A transcript of Rafa’s English media day interview at Wimbledon is up on the ASAP Sports site.
Q. How do you feel on the grass heading into the tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I feel good. I won a tournament on grass after five years, a good moment for me and a special one.
I am practicing well this week. Let’s see if I am able to compete well then later. So just happy to be here, you know. Healthy, that’s the most important thing.
Last year I was better, after 2012 and ’13 that I couldn’t play well here. Too much problems on the knees.
Is good, losing or winning, doesn’t matter, but is good to be healthy on the second most important surface in my career, without any doubt.
Q. You always play a tournament, then you go back to Manacor. What do you do to make it a little bit like grass before you come back here?
RAFAEL NADAL: I play golf (laughter).
No, no, no. I played on Queen’s. I played in Stuttgart. I have been home just two days after Roland Garros. I was in Stuttgart practicing on grass very early.
So I came back home. You know, I stayed in Queen’s until Friday. So I rest for three days at home. I didn’t practice at home. I came back here Tuesday morning.
Went back home, have some fun with the friends, some golf, some going out with the boat, stay with the family. Obviously, that was very important to me and I need it.
Q. This extra week between the French Open and Wimbledon, do you think it was really a good idea? Does it make it easier for you to prepare for Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know if is easier or not, no? But the real thing, is better for everybody, obviously to have the possibility to don’t play a week after Roland Garros. I played, because my body asked me to play. But to have the possibility to don’t play, still have the chance to play two tournaments before Wimbledon, is a great news.
Less chances of injuries, if you don’t make, as I did almost every year the transition from Roland Garros to Queen’s in one day, the chance to get injury, you know, you change a lot of movements, a lot of things in your game, you know, the way that you hit the ball, the way that you move, the serves. All these kinds of things are dangerous for your body. If you don’t have the chance to do it, that transition a little bit slower is a danger for your body. So is a great news.
Q. Traditionally this tournament has had a lot of great left‑handed winners. There seem to be fewer left‑handed players on the tour, especially the top ranks of the tour, apart from yourself. Why do you think that might be?
RAFAEL NADAL: There is less lefties than righties, no? Is a question of percentage.
But the same time, still some good players, some good lefties. That’s part of coincidence, generations. I think don’t make a big impact if you are a lefty or not.
Q. Can I ask you about your golf. Do you play left‑ or right‑handed?
RAFAEL NADAL: Right.
Q. What is your handicap and does it help your tennis in any way?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Don’t help my tennis. Helps my relaxing moments to be for four hours outside of everything. Just focus on the golf round, enjoying being in a beautiful place. Because when you are in a golf course, you are in the middle of nature usually, good views. That makes me feel relax and helps me mentally, no? That’s the good thing.
And my handicap is around 2.8, 2.7, more or less.
Q. Having had the experiences you’ve had, winning all the majors, what are your thoughts on what Serena is trying to do in one year, having won the first two, at this stage in her career, at this age?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, is obvious that when Serena is playing well, is very difficult to beat her, no? Is something difficult to make that happen, but is obvious that he won in Australia, he won in Roland Garros, that probably was the most difficult one for her. He loves here. Has the right game to play well in Wimbledon. Then obviously New York is one of her favorites, no?
If she really does, will be amazing. We’ll see. The best of luck.
Q. What do you think makes her as tough as she is? If you had to pick one thing about her, what would you pick?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me?
Q. What is most remarkable to you about Serena?
RAFAEL NADAL: My feeling is she has much more power than the others. That’s a big advantage in the girls, no? The ATP Tour, that didn’t happen. But in the girls, there is a difference when she hit the ball than when another hits the ball, no? The serve has a big impact.
For me, Serena makes a difference on the serve and on the return. First two shots makes the difference.
Q. There seems to be a lot of drama and problems with the Spanish Tennis Federation. I saw a lot of the Spanish players tweeting about it in the past few days. Is it easy for you to focus on tennis and ignore all of these things? Because it seem like there are meetings happening.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, there is not much meetings going on.
The situation have been very unusual, let’s say, not nice for a country that has big tradition in this sport, for a country that the last, let’s say, 15, 20 years, we have been the first country in this sport around the world. So is not nice to watch the situation that we are having today. But things are like this.
The thing that we have to do is to stop these crazy things that are happening. You know, it’s not good to see bad news on our sport in the media every day. It’s not good for our sport. It’s not good to catch sponsors. It’s not good to make the people involved on our sport.
So all these kind of things are bad for everybody. At the end of the day, you know, we are here today. We will live tomorrow. Players, presidents, everybody who is making this show last couple of months, what really suffers on all of this is tennis, tennis in our country.
All the things that goes against tennis in our country is a bad news.
Q. What do you like most about playing on clay and what do you like most about playing on grass?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is completely different story.
Q. What do you like the most about each one?
RAFAEL NADAL: You know, playing on clay, obviously when I had the feeling I was playing at my best, the better feeling is I have time for everything, and I have the possibility to play with tactic, I had the possibility to play with different styles, aggressive, more defensive. That makes me feel under control almost all the time.
On grass is a different story. On grass, the feeling is you have to be very focused all the games, every point. You cannot have two mistakes in a row or three mistakes in a row with your serve because almost you lose a set.
So is a big difference. Is a good chance to go more to the net. Is a good chance to do different things that you are not doing very often on the tour. Try to have fun with that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports