March 10, 2007
R. NADAL/A. Clement
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You came out striking the ball very well today, hitting the forehand extremely well. Are you playing well? Feel good?
RAFAEL NADAL: No.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I feel very good with my forehand, not better than the last months for sure. Was for me, I was practicing very well, especially with my forehand. Maybe that been one of my best moments with my forehand. I serve very well the first set. I have ten aces, and that's not every day for me. The second set I have some mistakes, three double faults in one game, two double faults another one. And the backhand in the end of the first set, I can't put one backhand inside the court. That's true, no?
But, well, I was playing very well with the forehand and that's important and I win the match. I have 5-3 in the second set, I lost this game playing bad. That's it. I'm happy.
Tomorrow I play doubles. That's important for practice a little bit more. But I am not worried a lot because I'm practicing very well. Just take a little bit more confidence with the backhand.
Q. Do you continue to adjust to hard courts? Would you say it looks like maybe you're hitting flatter shots, more aggressive?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. I'm trying to play more, something with the forehand, for sure. I'm playing very well, the forehand. That's very important because I, in the last months, was playing not the same, not like with this (speaking Spanish).
THE MODERATOR: Aggressive.
RAFAEL NADAL: Not like this, a little bit more defensive, and right now, I change. I play very, very good in Dubai, with the forehand especially. And in the last months, I improve a lot with my forehand.
Q. What about the 126-mile-an-hour serve, that's pretty fast?
RAFAEL NADAL: How much in kilometers?
RAFAEL NADAL: 200, a little bit more.
THE MODERATOR: 210.
Q. But that's awfully fast. Have you improved your serve? You seem like you're further out, more aggressive on the serve.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah. I play -- I was serving well the first set. That's important, ten aces, getting a lot of points with the serve. Playing good with the outside serve in advantage.
I think in the deuce, I change sometimes with kick in the deuce outside, during some important moments. That's important. But just take a little bit more confidence with the serve, the second set. That's important. That I have three double faults on one game and two double faults on another.
Q. You said you decided to be more aggressive with your forehand, not so defensive. When did you make that decision and why?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's not decision. The game -- you play (speaking Spanish).
Yeah, the court is -- in this court, I play a little more aggressive, I know that. And now I have very good feelings for play like this, no? So, well, if I don't have the feelings, I can't play more aggressive, no? But if I have a very good feeling with the forehand, that's the most important thing for me, because when I am playing well, I feel very well with the forehand.
Q. When did you last feel this good?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?
Q. When was the last time you felt as good as you feel right now?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, today I play bad with the forehand -- with the backhand, but with the forehand.
THE MODERATOR: (Translating to Spanish.)
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, maybe today was not my best match, but for sure the practice, the feeling in the forehand is a long time away, long ago. I don't know, 2005, maybe, yeah? I think.
Q. Can you explain more than that, are you saying in 2005, you felt better or worse than before?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Right now I feel within my best moment with the forehand, so that's it. I don't know, seem like a little bit better because I improve, for sure. I play better now than 2005.
The win is a lot, is another thing, but play well and to improve the tennis, I am more complete tennis player right now than 2005, no?
Q. What's your approach on the return of serve now as to when your return of serve, returning, as to when you're playing much further behind the baseline and then moving a little bit more?
RAFAEL NADAL: I'm trying not go (speaking Spanish). Not trying when the other serve go behind, just stay in the same place or go a little bit (speaking Spanish).
THE MODERATOR: Further.
RAFAEL NADAL: Further. New word. That's good. That always is important. So I learn.
Q. Further inside?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.
Q. Are you looking forward to the clay season?
RAFAEL NADAL: I looking forward for Indian Wells, and Miami after. After. These two tournaments very important for me and for every player, because it's the two first Master Series of the season, and there's a lot of points, and I gonna try my best to play very good tournaments.
Q. Do you feel like you played your best tennis on hard courts during the last year? Have you showed your best tennis on hard courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I was playing very well in Shanghai and Wimbledon, but not hard, on grass. I don't remember a lot of times. In Dubai, I was playing well the last year and this year, too. Well, on clay, I just I play. I won a lot of matches, but in my opinion. I play very well in semifinals and final of Monte Carlo, and I play my best. I play bad in Barcelona, I won. I play bad, in my opinion. My best tournament was in Rome on clay.
Q. Do you feel moving on hard courts, running, is it much different than clay? Does it affect your strokes?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it's different. It's different. Well on clay, you can --
RAFAEL NADAL: -- slide and more. That's easier for me because I play a lot of times on clay and for the Spaniards, it's easy.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. It's my best tournament not bells tournament.
I'm sure you're past it already but I heard manila up there.
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