madridopen2017 presser-photos

Pre-Tournament Presser photos-video-transcript




May 8, 2017

Rafael Nadal

Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English and Spanish, please.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) You've done very great things on the clay court. You don't have any pressure after winning so many tournaments. Are you healthy now? Can you let us know how you feel?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Right now I feel fine. I'm very happy because of the start of the year, not only because of the start of the clay season. I think in general it's been some very good months.

Of course, since the beginning of the clay season, I needed to win a title after playing a few finals. I'm very happy for having achieved that.

Right now we're here in another event. We'll leave the past behind us. I'm happy for all I achieved. It is something that is behind my back. It's something that is very hard to achieve.

I think what I have achieved in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona is something great. It's very difficult to do.

We're here to play another tournament, a very different tournament. It's very important for all of us, especially for me, because it's very special for me to play at home once again.

Q. (In English) Sorry to hear about your ear infection. Is it painful? Is it affecting you in practice?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) Yeah, it's pain. Happened on Friday night. I wake up 3 in the morning with pain on the ear.

No, I am still practicing. But today little bit better than yesterday. But still bothering me. Is something new for me. I never had. Is something that it really bothers a lot because is pain all around and on the head. Sometimes you get dizzy little bit with that.

But it's fine. I visit the doctor two days ago. Is nothing important. Just takes little bit long, few days. Hopefully going to be good.

I supposed to play Tuesday. That was the idea, I think. That was my goal. But with that probably going to be much better play Wednesday.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) I wanted to know how do you feel about your ear and how are you feeling in your training towards playing Fognini?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, the feelings, I think more or less it's okay. I think that I'm in a good place. I've been training and competing well for a couple of months, which is always important. You always are confident when you are in a good place with the next event.

About my ear, I woke up Friday at 3 in the morning with a little bit of pain. That's all. I visited a doctor the next day. I think I have an otitis. It's nothing important. This is the first time this happened in my life.

It's a little bit painful. You are all day perhaps a little bit with headaches. Sometimes you feel a little bit dizzy.

But I've been training well. Today I feel a bit better than yesterday. It's still a bit painful, but I'm feeling better than yesterday. I trained two and a half hours normally, training well. I think that it's not going to be a major issue.

But it's true that the tournament, and also the intention of mine, was to play on Tuesday. With this, I think it's better to start a day later, to start on Wednesday.

Q. (In English) Curious on your thoughts about Novak splitting with his whole team after such a long time.
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) No opinion. What he thinks is better for him, well done. That's it. I think everybody's free to do what feels is better for them in every moment.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) I wanted to ask you, are you surprised by the results that Djokovic is having at the start of the year, and also Murray? Are you surprised they are not at the level that they were last year, for example?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) Well, they are some of the best players in the world. You always expect the best things from those kind of players.

As I said a couple of days ago, it's not going to be what's going to happen the rest of the season. They are two players that make a difference. They are going to be up there competing for the greatest titles. They're going to compete in the end of the year in the highest positions of the ranking.

Due to various conditions, perhaps some matches that they could have won, they haven't. These things change very quickly in sport. They are different players. They are players with a higher level than maybe nearly all of the others.

Maybe they haven't had the beginning of the year that they would have wished, that's for sure. But I have no doubts there's going to be up there fighting for all of the major titles from now on until the end of the year. We have to be ready for this.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Since the Olympics, do you feel the love of the people here more?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) I haven't noticed any difference. I always felt a special love, not only this year. I am not tired of thanking everybody, thanking all the people here in Spain. I'm very well treated all around the world. Of course, I'm not treated anywhere like I am in Spain.

But I don't see a big difference since the Olympic Games. The love has always been the same. The support has always been the same. It's been unconditional.

As I always said, to play in front of them, for me especially, it gives me a unique feeling. It's difficult to describe. It's a feeling that's difficult to describe. It's difficult to describe how you feel when you play in front of your people, in front of your crowd, and front of people that really have been helping you in the past to win matches.

So for me it's just another opportunity to play here, one year more. I'm very happy about it. I'm looking forward to it. I know the draw is not a dream one, but I also know that I've been doing things very well since the beginning of the year. Also the fact that I play at home, it's always a plus.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) Talking about your game, recently I've seen you make some really good volleys. Can you talk a volley that you made? Have you been playing squash?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) I've been playing quite a lot recently.

You know, it's always the same. I think since a couple of years ago till now, I'm playing volleys much better. The fact when you feel you're playing good, it makes it easy that you just walk up to the net. When those things happen, well, I think that my statistics, the percentage at the net, and I win the match, are very favorable, are quite high.

But to go up to the net, you have to feel confident. You have to be striking the ball well from the baseline. I'm not a player that goes to the net for the adventure. I'm a player that goes up to the net to close points.

When I'm doing that a lot of times, it means I'm doing things well from the back of the court. It means I have the confidence to go up to the net.

Q. (Translated from Spanish) We're seeing that you have better second serves with more speed. Perhaps you are trying to go above 150 kilometers for your second serve. Is that something that you're working with Toni on?
RAFAEL NADAL: (Translated from Spanish) That was something we had in mind, maybe have a little bit more speed on the second serve. But we don't have to be crazy about it or start to analyze things that perhaps now I'm doing better.

Basically what I'm doing better or what I've been doing better for the last couple of months is that I've been playing way better than what I did in 2015. Last year I had an injury, but I was playing well, too.

My game now is not so good. My game before was not so bad. You don't have to lie to yourself. There are just things you try to develop, try to have evolution with. You just need goals. You have to just train with joy. You just want to be able to do things better.

You don't have to go out there to train in a monotonous way, that doesn't make any sense. You just need motivation. The motivations are achieved by goals. You just need goals.

But, yes, I'm trying to hit my second serves a little bit harder. Apparently it's working. It's a little bit easier to try things when the results are there. Maybe you can make decisions to change things in your game, with the speed, second serve, whatever it is.

But for the moment, things are working out. I think I am serving quite well during the whole year. The second serve, it's true it has been one of the things that is a key point.

The statistics of the points won with the second serve, I'm up there. I'm one of the best players that wins points with the second serve. I think that's a very important statistic on the tour.

All the years that I've been playing, I think I've always been one of the best players in the statistics of points won with the second serve, without having the second serve that I have right now.

I think that time will let us know. I think that the second serve right now, it's working quite well. But what can happen tomorrow, I really don't know.

Q. (In English) I understand you not wanting to talk about Novak's change of coaching team. Could you say a bit about how changing your team has had an effect on you and your performance this year?
RAFAEL NADAL: (In English) The thing is, I never change my team, so is difficult to analyze how affects a change on the team for me because I always had the same team.

Is true this year we had Carlos on the team. That's something have been very important for me. But at the same time it's true that Carlos is a person that is well-known for me and for everybody in the team, no? Was not a big change. Just was an incorporation, something to add in my team. For me was something positive. Everybody is so happy with him. Personally, myself, the first one.

He's being a very good help, no? But I cannot analyze how can affect that in Novak's results or in Novak's moment. I think if he believes that he needs that, for sure is the right decision. That's it.

At the end of the day, I cannot talk about things that I really don't know, no? If you want to speak about that, ask Novak that. Probably he will be here couple of days.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Photos: Cordon Press; Gtres; AS; Mutua Madrid Open; Action Plus; NurPhoto

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