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INTERVIEWS

March 12, 2007

R. NADAL/F. Verdasco

6-4, 6-4

An interview with:

RAFAEL NADAL


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is that what you expected from him? You played him five times now and beaten him all five times.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I know him very well, no? He's a very, very graceful player. And, well, if he has -- he is playing well, it's very difficult playing against him, no? He hits the ball very hard. It's very difficult, but sometimes if you are waiting, you have chance, no, because he play very, very hard ball, but he has some mistakes.

Q. Did you just say that you were not feeling very well?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?

Q. Did you say you were not feeling very well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Me?

Q. Yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: When?

Q. No, just now.
RAFAEL NADAL: No.

Q. Sorry, I misunderstood
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no.

Q. You weren't completely waiting for mistakes. Were you trying to move him out of position and then maybe take your chances?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?

Q. You were saying that he can make mistakes, but sometimes you move him out of position, and then you take your chance, Verdasco?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, when I have the chance, I know. I know that it's for me to take the rhythm of the game. Because in the movement, I am better than him. And playing, touching the ball, he's better than me. So I know if I get the rhythm of the game, I have more chances than him, no?
So when I have the chance and take the initiative, I am trying always, always taking the initiative with the forehand.

Q. Were you as surprised as us to see Roger Federer lose in his opening match to a lucky loser?
RAFAEL NADAL: But not normal lucky loser. It's Guillermo Canas, and Guillermo Canas is one of the best players of the world that is coming back unbelievable. So he lost against very good player. Well, it's surprise for sure, but always the first round is very difficult, and Canas played a very, very good match.

Q. Can you talk about Ferrero.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I lost the one time in Cincinnati, 7-6, 7-6, but we'll see tomorrow, no? I can't say so much things against him, no. He's a very, very good player. He was playing good last weeks, played the final in Brazil, semifinals in Acapulco, maybe. So he's winning today. He was winning today with three match points. So he's coming with confidence, no, so we will see tomorrow.

Q. Do you think it's possible that maybe Ferrero can get back his No. 1 form at some time? I mean is his game close to that level?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't see him playing so much, playing so much. But, well, he's still in the top 20, no, so he's doing good work. And he's trying always come back to the best positions. Well, right now it's always difficult, no? It's very good player on tour and new players, young players and other ones, it's difficult too.

Q. With Roger out of the tournament now, do you think that creates opportunities for a huge opportunity for some of the other top seeds like yourself to move through and take the tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, like myself, I won the last year five -- four, five tournaments, and four tournaments I beat him. So it doesn't matter if he is in the tournament or not. For sure, if I arrive to the final and play against other one, gonna be very, very difficult. If I play against Roger, gonna be more than very difficult. But for to final, I need to win a lot of good matches and I'm playing my best tennis. That's true. So right now, I can't think about that.
For me, Roger, when I go to the tournament, is not in the draw, I just think about my draw. He's always in the other part of the draw, so that's it. And now he's the same.

Q. At what percent of your ability are you playing right now, how well?
RAFAEL NADAL: I told, I don't know two days ago, I don't know what's 100 percent. That's not mathematic. Well, I am playing fine. I feel very good. My forehand, that's very true, and, well, I feel better today with my backhand, for sure, than the other day. That's important improvement.
With the serve, well, today was playing all time very serious, comfortable, trying to have a good percentage and that's it.

Q. The other day in the doubles, all four players, Lopez, your partner were lefties?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, left.

Q. And then tonight as well, lefty. How is it you playing with a partner who is lefty, or playing an opponents, they're all lefties, tonight lefty again?
RAFAEL NADAL: Doesn't matter for me. It's fine. You need changes. There will be some things of the tactics, because if you play the forehand crossed, he has the forehand, too, but that's it. Just think about that in some moments.

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