R. NADAL/R. Gasquet
6-2, 6-2, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You hit a lot of winners, very few errors, and moved very well. Is this your best feeling since coming back from the injury?
RAFAEL NADAL: I played well, no? But in Cincinnati I did well a few matches, too. Very happy, no? I practiced one week here before, and I was practicing well. I went to the match and I feeled okay.
So very happy to be in second round. Very happy to win against difficult opponent like Richard.
Q. What changes happen to your attitude when you've been hurt and you've been out of play for a while? Do you have to psych yourself up to get back to a winner mentality?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, no. Seems like I was two years outside of competition. I was two months. I was one month and a half outside the competition, no? That's all.
No, I have an injury. That's normal in sport. And then here, back here to try my best another time. So that's all.
Q. Is it in the back of your mind about the knees, or now you don't think about it at all when you're playing?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't have pain, so I don't think.
Q. You never had trouble on your serve today. Was that a product of you serving well, or do you think he struggled on the return?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I am serving well. I did well in Cincinnati, was serving really well, except last match against Djokovic. But the rest of the matches I was serving really well.
I think I'm practicing, playing with good tactic, and positive attitude. That's the important thing right now. Later try to get more rhythm and more confidence winning matches.
Q. Did you lose weight because you haven't trained for two months?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No. The same.
Q. I have this impression you're coming back the same way you did when you missed the Davis Cup and China last year and you came back to win the Australian Open.
RAFAEL NADAL: I would love be in same comeback. Right now I am in second round. We will see (smiling).
Sure, I am here to try my best. Repeat the same like Australia is very, very difficult. I am not thinking about that. Right now just thinking about next opponent, thinking about play well, no?
I know I am in the right way, so I think if I have the chance to win few more matches and I get the confidence, we will see what happen later.
Q. Do you feel at this point in your career you need a lot of matches to play well, or are you experienced enough now to have fewer matches and then find the confidence, your top level?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, you know, I always played well when I have few tournaments in a row, no? In the past, the experience says me that, no? This year not. This year I started very well in Australia. But the past years I started playing very well in Indian Wells, Miami, and later the clay season, no?
So normal when you get more experience, more years on tour. Well, with less you can play easier, no? But always is much better if you are in competition, because you see the routines, how you win the points. You have automatic things. So you need this automatic things to play really well, no?
So I am feeling well right now after two tournaments. We will see what happen, no? My feeling was -- I feeling much better than what I expect in Cincinnati. I expected have very tough comeback, but I did quarterfinal and semifinals.
So that's very good results. Right now I am in second round here. So just very happy for everything.
Q. It's been suggested you never have done well in this tournament or won because you were tired at the end of the year. Do you think that's valid? If it is, the fact you missed some time, could that help you this time?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am more fresh, yeah, (smiling) fresher than never in this tournament. I don't know if this kind of fresh is good.
But I am fresh, so no excuses in the past. No excuses about being very tired. Only last year a little bit because I arrived totally destroyed in semifinals.
But for the rest of the years, I didn't play well because I didn't play well. So that's the reason.
But the true, every year I play a little bit better, no? I did semifinal last year. I didn't win, but semifinals always is a positive result, and here to try to improve.
Q. The injury you had to your knees, do you think it's specific to you or your style of play, or is it something that you can see with other players because of surface or the schedule or some other factor?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am watching lot of players with the bandage on the knees. Not only me. So maybe somebody have to think about that, for what reason we have lot of injuries in the knees, and nobody to say why.
Q. Next round you're playing against Nicolas Kiefer.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he's very, very good player. Player with unbelievable experience. Yes, I have to continuing play well if I want to have chances to win, no? So the important thing is play well, no? Always he is dangerous player because he is aggressive player. So I have to play well if I want to have chances to be in the third round.
Q. A few weeks ago you were saying it was impossible to think about winning the Open here. Can you now think about winning?
RAFAEL NADAL: I said was impossible in that moment think about win the US Open. So right now is impossible think about win the US Open because I have second-round match in one day and a half. So how I can think about win the tournament when I am only win one match, no?
Is the same, no? You can think about win the tournament when you are in the final. But before...
Q. You have such an adoring fan base, young, old, a lot of people wearing your T-shirts. Did you miss them when you were away? How would you describe these fans who are always so excited to see you?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, you know, when I was at home, I had few weeks outside of the world. The first one week and a half, first two weeks - I was in Mallorca for one month and a half - but the first two weeks I was loose at home and having a lot of time of recover, doing nothing.
But after that, I just can say thank you very much all the friends, all the family, all the people who interest on me with the website, with the message, the mobile phone. You know, when you have a hard time at home, receive all this support, always makes you feel much better, no?
So was very positive thing for me. But I miss the competition, yes. I was for the last five years playing every week at my hundred percent. I had one month and a half doing the summer in Mallorca, so was a bad moment for holidays, but best moment for have holidays in Mallorca. So I enjoyed the summer in Mallorca.
Q. How many days did it take you when you were in Mallorca to actually start enjoying it after the Wimbledon pullout? Were there days when you were thinking that you really wanted to defend the title?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, was a lot of things, no? My feeling was I arrive with bad conditions in two of the more important tournaments of the season, so that's makes you feel bad.
You have to be at home recovering, so I needed two weeks, no? Two weeks. Two weeks later, you know, slowly you try to get the illusion every day, no?
The true, I am very happy to be here another time, and I am enjoying much more right now practicing with better attitude than when I was playing in clay season with pain in the knees every day.
So finally when you are practicing every day, and we are doing more sacrifice than usual, is very difficult to enjoy the sport and be very happy to play. Is hard to go practice every day and have pain.
Right now anyway, in Cincinnati, I was very happy to playing that match. Today I went on court. Normally you are a little bit pressure to play the first round, and against big opponent like Gasquet. I went on court without pressure, no, just thinking I feel very lucky guy to be here playing and enjoying this sport.
Is a hobby for me play tennis. Is my work, too. Is a very positive thing.
Q. Any reason why you cut your hair shorter?
RAFAEL NADAL: You don't like (smiling)?
Q. Just wondering if there's a reason why.
RAFAEL NADAL: That makes me feel younger, no (laughter)?
End of FastScripts