PHOTOS/VIDEO: 2019 US Open R3 Rafael Nadal vs. Hyeon Chung
2019 US Open R3 Rafael Nadal bt. Hyeon Chung 6-3 6-4
Next opponent - Marin Cilic
Q. You will have played six sets in the first eight days of the tournament. With obviously a walkover. Do you feel that makes you not match tough going into the second week? RAFAEL NADAL: You never know what's better or worse, no? From here, the main thing, I am happy to be where I am. I'm in the fourth round, and that's the main thing.
Now is the moment to push, to make a step forward if I want to give me a chance to fight for the important things. That's what I going to try. That's all.
Sorry for Thanasi in the second day. Honestly tough for a player like him, that he's very young and he already had plenty of issues, physical issues. Tough, and I hope it's not too bad.
But for me personally, in some way, I will prefer to play the match. In some way is true that you save energy. So you never know what's the best thing.
Q. You have had some great times here but you have also had some hardships and some pain. How do you feel this year? You look healthy. Great shape. Does it feel different for you or too early to tell? RAFAEL NADAL: Well, honestly I had the first three months of the season, three, four months of the season very hard, too many issues again.
And then it's true that since Barcelona, things have been improving. I was able to fix a little bit the body and play more or less with freedom of movements. That's give me the chance to compete at the highest level again. And most important thing, enjoy the sport. That's the main thing in this stage of my career more than anything else.
Let's see. I don't think remain a lot of events for me this year. Just couple of ones. This one is one of the ones that you want to be ready.
So here I am to try my best and I'm going to put my 100% to try to be ready for the next round.
Q. If I have it right, your foundation and your academies work with young people and children from India to Spain to Mexico. Just the other day we saw that wonderful moment where you were comforting that little boy in the autograph area there. Could you just take a moment and talk about what happened, what is going on, what your feelings were with that little kid. RAFAEL NADAL: I think, as always when somebody who is famous do stuff like this, seems like it's amazing, but for me personally is just a very normal thing. When you see a kid that he's suffering in the middle of a multitude of people, he was not able to breathe well. So he lost a little bit the breath. I just tried to help him, to relax and to come back to the normal situation.
He was crying and it's not about crying. He felt, you know, bad in that moment. That's all.
I was happy that I saw him with that situation and I was able to pull him out from the middle of all the people.
Q. In the next round you're going to play two pretty big servers, either Isner or Cilic. What's the key in trying to return their serves, trying to stay in their service games? Do you have a key? Is there something that's going to work that you're going to try to do against them? RAFAEL NADAL: The key is play well. That simple. If I am playing well, I going to have hopefully my chances to return a couple of points and give me chances.
I know against big servers like them, chances are not a lot, so you need to be ready to expect a very tough one. But I need to be focused with my serve, as always. I need to be ready to accept the challenge that brings the competition in days like these ones. And I hope to be ready to play my highest level, because that's what I going to need.
Q. It was a pretty comfortable victory for you today. What do you take out of this victory today that you can bring into your next match against either Cilic or Isner? RAFAEL NADAL: I didn't face a breakpoint. That's a positive thing. And the best thing is without playing great, playing a normal match, I was able to have a very comfortable score. So that means a lot of things, and positive ones.
Q. We have been listening to Novak Djokovic talking about this gluten-free diet. Then Roger Federer and Coco Gauff eating every other day pasta, whatever it was. What about you? Because just yesterday Benito invited me to celebrate my birthday, he say, Rafa is not going to eat any meat and any cheese. I didn't ever know about this. Didn't find out that you don't eat and why you don't and since when? RAFAEL NADAL: I don't eat cheese. I never eat cheese in all my life. I don't like (smiling).
Q. What about meat? RAFAEL NADAL: The meat, I eat meat when I want to eat meat. I have nothing against the meat.
Q. Benito told me, He doesn't eat meat. I don't know. RAFAEL NADAL: I prefer fish. That's all. No, but I don't have big problems with diet. I eat what I want to eat. And of course the diet is important for life and for stay healthy.
But for me personally, I try to do -- I think I improved during all these years in this thing, but let's say is not the part of my work that I'm more professional. I have a very normal diet. No, nothing really special. Just trying to eat more or less healthy, especially when I am on the tour. But when I am on holidays, when I am at home, I really eat what a normal...
Q. What about Italian, parmesan cheese, or no? RAFAEL NADAL: That's for you, Ubaldo, that you -- well, you really don't need it (laughter).
Q. Your slice backhand and your slice backhand volleys were working very, very well today. Is that the pattern part of your success this summer? RAFAEL NADAL: No, I mean, when you face players like Chung, they are very solid from the baseline and they like to hit the ball always. At the same point is important to change a little bit the rhythm of the point, no?
And the slice backhand is a way to change the dynamic of the point and to create some difficulties to him or try to play high balls, combine it with lower balls.
Is true I play very high balls. Is difficult against him because the ball is coming flat and is not easy to play with a lot of spin. So is important to take, to use the slice backhand. If you hit a good slice backhand, then sometimes you have the chance to go for an aggressive shot, no? If not, when you are in a rally and you face a player that plays flat, long, so is difficult to change the dynamic of the point.