2018 Mutua Madrid Open R3 Rafael Nadal bt. Diego Schwartzman 6/3 6/4
Next opponent - Dominic Thiem
Q. They told you that Diego Schwartzman was really good. You were under control all the time. Maybe some of your forehands went out, but you managed to win the match in two sets.
RAFAEL NADAL: These are just the circumstances, that's all. But yes, it was a tough match, for sure. He's a really good player. He has a lot of talent. We've seen that in the past. He's a very quick player. Yeah, it was a difficult match.
Well, we knew that it was tough. I think that till 6-3, 4-2 in the second set, I think that the match was not being perfect, but I think it was a correct match. After that, everything started to get difficult. I played two bad games in a row. Well, yeah, then I managed to win the match 6-4. But the match was more open, more even. I was lucky because he committed that double-fault. He had some points to be 5-4.
As I said, the match was open. I think that 6-3, 6-4, it was a tough match. But I was controlling at the beginning, and at the end I wasn't in control so much.
Q. With everything that happened at the end of the match, when you were cheering Manolo Santana, how did you see him? I think he was very emotional.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yesterday we already talked about Manolo. I don't have many more things to say about him. I think he deserves this celebration we have done with him, all the other celebrations he receives.
Being able to share this moment on the court with him for me is a unique moment, a very special moment. Also seeing Manolo excited on the court, it makes me happy to see someone that has given everything for this sport.
The people support and recognize his merits. I think it's great. To do this especially here at home on the court that has his name.
Q. Normally you don't play with this schedule of playing at night. How was it for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: The conditions are different. It's true that if you ask me, I prefer to play at night here than at night in Barcelona, for example. I know we never play at night in Barcelona. But even here, the climate is dryer, it's higher. The court is not slow at all. It doesn't become slow because it's late at night. If you play at night at sea level, the ball is very slow, the court is very heavy. That doesn't happen here. Of course, the conditions are different during the day, but it's fine.
Q. You're winning a lot of matches now, in a good rhythm. How are you physically? Are you getting tired?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no. Physically, no. I'm realistic. You don't have to be a hypocrite. I haven't played any match to three sets. Today I can say it was one of the longest matches I have played on clay court. It's been 1 hour, 48 minutes. I cannot get very tired if I manage to win in two sets.
Of course, there's always mental tiredness. I have to be focused every day. I have to have all my five senses on the game. But I'm happy because of how things are working out for me. Let's not forget about it, it's my third tournament of the year that I've been able to finish. Well, it's my fourth because I played in the Australian Open. I haven't played a lot this year.
It seems now I'm in a positive momentum. The tournaments I've been able to play, I've been able to play deep. In general I'm fine. I'm happy for those things are working out. Tomorrow I have a very tough match. I think it's a key match in this tournament against a very tough player. It's another opportunity to play against one of the best players of the world, especially here in this these conditions. Hopefully I'll be prepared. I'm very motivated to play tomorrow's match because it's a very important match for me personally, but also here for this tournament.
Q. Normally when you come to the press, you know the stats of the match. You know the duration of the match.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I saw it on the court.
Q. Normally at the end of the match do you take a look at the stats?
RAFAEL NADAL: Immediately after, no, I don't have a look. Perhaps the day after, yes, I do have a look at the stats. For example, Carlos likes to look at these things. He likes it. We just have a look at it. We see where we have positioned the balls, how many balls have gone inside or outside the court. We just have a look at the general stats to see how aggressive I have been, how many meters inside of the court, how close to the lines. We look at all of those things because we know more or less when I am playing well and when I do good matches, that's one of the things I do.
Q. Here we have some stats. With these two sets today, you have beaten John McEnroe. You have 50 straight sets in a row winning.
RAFAEL NADAL: How many did he have?
Q. He had 49. Those are some crazy numbers. You're 34 years old.
RAFAEL NADAL: I'm in the quarterfinals in Madrid. That's where I am right now. I'm happy to have made it to the quarterfinals. These moments I don't go out there and think about these kind of things. I just think about my opponent, what I have to do to keep on going. That's all.
When my career is over, these are things that are going to be there for always. They are big records. It's difficult to be able to win 50 sets in a row. But I've done it. Well, it's done. It's over. Let's not talk about that any more and let's continue on what we have ahead which is what I am concerned about.
Q. Having a look at Thiem's season, with crazy numbers on clay, do you think he is one of the toughest opponents on this surface?
RAFAEL NADAL: Right now, for sure, because he's the one I have to face tomorrow. This is what we have today. After that, things we cannot see in the future. I am not saying just in front of you guys, but I say it because I feel it that way. The most dangerous opponent is the one you have to face the next day. After that there are times where there is an opponent that perhaps is tougher, maybe some moments it was Djokovic.
Today it's not very clear. I just try to do my part, to walk my path. I know that there are players with a lot of potential that perhaps still haven't reached that level or that consistency that we've had during so many years. They truly have the potential. One day they will be very dangerous.
Tomorrow might be one of those days that I'm going to play one of the best players of the world. Of course, he is one of the best players of the world because the ranking speaks for itself.
But on this surface, he's one of the most dangerous players you can face, one of the ones that have a lot of possibilities to succeed. Tomorrow is a key match in the tournament. It's one of the matches where I have to be a step ahead.
Well, I think I'm prepared for that step, but I have to do it tomorrow.
Q. We always talks about records or stats. You say you don't look at them. Is there any record that the press has told you that was important for you, that you valued during all your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: Of course, yes. Some more than others. I'm not going to think now which records do I have because I don't remember. But when you achieve things that are unique, it's always special. Yeah, there are some records that make me happy, that excite me. I think I was, I don't know, during X years the player that managed to win more Grand Slams in a row, winning Roland Garros for how many years. There are just things that are special. They mean you have been able to maintain a level for a lot of years, a level of consistency mentally and tennis-wise.
But there are other things, I look at them day after day. Things happen, of course. Of course, I like them. It's not that I don't look at today's record. It's a record that when I'm 34 years old, we know how difficult it is to achieve it.
First of all, I'm in the middle of a tournament. I'm focused here. Secondly, yesterday I didn't want to play thinking that today I had to win these two sets to be able to achieve this record. Today I just had to go out there to win this match in either two sets or three sets, doesn't matter.
None of these things are on my mind. I don't want these things to not let be me focused. I have to play my match with all things possible. If I succeed and achieve the record, that's good.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
• Manolo Santana receives a Real Madrid t-shirt, on the occasion of his 80th birthday from former soccer player Emilio Butragueno and Rafa Nadal
Photos: Madrid Open; Getty Images; REUTERS; AP; EFE; EPA; Anadolu Agency; Quality Sport Images; NurPhoto
• Rafa and Emilio Butragueño pay homage to Manolo Santana on his 80th birthday + On-court Interview
• Post-match interview
• Press conference