madridopen2018 presser-photos

Madrid: Pre-Tournament Presser Transcript w/photos




May 7, 2018
Rafael Nadal
Madrid, Spain

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.

Q. Today it's a little bit cloudy here in Madrid. You're here at home. How do you feel? The other day you already said here people support you and help you to win. Do you play better because of the altitude or do you think the people can support you and help you a little bit here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I have to give my 100%. Whenever we play here, it's one of the clay tournaments where it's a little bit more different to the others. That is something obvious. We've spoken about this many times.

But, well, it's true that in my case, for example, I always like to play when it's sunny outside, when it's warm, than what we have today. Today perhaps, a day like today when it's cloudy, it's true that it's going to be a little bit harder. The ball, you can control it a little bit better these days when it's cloudy. Especially in the outer courts, you have the feeling that the court is bigger. I have been training on the outer courts. The feeling is that the ball flies faster than other courts. I have a feeling these courts are faster.

Q. You have been several days working here on the courts. What are your feelings about the courts, and also about your next opponent, what do you think?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think that the feelings are getting better. They are improving. It's always the same thing here. I think that I go through a process of adaptation. I have played a couple of tournaments before where I have played really well. In Barcelona I played very well in totally different conditions. Here it's completely different. In Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, you have the feeling that you are in control of the situation. Here, it's different. Here, it's difficult to have the same feelings as in Barcelona and Monte-Carlo, especially the first days. It takes you time to adapt to how the ball bounces and flies. It's not under control like the other two tournaments. Everything is a little bit more difficult.

Day by day I keep improving. I have better feelings. I'm happy to be back here. It's always special to play at home. Here, as I have said many times, the relationship that I have with the people, it's very difficult to describe. It's a very, very special moment, a very special occasion for me to be able to play here.

Q. Last week we were speaking about a contract that Madrid here has until 2021. What do you think it will mean for Spanish tennis to lose a tournament like this one if the venue changes?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yes, at the end I think the town hall will have to make that decision. It's not ours to make. It will be the town hall who will decide if they want to continue to bet for a tournament of this size or if they prefer to invest in something else, or if they don't prefer to bet on a sport like this.

Of course, if you ask me, what am I going to tell you? At the end I think we have a great tournament here in Spain, one of the highest levels, a really high-level tournament. At the end it's true that it's also one of the sports that there are a lot of people watching us. It's very difficult to be able to achieve a tournament like this one here because there are a limited number of them. This is the only thing that I can say.

Then talking about promotion, does it promote Madrid, does it promote Spain? Well, these things are extra, and they come with the tournaments. It's a fact that you get a lot of promotion. I guess that the people involved in all of these decisions and this analysis will study all the data, all of the stats, they will see what this brings to our country and to this city.

But from my point of view, I think what I know is how difficult it is to get to where we are, to get to have such a good tournament. This is very difficult to achieve. There are many places in the world that they wanted to put a lot of money, they wanted to pay to have a tournament like this. They haven't been able to do it. There are only nine of these kind of tournaments. It's very difficult to have this. Madrid managed to achieve this.

Well, to lose it? Perhaps it will be to lose it, we don't know for how long, maybe for a very long time. You don't know when you're going to be able to achieve this again. It's something you have to bear in mind when you're analyzing the stats and everything. It's another thing you have to analyze. If we lose the tournament, probably we won't be able to get it back again.

Q. I wanted to ask you, you have been training these days with high-level tennis players. I don't know if this helps in your process to adapt to Madrid. Do you think it's not positive because you could face them in other rounds?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I think it was not positive, I wouldn't have trained with those players. Normally with the people that I train with, it's the people that I get along with, people with whom I have a good relationship, which is nearly most of them. But sometimes with some players you have a better relationship than with others.

I trained with Thiem, which I have a great relationship with him. Then with Dimitrov, who I also have a great relationship. The other day with Guillermo, that we know each other for a lot of years. Today I have been training with my team, with Marc Lopez. You never train with the same people.

But it has never worried me if I can face those players in the next rounds. It's something natural. We just train with every single player and there is no problem at all.

Q. My question is about football. You have said many times you are a Real Madrid supporter. The other day we saw you with a T-shirt of Atletico Madrid. I wanted to know if yesterday you watched the Classico and what you think about the referees?
RAFAEL NADAL: The other day I went to the Atletico stadium. It was beautiful. They have an amazing stadium. It was my first opportunity to go to that stadium.

At the end, well, there is a problem in the society that we have today, that to be a real supporter of one team, it seems that you have to be anti another team. I just support Real Madrid. It's a team that I know.

I have a lot of friends that are from Atletico. They are playing in a competition in Europe against an English team. I just went there to support Atletico Madrid. I went there. They invited me. I just wanted to enjoy the day, to see a great football match.

They gave me one of the T-shirts. The president gifted me with a T-shirt. At night it was a little bit chilly, a little bit cold, and I just used it as a scarf. That's all.

But it's always the same stuff. There are maybe too many too much hypocrisy, or I would say you people in the media have to write too many things, so you have to explore some stupid things. That's my point of view.

Yesterday, talking about the referee, I'm not going to talk. It's not my role. I don't have to talk about football referees. The poor referee will have a lot on his back because you have been speaking about them for hours and hours. I'm not going to contribute to that show.

I think it was a great football match, nice to see. I really enjoyed the football. I think that Real Madrid, being myself, a Real Madrid supporter, Real Madrid had the opportunity to win yesterday's match, especially in the second part of the match. Well, Barca also played. It's true that Cristiano had to leave in the second part.

