Q. We want to know how do you feel? I think that you have a process as some kind of flu. I want to know how you are in order to face tomorrow's match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, more than a complicated week. It's been a positive week. I have been training well. It is one of the weeks I have felt really well playing on clay. It's true that we are Monday. No, we are Tuesday, sorry, Tuesday. Sunday I woke up not very well with a virus on my stomach.
I came here to make the picture with David. I had to go back to the hotel then and yesterday I trained a little bit and today I have trained a little bit more. A little bit better day after day.
It's true -- I'm not going to lie to you -- I still have strange feeling or a not super positive feeling, talking about my body health because, as you know, I have been going through a virus. And well, the positive side is I have been able to train at least an hour-and-a-half and I hope that tomorrow it's going to be a bit better, I'm going to improve. Today, I'm a bit better than yesterday and yesterday was better than the day before. So I hope that tomorrow I will continue to improve. But it's true that when you have this virus and stomach viruses, the body's a bit more weak at the beginning. It's at a bit more risk of injuries or stuff. But, of course, it's very important tournament for me and I hope to be ready.
I think I've done the thing in the right way, the positive way and I'm feeling good. So, hopefully, this is not going to affect my performance or how I should play tomorrow.
Q. Your opponent is Felix Auger-Aliassime tomorrow. You haven't played against him, but he is in a good moment. How do you see tomorrow's match?
RAFAEL NADAL: He is a complicated opponent. He's young. He's played a couple of matches on clay this year already so he's going to be a difficult opponent. So, at the end, for him here, everything is more even, due to the altitude, the conditions.
I have to be fit. I have to be with a positive attitude and hopefully my physical side will be there and then I will have to play tennis and if I play my tennis well, I'll have possibilities and that is what I'm doing right now, what I'm trying to do.
Q. During all your life you have had a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure on results. The fact of making it for the first time to this tournament without a title on clay, does it put more pressure on you? Is it the same as always? Or do you have more anxiety to do well here?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, not really. I would have liked to come here with four titles on clay in my bag but no more pressure on my shoulders. I know everything that has happened to me during these last 18 months, which I'm not going to explain now. Some things you know, others you don't.
Physically talking, well I try to do my best, look at the positive things, go step by step, look at the positive side of everything.
And talking about Barcelona, I think it was a positive improvement for me and from thereon the trainings, I have been feeling better than the week in Barcelona and I think I'm on the right path. Whatever might happen tomorrow, we will see.
But my feeling in general, you know, despite the stomach problems in the last days, I think that I'm more confident, I have more confidence in my body and I think I'm building up my game with more confidence and I'm feeling much better than two weeks ago when we started Monte-Carlo, so that has been a really good improvement for me.
I'm again enjoying training and I enjoy playing each day and this is a very important step for me.
And talking about the rest, if I can play well here, or not, well, or here or in Rome, we will see. We will see if I play good here, or in Rome or in Paris. I'm conscious that the main thing is to have the confidence on my body, to recover the confidence on my body. And if I manage to recover that, I have the confidence that I'm going to have my options to win and the other opponents are going to have it tough against me.
Q. I want you to talk about Roland Garros. Talking about that confidence, how important do you think it is to go to Roland Garros having won one or two tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's better to have won two or three tournaments before Roland Garros, but I don't think I need to win another tournament before. I need to get there in good shape and playing a good tennis level. If that happens, I know that my options are going to be there. And if that not happens, I will not have options, if I had won titles before or not, despite I had won titles.
Q. For the majority of your opponents, you are the favorite player to win this tournament. Do you see it that way?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, I don't see myself as favorite. I'm just focussing on the tournament as I focus all the other ones. I have a tough match tomorrow morning against a young opponent who has a lot of potential and that's my tournament right now. The rest, we will see what happens afterwards.
Q. You are talking about recovering feelings, about feeling well on the court. I don't know what would be your percentage? How do you see yourself if you could give yourself a percentage of your fitness levels?
RAFAEL NADAL: I wanted to feel better on the other tournaments that I have played, physically talking, of course. But where I haven't been able to give my 100 percent and when those things happen, you have to accept it and you have to live with it. I have experience of doing that and from hereon, my feelings are quite good right now, given the circumstances of the whole season which is not bad. But many things have happened already.
