Q. In previous days you said feelings had got better. What are your feelings today?
Rafa: The best day. They've got not only better, but much better. There are weeks where getting wins give you confidence to keep on winning. There are other weeks that are difficult, though. This week has been a difficult week for me, specially at the beginning of the week, but I think I've already done the most difficult thing, which is to set a positive basis to be able to move forward. A few days ago the situation was much more difficult. As of today, I think things are utterly different. I've enjoyed playing tennis again. I've lost against a rival who is top-level on this surface. I've been competitive till the end. Only thing missing has been to have played more matches like this one, I think, in order to have a more clear chance of victory. As for the rest, I believe I've set an important basis to be able to aim at what's to come.
Q. Comparing with the Thiem you played last year in RG, Madrid or in another opportunities, what can you tell about him today? has his tennis level been different tactically? have you noticed he's been more aggressive than in previous meetings?
Rafa: Thiem is always good. It's always the same thing... when someone wins or another one loses, tactical reasons are sought and it's normal that you seek them, as you have to write. Today he's played very well. I haven't played badly, I've simply lacked confidence and a little bit of more time to have been able to consolidate what I've been able to do today. And my opinion is that Dominic is very good, as always.
Q. Rafa, taking into account that you're pleased with the defeat...
Rafa: No, not pleased with the defeat. I'm pleased for having played well and for having found myself on court. Obviously, I'd be very stupid if I were pleased with the defeat.
Q. What I mean is that, all in all, you're leaving with your head high. I don't know if you have the feeling that you've almost got it.
Rafa: No. I haven't almost got it. He's had the score advantage. Tennis wise, there is one thing that I've done very bad today and that's been to serve. I've served badly and I think that's what has made a difference because he was starting the point with his serve better than me. In the rest I think things have been quite leveled, but the serve has made the difference. He was starting the points with an advantage, while I was starting with none. So, the difference has been there. I think the fact of having started to fail with my 2nd serves has limited my confidence in the 1st serve because I was afraid of making errors with it. I believe that's been one of the keys of the match. Apart from that, I've felt my level was quite high.
Q. Fognini in MC, Thiem here. They are 2 of the best players on clay and in addition have shown they're capable of competing with you. Does the fact that it's been them who have defeated you in the first 2 clay tournaments make the defeat less painful or losing is losing, irrespective of the rival?
Q. I mean, if you had been defeated by other players, instead of Fognini & Thiem, would you have felt more pressure or felt worse for the loss?
Rafa: Do you know? in the end, at this point in my career, all those things matter less. When you're younger you care more about this kind of things, like to whom you lose or don't lose. At this point, I know what I am, I know more or less what I'm capable of doing and not doing and I know that if I'm at my best level, I'm capable of aiming at everything, specially on this surface. Thus, do losses affect more or less depending on to whom you lose? No. I'm not going to tell you that for being Fognini or Thiem top-level rivals the defeats hurt less. The defeat to Fognini hurt as if I had lost to the player #500 because the way I lost was unfortunate. Today it's been a different defeat, not because of the rival but because of the tennis level, as I think today's the first day in the 8 matches I've played so far on clay that I've felt I was at the level or at the beginning of the level I have to aim at to be able to achieve the goals I want to achieve. And, above all, to play happy and with the required energy. Then, it will happen whatever will happen and I'll be here to accept it, whatever it is.