Roland Garros

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Paris, France

Rafael Nadal

Press Conference

R. NADAL/C. Norrie

6-3, 6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How focused are you on winning quickly, whether it's winning matches quickly, winning points quickly? Are you more focused on that now than when you were younger?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I am focused on trying to win, more than win quickly or not quickly, no, honestly. I am not that arrogant to pretend to win quickly. I have full respect for every opponent. I do what I can in every moment of course. If I can win quicker, better.

But today I had in front a player that he's having a great season. He was 13th on the race of the year, so we don't need to talk more about how good he's playing this year. I went on court knowing that could be a tough match, and for moments have been like this.

I'm happy to win in straight sets. I think I did what I had to do. For moments I played well. I think a good first set. Then for moments I need to do things better. But I am confident that I can do it.

Q. You played Jannik last year here in the same stage. You played him in Rome. In what ways has he changed since then? What do you think you will have learned from playing him twice?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, completely different conditions, no? But gonna be a tough one. He's young. He's improving every week.

He has big shots. Gonna be a tough one. I need to be solid. I need to be aggressive too, because if not it's very difficult. I need to make him play from tough positions, and I can't make a lot of mistakes, no?

Let's see. I know it's the fourth round, you can't expect an easy opponent out there. Jannik is not the best fourth round, without a doubt, no, he's a dangerous one. He's young. He's a great player. We know each other well. So let's see.

I need to be ready to play at very high level of tennis, to have chances to be in the quarterfinals, and I gonna fight for it.

Q. Second set was a little bit tricky and you were broken twice, but you used your return effectively to really dig yourself out of trouble and set the tone of the match. How much did you like the way you returned today? How important was that facet of your game in the victory?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I make mistakes with my serve in that second set. More than with the serve was with the second shot. You know, first shot after the serve. Couple points that I was able to take advantage and I make mistakes, or I make a bad decision where to hit the ball. He's smart and he play aggressive. He play with energy all the time.

So, yeah, on the return, I mean, I don't think I have been returning unbelievable today. I just returned okay. But then I was solid from the baseline to put him one more ball in and to make him play.

Always is difficult to confirm the break after you had. And that's what I tried to do, no? To put him in a tough position to let him play one more ball and tough balls to confirm that break, and I was happy to have both times to break back. Have been huge confidence for me, and then I was able to win my serve finally. I make another break and again my serve.

So after that, I can't say the match was over, because never is over, but after that second set I feel that I had a very important advantage.

Q. He seemed to be slightly unhappy about the pace of play and the speed that you were playing at, whatever, a bit relative to each other. How did you see it from side? Were you warned by the umpire?

RAFAEL NADAL: Can you repeat that, please?

Q. Cam seemed unhappy at the pace that you were playing at, and he talked to the umpire about it and at one stage it looked like the umpire was speaking to you. Can you explain how you saw that from your side?

RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I saw that very clear, no? We don't have ball boys that the towel, the towel is very far. He had the problem after the game. You know, I wasn't take -- I was not taking the towel very often, no? But between games I think I need to take the towel, and I think I deserve to take the towel between games. So is nothing very significant. Something that everybody does.

Sometimes I think he was trying to speed up the situations, to put some pressure. He's free to do it. I don't think I did anything bad. I didn't complain at all when he was throwing his ball bad for 20 times (smiling). I didn't know when he gonna serve. I didn't complain at all during the whole match, so I don't think he has to complain about the other stuff, no?

The umpire just told me that I need to be quicker because he was ready. Okay, if he wants to put that pressure, I just accept it. I tried to be a little bit quicker. I try to be always respectful and nice to umpire, to him. And I think he was too. Just he was playing his cards, and that's it.

Q. As you said, he's 13th in the race at the moment. Do you see him as somebody who could be a top-20 player maybe in the future? What do you think he can get to?

RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I really don't know. The true is today, after six months of season, he's 13 today of the race. So for these six months he was the 13th-best player of the world. That's numbers.

The other thing are thoughts or predictions, I don't like a lot the predictions. I just follow what really is happening, and what's happening is he won plenty of matches, and that's why he's in this high position of the race of the year. So let's see how the things keep going for him for the rest of the year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108400-1-1063 2021-06-05 17:04:00 GMT

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