And I'm just waiting to continue working on the same path as last week and continue working. And if I manage to keep the same path during the next two or three weeks, then I think that I'm going to be in a good position.
Q. This is a very special tournament, especially because Roger Federer is back and David Ferrer is retiring in this tournament. He is going to play in a couple of hours. What feelings do you have about these two?
RAFAEL NADAL: It is one of the most important tournaments in the world and is played in our country and this is the reality. Then we might have other extra factors that might happen which are going to give him a lot of advertisement, a lot of noise, let's say. And whatever the event is, the fact that David is leaving in this tournament, I think is bad news for the Spanish sport in general and for tennis in general, of course. But it is his decision.
Of course, it's going to be a very emotional moment. I think it's going to be sad for all of us because even though it is his decision, for the rest of us it is also sad to change times. But it's an emotional moment.
Federer is back. That is good news for the tournament, for sure. And for the followers, too.
Q. Last year Nike were saying your contract was finalizing at the end of 2018. We would like to know what your situation is with Nike. Are you going to renew the contract, or what are you going to do with Nike?
RAFAEL NADAL: I understand your question, but I have never spoken about these things in public. The contract, the private contract that I have, are private, private for me, and I'm not going to share them and I'm not going to tell you when I'm finishing one contract or another one. It's something that is between myself and Nike and that's the end of it, period.
Q. I wanted to ask you -- the prizes between women and men are not equal. Why do you have think that feminine players receive smaller compensation than male players? Why do you think that happens?
RAFAEL NADAL: Actually, I don't know. I don't know what they do in football, or in golf, or on catwalks, why do women make more money? In that case, we are not talking all the time between the difference between men and women. I understand your question, but we are up to a moment that we are always talking about this kind of question and we are kind of looking to try and make noise.
And from my point of view, I try to avoid this hypocrisy and these kind of questions, with normally I understand. And sometimes even though I answer in a way which I think it is positively, you and the press sometimes, without criticizing, sometimes you have more interest in not understanding what I'm saying than what I'm really saying so I'm not going to answer about this topic because I think I have already answered in correct manner and sometimes you kind of change my words.
Of course, I have a mom, I have a sister, and those are some of the few most loved in this world, so from my point of view, I would like equal. Not only I would like that in men, but women have equal opportunities and equal rights. Whoever wins more money or less money, it's something that in some aspects of life and we are talking about labor. Women will make more money in some places and men will make more money on other jobs. And you know what, we have to take is that not for being man or women, you win more or less money. You win more or less money. You make more or less money because of the quality of your work or your capacity to sell and all of the rest, I'm sorry, is hypocrisy and I'm not going to talk anymore about that.
You take my words and then you say something else to what I said, so I'm not going to say anything else.
Q. Something you said there, you didn't want to talk about being favorite. Novak Djokovic yesterday said that on a clay tournament you are always favorite, especially here in Madrid. I don't know if you feel any pressure or not? And then we also wanted to talk about the tweet that you posted yesterday on your account, can you talk about that tweet, too?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, what happened yesterday, I don't know if you saw it, there was an announcement -- I don't know if you saw it -- after my tweet. And then talking about being favorite in this tournament, look I'm nearly 33 years old. I have been here since I was 18 or 19 years old. Every year the same story. I come here every single day, I try to give my best, sometimes things work out, others don't.
The other ones look at me as a favorite. It's much better than if they looked at me as not being favorite. It's great news. And then the only favorite player is the one that on Sunday is going to be able to lift the trophy, that's the real story. All of the rest is just talk.
You have to write. We have to answer your questions. What do you want me to tell you? I come here to give my 100 percent. Yes, in the past, I have good results. I have regularly good results on clay during all my career. What has happened in the past it's in the past and it doesn't guarantee what will happen in the future.
Now, I just work to give my best and to try to fight to win every single match and after that, we will see what I can do.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Are you surprised or happy to see Roger play on clay again after some years? And do you hope that you might play him again on this surface after -- six years is the last clay court?
RAFAEL NADAL: It's his decision always and it's not about how I feel, it's about how the fans and the tournament feels about that. Of course, it is very positive news.
