A transcript of the presser Rafa gave after his third round victory over Kuznetsov is up on the ASAP Sports site.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. This morning, Gustavo Kuerten said talking about your record here, nine titles in ten years, he said that’s going to stay — no one is going to beat that, like that’s what he thinks. He also added that you’re not from this planet. You are extraterrestrial.
RAFAEL NADAL: Who?
Q. Kuerten, talking about your record, nine titles in ten years. He said that he thinks no one is going to beat it, and he said that he thinks you are not from this planet, you are someone from a space ship, something like that. What do you have to say about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: First of all, I am from this planet, I think (laughter.) Second thing, thanks to Guga for the words. Third thing, is true that is probably a tough record to beat. But at the same time, I tell you one thing: If I did, you know, somebody else can do it. (Smiling.)
Q. You played on Lenglen today, and most of your matches here are on Chatrier. Do you find the dimensions on Lenglen much different for you? Also, the other day you said after beating Almagro, you know, you prefer to play him on a big court. I would presume you would prefer to play everyone on a big court.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, normally, yes. It’s obvious that a big court helps a little bit more my game and for the opponent is a little bit more difficult to attack, to see the clear winner, you know. But, you know, is great to play on Lenglen, too. The crowd is closer and is nothing new for me. I played a lot of matches in my career there. Well, not a lot, but every year I played one or two, twice. So, yeah, was a good feelings and good crowd. You know, is good for the crowd that cannot go to the center court see every player in Lenglen, too.
Q. Next round you’re going to play against Jack Sock. You haven’t played him before. What’s your feeling about that matchup?
RAFAEL NADAL: He’s a great player, no? He’s playing fantastic, winning very tough matches against very difficult opponents like Dimitrov, Pablo Carrena, and today against Coric. He has an amazing forehand, good serve, very good serve, and then he’s a player that can play very aggressive and is dangerous, no? I know I have to be very solid. I know I have to play aggressive, try to don’t let him to hit the forehand in positions, because I am going to be in big trouble. I gonna try.
Q. When you face somebody that you have never played before, how do you prepare? Do you watch old tape of them? Does Toni to give you advice? Do you talk to other players? How do you prepare when you face somebody you have never played in the past?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, today is easier than before, no? You can find videos out on the Internet, so is nothing very difficult. Normally I try to watch few videos on Internet and then try to create an opinion and try to think about what I have to do to try to bother a little bit him. I see that Toni is doing the same. Then we talk, and, you know, when that happens, the normal thing is you go on court, you try to do your game. Even if you watched some videos, you try to do your game. If something is not going well you try to adjust. You will see on the match. Try to analyze a little bit in the first few games what you have to do to have success.
Q. Some players say that they find the ball a little bit heavy maybe slower than other year. I want to know your feeling about that. I want to know secondly if you have the opportunity to test the ball before the tournament, because the balls are made by Babolat?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t see a big difference. I think the ball is a great ball. I am not saying that because it’s Babolat. It is easy to think that, but I think is always the same here, no? Is true that these couple of days have not been very hot, you know. The temperature is 17, 18. The days are not big sunshine. So when that happens the court is heavier and the ball opens more, no? I think. That’s the real thing. Then I played three days ago with big sunshine and the ball was bouncing a lot, no? So that ball change a lot with the weather conditions. I don’t think the ball is slower or heavier than other years. What I think is we are not having that warm, that hot temperatures, and when that happens the ball is heavier. But is not because of the ball. I think the ball is the same. I’m more or less sure. (Smiling.)
Q. Here in Paris we are used to see you play better and better with every match. Where would you say your confidence level is right now going into the second week?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I think I did — will be not fair if I say that I am not happy about what happened this first week, being fourth round without losing a set and I think playing solid, consistent. That’s what I need to. Then arrive the second week, and you know that you have to (snapping fingers) go that extra step to have chances. So I hope to have a good practice tomorrow and be ready to play a great match on Monday, because I will need it.
Q. You were asked before how you prepare your matches when you play a player who you haven’t met before. I’d like to know if those five minutes of warming up are sometimes useful or they are not so useful, and they help you only to find your concentration, your focus, your physic, your body, or sometimes you see something about your opponent that may change your initial strategy.
RAFAEL NADAL: If you don’t see nothing about your opponent, maybe you can create an idea, but that’s something that is not happening because we know everybody here. So then you start the match and you try to do your thing and then we will see what’s going on with his shots. But things change in the match, and play match or play a normal warmup is a completely different story.
Q. You’re known as a big supporter of Real Madrid. If you were to pick a coach, who would it be?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t. It’s not my job. I think we have — our team have enough people to think about that, so I will not be the right one to say a name, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.
Q. I think you might have said this in English, but please tell us how you feel at the beginning of the second week. What about your confidence? And mentally, how are you? How do you feel? What about your tennis?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, during the first week things were rather okay. I won three matches. I have not lost any set. I think I’m quite consistent. There is no doubt that it was not my worst first week here at Roland Garros, because sometimes I have had quite difficult first weeks here at Roland Garros. So this is my thing. I have to focus on my match on Monday. I will have to go a notch up and improve my tennis. If I’m ready to make this effort, then I will be able to have more opportunities. Otherwise, I won’t be able to go deeper. This is how it stands. I think I have the right foundation for this matchup, for this leap forward for the second week. I think my level is rather good, but then it all depends on the other player. I will have to adapt to his style, but I hope I will be fit so that I’m ready for the second week.
Q. Toni said that the sound of your balls is really good, which is really typical of the best players. Maybe during the year the sound the balls make when you hit them is not that good. Do you believe that? Is it true that when the best players play it makes such a sound?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, I think so. How can I say? I’d say that perhaps the best players have a better control, a better feel for their shots and the balls, which means that the balls more or less stick to the strings longer, and that’s why perhaps the sound is different. We have more control over our shots. The ball is on the strings longer and we have to follow through when we hit the points. It’s some type of rhythm, a continual rhythm. Then when you lose this pace, the impacts are shorter between the ball and the string, and maybe the sound then is not really good. I think this is what he meant. I think that in the past weeks I have improved quite a lot, and now I’m on the right track. With all the progress that I made, I can say I’m on the right path and I’m very happy. I’m working really hard. This is why I’m here now. From now on, well, you know, in the past I didn’t have enough confidence. I wanted to overdo things, to do things so well that I was slightly stressed. Something that is important is to try and control time and your pace and your rhythm, and that’s when the balls make a nice sound.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports