R. NADAL/D. Istomin 6‑2, 6‑2, 6‑0





Q.  Very straightforward win today for you.  How good did you feel out there on the court?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Good.  I feel good, no?  I think I played a really solid match.  First set I think was good level.  Second one was good at the end, but in the middle of the set I had some problems with my serve, two break points in two games in a row.

And the third set was great, my opinion.  Very happy about the way that I played the third.


Q.  Do you feel you can make any improvements in your next match that can get you through?

RAFAEL NADAL:  That’s why I am here and I go to practice every day.

You know, sure, I can improve things.  The serve is the first one.  I think I improved the level of my serve during the match, but I started the match serving bad.  Not so so.  Bad.  That’s the thing I can improve a little bit.

For the rest, more or less I have to be happy.


Q.  Compared to last year, what is your feeling about the balls that they’re using this year?  Is it slower or faster?  How did it suit your game?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Always depends on the conditions.  Today the balls are slower when the previous days when there is a lot of hot there, depends on the weather conditions, no?  But the ball was very, very quick.  I think that the ball is a little bit slower than last year but not much.  Depends on the conditions, in my opinion.


Q.  It seemed to me today that the crowd was really warming to you and encouraging you throughout, which hasn’t always been the case in Paris.  Did you feel that today?  Could you feel the crowd behind you?

RAFAEL NADAL:  You like a lot this kind of history, no?  No, no, no, I don’t tell you.  I say you (Pointing to whole room and smiling.)

The crowd was great almost every time, no?  That’s the thing.  Today the crowd wasn’t an exception.  Enjoyed the tennis and support tennis and support me, support the opponent when he hit a good shot.

That’s great.  That’s good atmosphere.  That’s good for our sport to have a full crowd like this, full court, you know, with the crowd, emotional crowd.  That’s good for everything, my opinion.


Q.  I have a different question about Facebook and Twitter.  Is it you who put the news on Facebook?  How important is it for you to have this interaction with your fans?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, for me it’s great, no?  For me it’s great to have, you know, the contact diary with the fans.  That’s something that few years ago we didn’t have the chance to do it.

Last couple of years, especially last two years, we are doing more and more.

So very happy.  Is a good way to be closer to the fans.


Q.  If you’re still here on Sunday, how do you plan to celebrate your birthday?

RAFAEL NADAL:  When is my birthday?  No, no, no, I don’t know the day.


Q.  It’s on Sunday.

RAFAEL NADAL:  Sunday?  So I gonna play Saturday…  Ah, I don’t know, no?  Is difficult to celebrate like good birthday when you are in the middle of the tournament, but sure, I gonna go for dinner with the team.  I don’t know if some family gonna come.  I don’t know yet.

So we’ll see.  The important thing is I am in the third round and hopefully I can celebrate the birthday in Paris and not in Majorca.

THE MODERATOR:  Questions in Spanish.


Q.  You were almost like perfect today.  You’ve criticized yourself, but that’s because you’re very demanding about yourself.  But would you say that in general you’ve played better this year than in the past?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t think the time has come to make these comparisons.  The thing is to enjoy the moment.  Never mind what you’ve done in the past.

Fortunately I must say that the end was always a happy end.  It’s always difficult, you know, to make these comparisons, because years are different.  The feelings are different.

It’s a different tournament, as well.  Yet if I were to make comparisons, I’d say, yes, I’m playing even better.


Q.  Well, I’d like to build on this idea of comparisons.  Now, compared to the first match you played here, would you say that today you’ve played better and how?  What are the things that you’ve improved or that you would say are better?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, you know, during the first match, my opponent, Bolelli, was very aggressive.  It was a wee bit more complicated.  That’s true.

He dictated the match ‑‑ well, a number of points, I’d say.  I didn’t have enough pace.  Whereas today the match was more logical, more consistent, and my opponent wanted to play more aggressively.

But he couldn’t really manage.  Whereas for the first round, my opponent was very aggressive from the outset.  But I’ve improved also, I think.  Mainly I have improved during the third set.

This is when I had the upper hand.  I played my best tennis.  I made almost no mistakes.

It was a dream type of third set.  In general, I feel really good.  I feel good.  I didn’t really serve well when the match started, though.  At the end of the match ‑‑ oh, well, rather, it started during the second set.  During the second set on my forehand I was not ‑‑ I really managed to make him suffer.  That, as I said, was during the beginning of the second set.

I could hit the balls more strongly with my forehand and my racquet was too close to my body, though.  I had not loosened up enough, but at the end 4‑2 and then the break and then 5, and this is when I started hitting more strongly.  During the second set, 5‑2, this is when really I was taking control of the rallies, and then the happy end.


Q.  The other day you were saying you feel better from within.  Can you tell us what this means?  What does it mean to feel better from within?  If this is the case, do you feel some type of pressure like psychological pressure?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I said I felt better, but I was not saying my season’s going to be better.  I was saying that during practice and during the tournament my attitude is slightly more positive, and it’s less difficult.

Whereas last year, due to my attitude, which was less positive, it was more difficult for me.  The rallies were longer, and I was not at home and I felt it was a bit long.

Whereas this year I’m having fun, a lot of fun, I’m happy, and I’m not ‑‑ how can I say?  I’m not suffering from the fact that I’m far from home.  Whereas last year I was suffering from this.

It was too much traveling for me.  Whereas this year I’m very happy, even though last year I was quite successful.  I had this mental fear last year.  But, you know, things change.


Q.  Now that you feel better that you are perhaps less frightened, what would you say you’ve done?  Are you playing more naturally?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, you know, I gained confidence, and when you gain confidence you feel a lot better and things are more easy for you.  They’re easier.  That’s when you change.

This year I feel more comfortable.  Last year was not that comfortable.  I remember, for instance, the latest Davis Cup I played against Del Potro, and I didn’t really play well.  I didn’t play well during the Masters.  I was mentally tired.

This sounds perhaps strange, but there were only three or four weeks that I could take off the courts.  After this, I started with Australia before a very good tournament, and then I immediately continued with a quick surface.

Then I had some difficulties with my knee in Miami, and then I was back home and very happy to be.

Since then I think I have played really well almost all of my tournaments.  I’m really satisfied.


Q.  You won Istomin during the US Open.  Do you remember this?

RAFAEL NADAL:  No, no, this victory is not really useful to me, or that victory, rather.  It was a different match altogether.

As I was saying, it was a totally different match against Istomin.  I had gone through Wimbledon.  Well, first Roland Garros, and then Toronto, Cincinnati, I didn’t really play well then.  I remember those.

Then the US Open was starting and I was very nervous.  I felt I was not playing well, and that was the case against Istomin.  My game was really poor.  He made my life more complex.  And then I won at the end of the day, but that really was difficult.


Q.  In Ecuador we have many fans, and tennis fans, and fans of Nadal.  Is there a special message for the people in Ecuador?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, unfortunately I have never traveled to Ecuador, but I hope that one day I’ll visit the country.

So all the best to Ecuador and all of my fans.  Thank you very much.