn't enjoy last two years because I was practicing, and after 10 minutes I was sweating too much. I feel the weather conditions are too extreme to practice the sport. I don't think that's health for the body, in general.
That will be something that, in my opinion, ATP look for to find another spot in the calendar for these kind of tournaments. In that period of the year, the weather conditions are too much.
Rotterdam is a tournament I know very well. I have been there a couple of times. Is in Europe. Is a great event. Is a historic event of our tour. I am excited to be back there. Always had a great relationship with Richard Krajicek. I had a great tournament in 2009, I think. I played a great tournament there. My knees are better. So I am able to play more on hard.
Q. This morning I saw you with practice with Pouille. People wanted to see your meeting after the US Open. My question is, how do you prepare for your potential meeting with Pouille? How do you look at your draw for this tournament? RAFAEL NADAL: That quarterfinals. Is always the same: you don't play quarterfinals before the first round. Not for him, not for me. So remain a lot.
I need to play well from the first day because if not I don't going to win against Lorenzi.
Q. We saw some pictures yesterday showing you and a China swimmer Ning playing a billiard game. How do you enjoy it? RAFAEL NADAL: I enjoy because I won (smiling). No, I am joking.
Just was great to meet him. He's a big star. Just thanks to him to visit our tournament. Is great to have important people around our sport. So just was a great news for the tournament by itself and for me personal was an honor.