Transcript of Rafa’s pre-tournament interview. Experts:
Q. How are your knees feeling? How are you more generally physically? Are there any other problems you’re dealing with?
RAFAEL NADAL: Hopefully not, no. The knees are perfect right now, my feeling. I think everything is okay, so I don’t have any problem.
I hope you aren’t lying now like you were during the French Open!
Q. How tough has it been psychologically for you to deal with what you’ve dealt with the last couple of months?
RAFAEL NADAL: Psychologically for me now, I am perfect. After important stop, came back with more energy than ever, no. Probably I need few time to be ready, to get the rhythm, to play your best tennis, but the energy and the illusion is 100%.
Q. What is your level of confidence coming into this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know the level of confidence, but much better than what I expected when I started to play in Montreal, for sure.
Like, for sure.
Q. Have you changed your workout routine at all? Have you slowed down because of the knees? Work less, shorter hours?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. When you come back after an injury, you start slow always. You have to be progression, but later I am like normal right now.
Yesterday I practice two hours and a half. Today I practice two hours. I am feeling really well.
And, based on twitter reports, he did an extra practice session today.
Q. What significance would it have for you to win here? Is there something special about completing a career Grand Slam that would mean something to you?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, sure, but we haven’t start the tournament yet. That’s the true, no?
For me, have the title here, doesn’t change my career, but I’m going — if I had the title here, finish the cycle, no? I win the fourth.
So it be unbelievable.
Right now, I really can’t think about that, no? Third tournament after an injury, I am well and I gonna come here every year with the best illusion, best attitude and try to prepare this tournament as good as I can to win this title.
One at a time, people, one match at a time.
Q. Is it a significant difference, the court in Australia to the court here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No one court is the same. That’s true, no? Few years ago I did quarterfinals, last year I did semifinals, so I feeling I am improving every year.
Q. Do you feel there is a bit of real difference between playing here and playing in Melbourne?
RAFAEL NADAL: The truth, the feeling is not a big difference. That’s my feeling, no?
Maybe in this court, always in the center court is always more wind than there, but for the rest, the ball is a little bit different, but that’s it.
Heh, nice try to get him to say that because he rocked the AO, he’ll do the same here.
Q. You showed a lot of support for Gasquet when he was suspended. He says he appreciates that very much from you. Can you talk about the reason, what went through your mind? You showed so much support for him.
RAFAEL NADAL: The true is I support him a lot. First thing, because I believe in him. Second thing, because I think he’s a very nice guy. I know him since 13 years old or 12 years old.
I talk with him what happen. He told me he didn’t take nothing. So I believe him 100%, and I think — you know, it is open. I don’t want to speak a lot about that and a lot of history is out about when I speak about that, but it’s not 100% perfect sometime. If someone wants to kill you, somebody can kill you, you know? And you didn’t do nothing. That’s the true, no?
That’s my feeling what happened with Richard, and of course they say that, no? He won. In the beginning, it was three years, and then it was three years because he didn’t take nothing. So I’m very happy for that, and I am sure a lot of players are very happy for Richard.
What’s all this about killing?
Q. Can you say you are 100% well to play this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?
Q. Can you say you are 100% well, feeling well, for this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am 100% well to play this tournament, yeah. (laughter.)
I don’t know if I am playing at my best level, but I am 100%. You want me 100%? Me too.
Yes, he can say it. See!