PHOTOS/VIDEO: 2021 Australian Open R3 Rafael Nadal vs. Cameron Norrie
2021 Australian Open R3 Rafael Nadal bt. Cameron Norrie 7-5 6-2 7-5
Next - Fabio Fognini
Rafa: ”These are my first matches in a lot of time. I already had three matches that I hope will help me for what is coming. I hope to be ready for Monday.”
“All the matches are tough and [Norrie] came here after winning a couple of very good matches. I didn’t convert the opportunities that I had at the beginning of every set, so then the situation became a little more difficult. I had a lot of chances with a couple of 0/30 [leads] and break points that I didn’t convert. [When] you play against the best players in the world, it is normal that you are going to suffer a little bit.”
“We played a lot of times [and Fognini] beat me a couple of times. He came here after an injury, so he will be hungry to play well. [It was] a very impressive victory today against De Minaur. I saw [it was] in straight sets, so he will come into the match with plenty of confidence. I need to keep improvement. You don’t expect an easy round in the Round of 16. It is going to be a tough one. I need to be ready for it and I hope this can happen.” (via ATP)
Photos: Getty Images; AAP; AFP; EFE
• Last game & On-court interview
• Press conference
Q.Another straight-set win to get into the round of 16. Were you happy with your performance tonight?
RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, yeah, I did things well, things that I need to improve. Something normal.
But, yeah, happy of course. Second week, straight sets. Can't complain.
Q.Is your back getting better each day, getting better, you're feeling more confident, more comfortable?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, the back was not getting better each day. Was getting better today (smiling). But today is better, yeah. First day I feel an improvement, and that's the most important thing for me today, more than any other thing.
Q.You said you adjusted, after the first match, you said you were serving a little differently. Were you back to your old service motion?
RAFAEL NADAL: I want to try, yeah. I need to come back to my normal serving. I was serving quite well.
So of course I was not serving my normal serve for the last 15 days. Today is the first day that I started to serve again my normal serve. But yesterday I didn't practice, so today just warming up with the new, with the normal movement. So of course I didn't serve bad, but I can do better, I think. And I'm looking forward to do it better, no?
Have been an important victory for me. The biggest victory is the back is better for the first day. So that's the most important thing.
Q.For young players like Cameron, it seems like it's a big leap from top 32 to the second week top 16. What makes that, do you think, so difficult? If my memory serves, you made it to the fourth round the first time here in 2005. Many, many Grand Slams ago. But is there a big difference, a big learning curve?
RAFAEL NADAL: From 32 to 16?
Q.Yeah. Or is it a mental barrier to try to get...
RAFAEL NADAL: No, is not a mental barrier. I think is a level barrier. You need to have -- when you are in the third round you can be and you can be in the round of 16, without a doubt. No, no, all the matches are -- you can win all the matches, no. Depends of course on the draw a little bit.
But, no, no, I don't see why he can't go to that next step. No, no, he can do it, of course.
Q.What were your general impressions of him?
RAFAEL NADAL: Good. No, I think have been a good opponent. He's brave. Yeah, his serve worked quite well, especially the first serve.
And then he has a very flat backhand, that today with that heavy conditions, ball was quite slow, court fast, so that helps a little bit to him.
And, yeah, I think he has a complete game, no, no.
Q.When you say the back is feeling better today, is it less pain? Is it more movement?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's less pain. That's all.
Q.I was just wondering if you watched Novak's match last night and saw his kind of struggles? Just generally, if you did watch it, what were your thoughts on how he kind of came back and won? And for the wider tournament how encouraging is it for the rest of the field to see an eight-time champion struggling like that?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don't like to have a lot of opinions on other matches, no? Anyone has his personal feelings.
Of course have been a very strange match. But I can't have an opinion, because I don't know what's he's feeling because for two sets looks like he's going to retired and then in the fifth I think he played quite normal a lot of points.
I don't know. A strange feeling for me like a spectator. But that's it. He found a way to win, so well done.
Q.On Cam's game, he's a guy kind of hovering around kind of the 60 mark of the ranking. What would you say perhaps he could work on or improve to sort of try and get higher up, closer to kind of 20 or 30? Anything that you kind of particularly saw?
RAFAEL NADAL: Everybody can go to that level. No, no, it's always about how much you are able to improve, no?
I don't know what's his ranking today, honestly, but when you are 50 or 40 or 60, of course you can go to the next step. Why not? Is sometimes the ranking makes a big change with a couple of matches per year, no? There is a couple key matches per year that creates a big difference on the year-end ranking.
So these kind of matches can decide if you're gonna be 30 or you're gonna be 55, for example, no? Because there is a big gap of points in some key matches.
His level, I mean, is good. He has a lot of positive things. If he's able to keep improving, why not? I don't see why he can't reach that level.
Q.How would you describe Fabio as a player and a personality?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, personality, I don't have to -- I don't need to have an opinion, no? I have a very good relationship for him. Of course we had our story on court a couple of years ago, but no problem at all after that, no? I always try to have a good relationship with everybody in the locker room, no? The life is much happier like this, no?
And with Fabio, I never had a big problem. Just on court that time. I was speaking with him now in the locker. So like a player, he's one of the most talented players on tour with a lot of amazing things.
When he's playing well, he's one of the most dangerous opponents on tour without a doubt, no? Today he had an amazing victory against a great opponent, so will be a very tough match. But I hope to be ready for it.