Rafael Nadal Interview - Indian Wells, Mar 16

Posted on March 17, 2011

Rafael Nadal
March 16, 2011

R. NADAL/S. Devvarman
7-5, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You want to just talk about how you felt you played and then talk a little bit about your opponent who showed up pretty well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I played really bad, I think. That's the beginning. I played really bad, especially in the beginning. I think he didn't play well in the beginning. First he was winning 3-1 -- no, 2-0, and he didn't play well, but I played terrible in the beginning.
So after that I improved a little bit, but the first set in general, for me, was really bad, because I wasn't able to play aggressive with my forehand. I didn't see no one time the opportunity to go inside and to play the winner.
So in general, the level was very low in the first set, in my opinion. The second set improves a little bit. I think I had the win before. Had Love-30 two times, had 15-30 another time, and big chances to win 6-2, 6-3 in the second, no?
Because I was playing much better in the second set. For sure not perfect, but, you know, you have to come back after a terrible first set and the mental situation is difficult to change a lot. If you played really bad the first set, in the second set, even if you play not bad, your vision is difficult to appreciate if you are playing better or not, because your confidence is low after about the first set, no?
I think the second set was correct; wasn't bad second set. That's the most positive thing, so I played much better in the end of the match than in the beginning.

Q. You always say the victory is the most important thing.

Q. But is this one of those nights...
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the victory gives you another chance to play next day and to improve your level, no?
The important thing - and the most important thing - is play at the best level. Because if you are playing very well and you lose, is just time.
If you are playing very well, you're going to win not this week, next week, but next one. If you are playing bad and you are winning, you are gonna have that chances, no?
I was month outside of the tour, and for sure in the beginning is a little bit more nervous than usual. And the rhythm, I needed a little bit more. And winning the matches, that's the way.
Is much more important win matches when you are playing bad than when you are playing well. Because when you are playing well, everything comes together, no? When you are playing bad, is important win matches.

Q. Just talk about your next match. Karlovic is always a difficult challenge, and I suppose you have to raise your level against him.
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody knows Karlovic, so nothing to say. Gonna be a really difficult match, because you have to be very focused with your serve. You can't have not one mistake with your serve.
In the returning games, just try your best and weigh your chance. You know you're gonna have a lot of chances and you have to be lucky. When you have your chance, come back.

Q. Do you enjoy playing a player like him?

Q. Have you played him before?

Q. Did you have any problems with him before?
RAFAEL NADAL: I have problems with everybody, I think. (Laughter.)

Q. He surprised a lot of people, though. Even though you weren't at your top level, he surprised a lot of people that he was more talented than we thought.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, everybody knows how dangerous is Karlovic, no? With this serve, you can win everybody.
Normally the match is gonna decide in two, three points. So when the matches are deciding in 20, 30 points, normally the better player have more chances. But when the match decides in two, three points, sometimes is lottery.
That's what is Karlovic. He's a really good player, so seriously. No, no, I played against him in Queen's, I think, I won 6-7, 7-6, 7-6. And I played long time ago in Milan, very long time ago, and I won I think in the third, too.
I have one more match, I think, but I can't remember that now.

Q. Do you think it's possible that, say, if you played Karlovic every three or four months, that after a while you would get used to seeing his first serve, or do you think it's just so fast and he serves from so high that if he hits the spot in the court, it's impossible to return it?
RAFAEL NADAL: Normally to break him is because he have mistakes, not because you are converting good shots. Because you are in his hands all the time. If he serve well, nothing to do, because the feeling is like I am serving from the middle line, you know.
And the ball -- you a lot of times are very far away from the ball. You are not even close sometimes to touch the ball. It's like a penalty every time, so you have 50% to...

Q. So you feel like a goal keeper?
RAFAEL NADAL: Exactly. You have a 50% to know where the ball gonna be, and with this 50% you have another -- probably another 50% to put the ball inside. Finally is very low percent.

Q. The other night you talked about a foundation in Spain and philanthropy. I'm just wondering if Agassi and what he's done with charities and philanthropy has been an influence in what you're trying to do?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Seriously, no, wasn't the influence of foundation. I think it's fantastic what he did with his foundation. But I did in the past a lot of charity events, and I really don't know where that money goes.
So, sure, I'm sure that that money goes for a good causes. But I say, Well, why I don't -- why I cannot manage this money to invest in the places that I would love to do it.
I don't know if my English was -- you understand?

Q. Absolutely.
RAFAEL NADAL: Okay. In Spanish? No, just if I want to put this money with the kids with mental discapacity, is this. If I want to put with kids with another discapacity, I can put there. So just put the money where I really want to put the money, not where the other people want to put the money. That's why my foundation, I started to work with my foundation.

Q. How well do you know Pau Gasol, and how much do you enjoy having people like him come and watch you play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, we know each other since long time ago, so for me is not a thing that the biggest star power is always coming to watch my matches. The thing is that he is a good friend and that I am not able to watch him or to talk with him live a lot of times because we are in different parts of the world and traveling all the time.
So for me was fantastic to talk with him yesterday and to see him yesterday. You know, we talk the same language. We are both sportsmen, and our life is sports. So is good to know more about the different sports. And in general, I think he's a really fantastic person. He's a humble guy, a normal guy.
He's a big star in all the world, but seriously, he's really normal. And can just say thanks to him to come here, to watch me play on his day off, because he don't have a lot of days off. For me, it was a real honor that he came for my doubles match.
But in general, was more happy to see him and was able to talk with a good friend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports