Rogers Cup R2: Rafa’s Press Conference Transcript
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
R. NADAL/B. Coric
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Was it too easy tonight on the court? You beat him really hard.
RAFAEL NADAL: Never too easy, no? At the beginning of the match was a great points. I think I started playing so well the first set. And in general, I played a great match, no? When is done, always seems easy.
But the real thing is last time that I played against him I lost, last year in Cincinnati. Was not an easy round for me.
I happy the way I played. For sure I happy to be through to the third round.
Q. You practiced quite a lot in the past few days. I guess it was to make sure you were comfortable here with the courts and the wind. Did it do something good for you tonight, all that practice?
RAFAEL NADAL: Here we are to play tennis. We are in a tennis tournament. What I do, what we do, is try to do the things the best way possible to be ready for the action. Then sometimes works well, sometimes don’t.
But, yeah, have been working three hours on court every day until yesterday, that was two. And yeah, that’s it. I arrived here with some days before to try to adapt myself to the conditions. At the same time I have been outside of the competition for a while, so I need.
Q. Tomorrow you’re going to face Denis Shapovalov. What do you know about him?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s a young player. He’s a great opponent. Is an aggressive player. He is young. He has a lot of energy. I’m sure that he will be confident, no, after winning the first match, saving a big match against Dutra Silva, and today winning against one of the best players of the world.
He come to the match with big confidence. I going to try to play my best. I going to try to play with my intensity, and let’s see what happen.
Q. Do you think he’ll be the favorite? This afternoon when he goes by del Potro, he said, Good luck. Do you think he is going to be as much cockiness with you tomorrow?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry.
Q. Do you think he will be cocky?
RAFAEL NADAL: The crowd, with them? The crowd is great here. I played a lot of matches here. I feel the support of the crowd. I understand I play against a Canadian. But, yeah, going to be a good atmosphere out there.
I love the crowd, and I believe the crowd here is great. Will not be a problem. The crowd is respectful. Going to be a good match, I think.
Q. Before the clay court season, you were having a very good hard court season, with the exception of the couple of losses at the end of the tournaments. Is there something you identified since then that you wanted to work on to get you over that hump at the end of the tournament in the hard courts?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, you don’t work for that. You work to play well. Arrive to the last rounds, and I play against great opponents. Sometimes you can win, sometimes you cannot. Is not something you can work to play the finals better or not.
Q. Is there a part of your game that you’re focusing on that you think will help you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I play great at the beginning of the season. That’s all, no? Is almost the same answer. I have been competing great in all tournaments on hard. I only lost against Sam Querrey that he played unbelievable there. Against Milos in Brisbane, the first tournament of the year. And against Federer three times in finals. Well, in Indian Wells we were not lucky in the draw.
But that’s it. I am focused on try to serve well, to return well, then play aggressive with my forehand and backhand obviously. When you work, you work all aspects of your game. If you feel that something not working well, you work more that part of the game.
But being honest, I am working the same for every shot because is no one shot that I feel I am playing bad or…
In general terms, I feel I am playing well. Only thing I have to do is keep practicing, keep improving my game overall.
Q. I saw you practicing, working a lot on your forehand, trying to hit it flatter than usual. Is it a technical adjustment you’re trying to do for the hard courts? On clay you hit a heavier topspin. Is it true you’re trying to have a flatter forehand, go early into the ball?
RAFAEL NADAL: My forehand is not flat (smiling). My forehand is how it is.
But I hit the forehand with topspin. When I hit with topspin, that doesn’t mean I am not aggressive, no? Sometimes the people get confused about that. I can be very aggressive hitting with topspin.
But is true that in all surfaces, even on clay, you need to go for the winners. The change of the game is there. Everybody’s hitting stronger. Points are shorter than before. You need to adapt yourself to the new things.
Is obvious that here on hard I need to be aggressive with my forehand. One of the reason that I had success at the beginning of the season, again on hard, is because I have been playing very aggressive again with my forehand, changing directions, serving well and returning aggressive. That’s the way.
Here is the first tournament on hard after a while. My real goal is try to recover that forehand that I have to play two shots: one is play aggressive shot from behind the baseline, and my goal is try to find the solution to go on court, to hit the winner, and that’s what I am trying. Then when I have the chance to go for the winner, I have to hit the winner. Doesn’t matter if I miss sometimes.
Q. Where did you learn your French? What do you think your level of French is?
RAFAEL NADAL: My level of French is bad. But is obvious that I am from Mallorca, so we speak close to Catalan. Catalan and French is not very different, so I can understand if the French people speaks slow French. I can understand a lot. Then I can speak just little bit (smiling).
Q. There was a stat today from the ATP. Shapovalov is the youngest player to reach the round of 16 in a Masters since you in 2004. How do you feel when you hear that? What does it say about the player in front of you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is great, no? Is a great news that new young players are coming strong. I think is important for our sport to have young people there, too. Young peoples always have a lot of energy, involves the crowd.
There is two ways to involve the crowd: when some people arrives very young and brings a lot of energy, and when you have a players that have a lot of years on the tour, so become a little bit tradition, like Federer, like probably myself, like Agassi had, like Connors, all these kind of players that had a long career and successful career. That’s the combination, no?
When that happens, our sport is in good shape. So is great to see Shapovalov playing well. Going to be a good match tomorrow. I hope to be ready to play, that’s it.
Q. What are the challenges from what you remember of being an 18-year-old playing in such a big tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: You’re young. You don’t have fears. Everything is to win, no? That’s it. In that age, I think I finished the year 50 of the world. I was on the tour. For me first time, yes, in Monte-Carlo when I did, yes. Second time in Hamburg after that. But after that, I was playing on the tour almost every week.
Everything is new, was new for me. Just have the energy and the motivation because I was achieving my dream, that is become a professional tennis player.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports