The last presser, nothing sensational, some random stuff about the T-shirts though.
Rafael Nadal 22.01.12
Q. How good is it for you physically that you've had straight‑sets matches so far?
RAFAEL NADAL: I want to say the same than the other day, no? Physically it's important. More important thing is play well, no? If you win in four sets and your feeling is fantastic, you know, works very well.
So it's positive winning three sets. Yes. The most positive thing is the feeling is positive during all the tournament and happy about how I am playing and enjoying the tournament. I'm in quarterfinals. That's very good news.
Q. Do you feel like you're improving, getting better with every match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. I think I started the tournament playing really well this time. Sometimes in a few tournaments I feel that I am improving day by day. But this time I felt that the first day I played well, and second, two days ago I played well. And today I played another complete match in my opinion, serious match.
But now I arrive to quarterfinals. Is the moment to keep playing well and to try to go a little bit more. That's all. In general, I am doing the right things. I am in the right place, right moment.
So now remain to keep playing well and to try, if it's possible, to improve a little bit. But I am happy.
Q. How did you feel about your serve in this tournament? In the US Open you said you need more free points with your serve. How did you feel it in this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played a few matches against a player, against a few kind of players that I really needed to serve a little bit slower for the start of the game.
Today, especially on the deuce, I tried to serve with a lot of spin against the backhand of Feliciano, because if I serve faster against his forehand or fast against his backhand, for him sometimes it's easier to block the return. The ball come back a little bit faster, and I don't have no one interest to play against him this way, because normally he return the serve with a slice if I have a good kick, and for him it's much more difficult to return a slice from here than from here.
So that's why I tried to serve a little bit lower, and higher to try to get the position under control with my forehand on the second shot, no? The goal against him always is, you know, his best way to try to beat me is play aggressive sometimes, no?
If he goes to the net, he has the chance to go to the net with his slice backhand, with his forehand, and I try to make that not happen, to make sure that that will not happen, no? And put in first serves inside and with spin I have always the first shot with my forehand, and I have the chance to control the point from there.
So I take out his chance there. That's why. But the serve is working well. Good percentage. Few free points in important moments. That's all.
Q. I wonder if you had watched any of Tomic in this championship, and just get your assessment of how he plays the game.
RAFAEL NADAL: He understand the game. His position on court is fantastic. He's young, and probably he's doing great mentally, my opinion. He stays very relaxed with, in my opinion, positive face, even when the match is tough for him, in tough moments of the match, I saw him always with calm and accepting everything really well.
That's the right tactic to be a champion. Probably he's one of these players that have a very good chance to be there. For sure after, in terms of the game, he need to improve things. Sure, he's young. How old is him? 19? 20? Need to keep improving things, in my opinion. But with 19 years old he is No. 30 of the world winning three very tough matches here against three players with very good level.
The normal evolution is to saw him, I don't know if this year, in the top 10, but probably this year, next year.
Q. What are your thoughts on Lleyton Hewitt making this run at this stage in this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I admire him a lot. I think he deserve all the respect of the people who love this sport and respect and admiration of everyone, because after having, I don't know how many, five surgeries, six surgeries, something like this, keep having the, you know, the motivation to run, to fight every ball. Even if the body don't have the perfect answer, is something fantastic.
I was yesterday at the hotel watching the match, last set, and even if I have a good relationship with Raonic, his coach is from Spain so I am close to him, you know, I really get emotional when he finished. He goes to the floor. He was really showing out his emotions, so is something fantastic at this moment of his career after having fantastic career, you know, keep having this motivation and this illusion to win a third‑round match. That's unbelievable.
So I wish him all the best for the rest of the season. I hope his problems will be fine. He's one of the more charismatic players on tour. I always liked him, his spirit of competition.
Today he is an example to follow for a lot people.
Q. Were you involved in the design of the T‑shirt?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am not Sharapova. (Laughter.) Maria is doing. I am just say, on these things, I like; I don't like. I say it's okay.
But what's happen a lot of times? Because I have to say that one year and a half ago, and I don't remember. We arrived here, I saw the T‑shirt, and I didn't remember that I approved that. But anyway, I like it. If not, I don't gonna to wear.
Q. You mentioned Milos' coach is Spanish. Have you spoken to him during the tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I spoke more with the coach and with Milos, too. But he's doing great. In my opinion, he stayed a little bit more nervous than what he must do in the few moments, like in the previous match against Petzschner. Probably yesterday he was a little bit too anxious.
But seriously, with this serve, forehand, and not bad movement, if you are just a little bit smart and try to keep improving your game, you have to be in the top positions of the ranking.
And he is young. He has everything to be there. Only problem is the injuries, in my opinion, because for the rest he has everything to be there.
I don't have any doubt that he will be fighting for important tournaments very soon. His movements are good. He need to go to the net a little bit more often. His serve is, for most of the time, impossible to return and he has a very good forehand.
So if his mental part works well, I don't have any doubt he will be there.
Q. Would it mean a lot to you to make it through the quarterfinals here this year after the last two years you dropped out of the quarterfinal stage?
RAFAEL NADAL: Hopefully not happen this time. (Smiling.)
No, every year is different. I had a bad experience last two years here. It's tough have to go out of a tournament like Australia in quarterfinals.
In 2010 I retired because I couldn't continue. Last year I decided not to retire, but I had a problem in the second or third game of the match. So I played one complete match with very bad feelings.
Q. You play against so many different kind of players. What goes on in your mind if you're playing against a player of your own country? Is it emotionally different or the same?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, it's not emotionally different, no? Just Feliciano today is one of my best friends on tour. That's the game. That's the sport. You understand that's only a game. You understand that everybody wants to win; everybody wants to finish the match with the best result.
That's it. But emotions are similar, you know. It happens very often. Nothing new.
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