Well, I just enjoyed a football match that had ups and downs. It was a great match. I cannot talk about that match. They were not playing for any championship or anything.

Talking about the referees, I'll tell you something else. From my point of view, do you know what's problem is? If on Monday they will have revised all of the actions that they have done in the match and they will have to change decisions. But it will be easier for the referees.

Maybe I am very passionate about football, and I'm not criticizing football. I normally support a lot of football matches. I just follow football. But at the end of the day, the referees have a very hard job. It's very difficult to make decisions when you're under pressure. There are sometimes many players that try to trick other players. For the referee, it's very difficult for a match, right? At the end of the day, there are people that fall down, they try to play tricks. It's just a show.

Maybe if we just had another point of view, if we could review some way differently...

Q. Rafa, you have done well during the clay season. It has been a long time since we saw you that you're not the favorite when you go to any single tournament. It seems that you are the only rival yourself, that you could maybe have an injury or something. Are you surprised of being so superior compared to the other players?
RAFAEL NADAL: Being better or not being better either ends or starts this way. This is the reality of the sport. I've had a really good level of tennis in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, especially at the end of the tournament in Barcelona, and that is why things worked out good. I don't have any regrets. I just have to be happy. I have to enjoy the way that I'm playing tennis right now.

I don't think that I am superior to the other players. Maybe some tournaments have been better than others, but that doesn't guarantee that in the future I'm going to be better than my opponents.

I'm very happy for all the things that came. But right now I'm here in Madrid, in a very difficult tournament. I'll try to be ready to play at the level that I need to play to be competitive and be ready from the first day that I'm going to play either Monfils or Basilashvili. They are very tough opponents. I just need to be able to fight them. That's the reality of it.

Being favorite, I've talked about that to you and many people. Each time I'm favorite... I'm not worried about being the favorite player or not. I try to do things the best possible way, to be in shape. When I'm able to do this, well, it's all fine. The day I'm not going to be worried about my shape or about my tennis, that will be the day when I won't be successful any more.

I just have to be ready in every single moment, be patient. That's what I've done. I've always been very respectful of my opponents because each day it's completely different when you go out there and play on a tennis court. You have to bear in mind that you can either win or lose.

Q. I wanted to ask you if you know something about Nicolas Jarri, a Chilean player? Have you seen him playing? What do you think about this player?
RAFAEL NADAL: I try not to lie, I'm not going to lie to you, I know that he has won a lot of matches because I follow the circuit, I follow the tournaments. He has won high-level matches. He had a good season in Latin America. Here he's winning a lot of matches. He's a young player. He started very strongly. I think he's improving in every single aspect.

I haven't seen him play enough to be able to give you a real opinion, so I'm not going to give you my opinion because I cannot talk about things that I don't know.

Q. Today two Spanish players are playing, Feliciano Lopez and Pablo Andujar. If Pablo wins, it will be the last match of Feliciano in Madrid as he is going to become the tournament director next year.
RAFAEL NADAL: Has he announced he's going to retire?

Q. Next year he's going to be director, so he cannot play.
RAFAEL NADAL: Is it confirmed Feliciano Lopez is going to be director?

Q. Yes, it's been confirmed.
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, I didn't know about this, so I haven't spoken with him.

Q. Do you think is his last time in this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't think it's the last time Feli might play in this tournament. I think he's had great results here in Madrid in the past, especially on the court that we had before, which was covered, which maybe could adapt more to his game. I think he had really good matches against complicated players.

Then here on clay, I think that he nearly beat Federer. Feli is a very tough player, a very dangerous one. We'll see what happens today. At the end, as I've said, all of the matches are complicated. Feli could have a hard match against Andujar. We have to remember that Andujar comes from winning in tournament in Morocco. We'll see how this match goes for them. Feli has had a great career. For him in Madrid, it's always a special occasion. He will play very motivated, for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Can you compare the courts Manolo Santana and Rafael Nadal? Which suits for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I'm not going to tell you which court is better. They are totally different courts. I think that if we speak clearly, I think that for what Manolo Santana has been in the sport for us, for what he has represented -- in English, sorry.

What Manolo represents for our sport, he deserve a tennis court with his name in a big stage like this tournament is. Probably being honest, after what I did in my tennis career, probably is fair that I have a tennis court at my name in another great event.

I don't want comparations [sic]. I am always very happy to play in both events, in both courts. I really don't play with more motivation or more passion if the name of the court is my name or is the name is Manolo Santana. For me is the same. I play in front of my home crowd in two beautiful stadiums, having the crowd supporting, playing in my country. Is always special that situations, and I enjoy this.

Q. As you said, you could play Monfils for your first match. It was a tricky draw. He's been struggling a lot lately with his body and game. Do you still feel he has it in him to be a tough opponent for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Gael is a tough opponent for everybody. He's a player with a lot of talent, with a lot of potential. He's a tough opponent, of course.

Let's see what's going on in the first round between him and Basilashvili. Both will be a tough one. Gael always is a challenge.

Q. Obviously it's the 10th year in Caja Magica, a different tournament compared to all the other clay court tournaments. How do you feel this tournament has evolved in terms of the atmosphere over the past 10 years?
RAFAEL NADAL: The atmosphere has been always fantastic. The crowd was always great. Every year that I played here I play with the full court with the crowd supporting. The crowd here is special. Probably leave the sport with a lot of passion.

The tournament, of course, improved during 10 years in some different ways. Is great to have an event like this here at home. We had a great event in indoor, too, before. Is true. But the same time is true that this event is even bigger than what used to be in indoor.

The tournament is a great event and hopefully will stay here for a long time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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