PHOTOS/VIDEO: 2021 Australian Open R2 Rafael Nadal vs. Michael Mmoh
2021 Australian Open R2 Rafael Nadal bt. Michael Mmoh 6-1 6-4 6-2
Next - Cameron Norrie
Rafael Nadal: “I did things well, things that of course I could do better but happy for the victory. The goal was done today.”
“I think tonight has been a very positive evening for me, winning in straight sets and great news for everything. For me, just to focus, to try to be ready for what’s next, which is going to be more difficult.”
“Of course, when I was younger I was able to run everywhere, now I need to have better shots,”
“The backhand is an important shot for me. When I’m playing well, the court opens up for me, I can produce angles with the forehand. When the backhand is working well, I play much better.”
Some quotes from Rafa's press conference in Spanish:
Q.: Congrats for your victory. How have you felt re:your back in today's match & yesterday's? Have you noticed any evolution w.r.t. the 1st day? From outside it's very difficult, if not impossible, to see it.
Rafa: "I'm serving with a much less aggressive motion and the average speed is lower than usual, both in the 1st & 2nd serve. I'm serving with a slice serve and for now it's working well. That is, I haven't suffered much on my serve.
As for the back, in the way I've served, I've managed to keep it going. Question is, I'm aware today I've been able to make a motion more relaxed & without forcing because the match, in all honesty & humility & with the utmost respect for my rival, hasn't demanded more from me.
So, what I had was enough & hasn't caused me any stress. However, I know that won't be enough for the future or for my real goal here. For now, we keep it going, but the evolution of the back hasn't been as satisfactory as I'd like, that's the truth, but we keep on trying things.
Every day we try new things looking for solutions & see if any of them is the click that changes the feelings completely. We're going to keep on fighting & working because, while I'm alive in the tournament, there is always a chance for things to get better.
On my part, what is in my power, I'm doing things well. That is, the 2 matches where I couldn't afford mistakes in focus & game that could extend the match & thus could mean to say goodbye to the tournament, I've performed well, closing them quite fast & efficiently.
And this was the goal I talked about the 1st day. I had to survive in the first rounds, which I've done it. I'm aware that next I'll have to face a rival with a high level & I have to try to be a little better than what I am today.
I don't pretend to be perfect, but I do need to be a little better as far as feelings is concerned. Tomorrow is a day to try to look for another solution & that's what we're gonna do. Let's see if we're able to find what we need for the future."
Q.: On the same subject, medically, is there a solution? Are you really waiting for a big evolution, so that your chances in the tournament change or are we waiting for a miracle? I guess you've talked about it with Angel [Ruiz-Cotorro] and he must have given you some options...
Rafa: "Obviously, current circumstances are unfortunate and of course I believe that, for the sake of confidence & peace of mind, Angel being here would perhaps help me in a more definitive way. But I must also say that here I have a group of doctors who are in touch with Angel.
We're not waiting for a miracle, we're just waiting for things to improve. It's 18-19 days that I've been so and it's not just the back issue, it is also that my preparation has been shortened. Anyway, it's not time to lament, but to look ahead, look for solutions.
Tomorrow we're gonna try several new things & let's see if we find a solution. I think there are chances to solve the issue, but tomorrow will be key because if the treatments we're gonna try tomorrow don't provide an improvement, we'll really be at the limit."
Photos: Getty Images; AAP; REUTERS; Tennis Australia; EFE; AFP; REX
• Last game & On-court interview
• Press conference
Q.Do you want to tell us your thoughts on tonight's match, please.
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. Have been of course a positive victory for me, because I was able to win in straight sets. I did things well, things that of course I could do better but happy for the victory.
The goal was done today.
Q.Your thoughts on what happened towards the end of the second set with the woman and giving you the finger and all that?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know, no? Eh? No, wasn't me. Eh?
Yeah, yeah, was to me I think.
No, no. I don't know. Maybe she taked too much gin or tequila. I don't know. But honestly was strange situation, but, yeah, funny at the same time.
You know, sometimes there is people for everything around the world (smiling).
Q.Obviously that never happened to you before, but were you a little bit shocked when it happened?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. For me was funny (smiling). Honestly, somebody doing the finger to me with, I don't know the reason, but was -- yeah. I was surprised, yes, but at the same time was thinking, Poor girl. Because probably she was drunk or something like this. I don't know.
Q.Have you got the back spasms under control now? What is the situation with that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not under control, honestly. No, I am keep doing the things that I can. If you see my motion on the serve is different than what I would like, but I am trying to find solutions every day. I just keep fighting for find a solution.
Of course, yeah, the preparation the last 15 days have not been the ideal one, but here I am. I won two matches in straight sets. I have another opportunity to be on court in two days, and I have tomorrow to keep doing things and trying to find solutions for my back.
We are doing everything possible to try to be better and better and still alive. So still alive, still hope to be better and to try to be competitive. Let's see. Gonna be a good test against Norrie.
Q.Your solutions could include reaching out to a good friend who has gone through the same things in Tiger. Would you consider doing that, like reaching out to him for suggestions, tips?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I am talking to him, it's something between him and me, and that's it. Sorry for that. I can't say private conversations here.
Q.What are your thoughts on Norrie?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, he won two good matches. Winning against Evans -- honestly I don't know his opponent tonight. I don't know him, but I know how good is Evans.
He came to the tournament winning the week before, so Norrie was able to beat him. Lefty. Good player. He has experience on the tour already. Gonna be the toughest test, without a doubt.
I need to be playing at high level if I want to keep having chances to be through. And I am looking forward to try to make that happen.
Q.How would you describe your philosophy about dealing with pain? How has it changed, if at all, during your career?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, when things happens, that's the only thing that you can do is accept it and keep going.
I always try to be fighting until I cannot anymore, and that was my philosophy during all my tennis career, no? Just keep fighting until I am not able to do my job anymore.
In this tournament will be the same. There is time to try to find solutions, and that's what we are trying. The solutions that we tried until that moment didn't work enough. Tomorrow we're gonna keep trying things.
Q.You have never played Cam Norrie before. He has nothing to lose. Does that make him quite a dangerous opponent, because he could just go out there and hit the ball freely?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, that's a philosophy, nothing to lose. But at the same time, he has a match to lose or to win, the same like me (smiling).
I mean, we are in the third round of Grand Slam. I cannot expect an easy opponent in front. Norrie will not be an easy opponent. So I know he has a great level of tennis, and I gonna try to be ready for the challenge. Gonna be a good test for me, and at the same time I need to play tough matches to be ready, no, and to be tested. Against Norrie will be one of these ones.
I am hoping to have a good practice tomorrow and be ready. That's it.
Q.You were asked about your backhand just right after the match, but I'm just curious, I have seen you use a backhand slice a lot in the past when you play on hard court and you predominantly played your two-handed backhand tonight. Is part of that trying to save energy and manage the back, or was that just because of good feelings with the two-hander in the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing is 100% prepared. So I just tried to play the way that I feel in every match or in every moment. I like to use the slice backhand, but today I feel comfortable with topspin backhand too, no? Or even a little bit flatter.
I don't know. I just feel that the slice backhand is a very important and good solution for a lot of moments. Tonight I didn't feel that I need that solution. I tried to play with the things that I thought that would work, and that's it, no? Of course is an important shot for me.