Q. I'd like to ask you something. You have a good relationship to Sascha Zverev. From the top guys you are the only player who hasn't had this crisis in his game in the younger years. What do you think, what is necessary to get out of this and become the best player you can be again? If it is necessary to have something like this as an experience to be even better afterwards?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nobody's the same. Everybody needs different processes and everybody works different. What Sascha needs -- I'm nobody to tell him what he needs. He has a great team around him, family around him. And probably he will receive the right advises for everything, for his education, for his tennis and for all the things that really matters on his life.
Tennis is just a part of the life of all of us. There are a lot of things that are more important than tennis in this world and that's it. It is not a drama, lose a couple of matches. He's a great player and he will fight for the most important things.
Q. Stan Wawrinka wrote a letter to The Times last week where he criticized people for staying silent over the Justin Gimelstob situation. I was wondering why you didn't feel you needed to come out and talk publicly about it when you were asked about it in Barcelona last week? And whether you'd be willing to talk about his situation now he's stepped down from the board?
RAFAEL NADAL: I just believe that we don't need to add more things about the problem I don't think or speak public or in the press about this stuff. It is a positive thing for our sport. So that's why I didn't want to answer or I didn't want to express my opinion in the press when I have been asked in Barcelona, that's all.
I think the last couple of months have been a lot of things going on in our sport, so I don't want to create more stories or more negative stories about our sport.
We have a great sport and what we all want is to keep having a great sport and speak only about the negative things in our sport is something that probably is not my job and is something that I don't want.
Things that need to be fixed needs to be fixed internally. And Justin did what he had to do, in my opinion. It's good that he didn't put the players in a position that we have to, or the council guys have to vote against or in his favor. In my opinion, that situation is good what happened.
Q. You said before on the political question that you like what Chris Kermode has done as president of the ATP. Maybe now there's a change in the board, do you think they should think again about his future?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, now Justin is out. Justin I think did a good job for the players' side for a long time and it is good that there is a chance. My opinion is now in the board. It is an opportunity to create some diversity now and to have somebody there that represents some of the players that were not represented there. We need somebody, in my opinion, just personal opinion, that speak Spanish, too, a Latin or Spanish guy. And it will be easier the communication with all the Latin American players and the Spanish players. There are not a few, there are a lot on the tour. It would be good to have diversity on the board, too.
And my opinion didn't change. I believed that why not, can be considered that Chris can continue doing the job that he's doing. I believe that will be something fair enough that they go back and they think about what is going on in the future in our sport and I always say the same.
When somebody come in they need a lot of time to understand all the things that's going on in our sport. When somebody knows already our sport for a while, it is easier to move forward and with all the things that we are going to happen in the next one or two years. I don't see, I say I don't see a big change on that place.
It'd maybe help, yes, why not. Chairman and CEO, I will like this structure, but I don't see a big change on that. But I say that all the time. That's it. Just my personal opinion. I don't have the power of the two, but that's my feeling, so it would be great if we analyze again. But this is a moment to calm down all the things and to have to go away in the process that things was well. We are agreed together on things and we will be good if communication between, you know, council, players, board are fluid again and that will be very helpful for our world of sport.
Q. You said that you don't like that when there are negative stories in the press, but can you understand that when Justin Gimelstob does something as bad as he did and very few people say anything that people outside of tennis think badly about the sport in general?
RAFAEL NADAL: What I don't like is to do the things with precipitation. What happened for me is the ideal thing and what that -- I didn't have to talk to the press to put pressure on Justin and undo what he did already.
My opinion now that he renounced was all the time the same. The ideal thing is he renounced to his job after what happened, for keep having a great image on our sport, that's all. I didn't want to talk about that before he did the move that already done, so that's my feeling, that's all. I don't want to increase the pressure on the things that can happen. My feeling is what happened is what should happen.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Photos: Getty Images; EFE; Europa press; Soccrates
Translated by Genny SS:
Each passing day he's felt better and hopes to feel even better tomorrow.
"Tennis wise, I'm in a good moment" - Rafa's happy with how his tennis tennis has evolved in the last 2 weeks. Much better feelings now than before starting Monte Carlo".
"After Indian Wells I went thru a big mental low"
"With all the injuries, my head said: enough"
He's said the problem is that with so many injuries in a row, you lose confidence in your body and also "you lose the daily motivation [you need to keep on working]"