2017 US Open R2 Rafael Nadal bt. Taro Daniel 4/6 6/3 6/2 6/2
Next opponent - Leo Mayer
Q. A bit of a slow start today, but you got the job done in the end. What would you attribute that slow start to? Where do you feel you struggled?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, of course, there is nerves there at the beginning. Yeah, when you have some nerves, when you don't convert Love-30s, couple Love-30s in a row, 15-30s, then some breakpoints, you arrive to 4-All. The opponent, very first breakpoint, he make it. Well, he make it? Of course, I miss it. Yeah, you feel one set down. Then, of course, you play under more pressure.
Tough start of the second. Happy to be back. I think the speed was positive. Was a good fight. I think I improved. The last two sets I played better, and that's important for what's coming, no?
But, of course, is a day to be satisfied. Days that you're not playing well, that's makes the difference: win when you don't play very well. That give me the possibility to play better.
As I say the other day, I am practicing well. I need to compete better. I believe I can do it.
Q. How important was the forehand down the line? How important are these shots for you, the rebreak in the second set? How is important to have that one shot that reenergizes you for the rest of the set?
RAFAEL NADAL: The forehand down the line of course is very important shot for me. But there is more shots that are important for me, no?
Of course, when I am playing okay, that shot sometimes make the difference. But today, in my opinion, I saw it on the video screen, I hit around 40 winners. That's not bad number. But 35 unforced errors, that's a bad number for me.
I need to fix that. I need to improve that. I need to play with the feeling that when I hitting the ball, I don't going to miss and with high intensity. That is the way I need to play if I want to have chances of success here. I going to work to make that happen.
Q. Missing most of last year, coming out like a house on fire first half of this year, are you feeling any kind of fatigue?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don't know. I don't feel fatigue. I feel positive. I feel hungry to keep playing. I'm excited for being here. Not tired at all. Is the last big, big event of the year. I want to try all the things that are in my hands to give me a chance. That's what I am doing: working with the right intensity, with the right attitude, then in the match trying to do the same.
First two matches have been, of course, not great, but I am in third round. That's the most important thing. I have tomorrow practice. After tomorrow another important match for me. So I need to be ready for it.
Q. You have Mayer next. What do you think?
RAFAEL NADAL: He's playing well. Coming in confidence. Winning in Hamburg a couple weeks ago. Winning already two good matches here. Gasquet and Sugita. Sugita was coming here playing well. He's a good player with good quality.
I need to play better than what I did if I want to have chances of success. That's what I going to try to do.
Q. After the match, what did you say to Daniel?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well played, best of luck for the rest of the year.
Rafa: "In the last 2 matches I've had more nerves than usual & I don't know why. I've not had the calm that I've had the whole season. That's the truth and the truth must be faced and accepted, so that you work to overcome it without deceiving yourself. I lost 2 matches in CAN & Cincy & that can surely effect a little bit, but to counteract it I've had an almost perfect practice week in NY. It is a situation that is a bit strange and that I hope to overcome, and if I don't, I'll go home to go on working. [But] If I overcome it, I'm sure I can give myself chances to have a good tournament here."
Toni: "Rafael has played a quite bad first set, w/o speed in his shots. He was unable to speed up the ball to hurt the opponent and in this way it's difficult to win matches. Later on, it's not that he's improved a lot, but in the end the difference in ranking is there & without playing well, he's been superior. The truth is that he's practicing very well, but he's unable to keep that speed in the matches."
Carlos: "He was very nervous at the beginning, as the other day, but he's managed to turn around a situation that had become very difficult. At the end, Rafa's freed the arm and at the same time the rival's got tired. It's difficult to keep the level he was at for the whole year and we know that in the first rounds it's a question of surviving, but if he wants to go deep in the tournament, he'll have to play better."
Translated by Genny SS
Photos: USTA; Getty Images; AP; EFE; AFP; REUTERS
• Last game & On-court Interview
• Press conference