F. VERDASCO/I. Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Fernando.
Q. Obviously a straightforward win. What pleased you about the way you played today?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I’m happy. Always the first match is tough, and the beginning of the match, also, was like a little bit hard to get the conditions. The court was fast. Not too much clay. You know, it was a little bit, you know, difficult to get used to it, but after a few games, I started feeling better.
And also, you know, every set I was getting more and more confident. In the third set, I finished playing really good. My feelings was good.
Q. Obviously yesterday Richard Gasquet was playing in five sets on a Monday. He had problems with fatigue. How much of a difference is that extra day? Because you also played on Saturday. Was it helpful to have that extra day rest?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I don’t know. I didn’t play yesterday. I cannot answer that, but I think that maybe yeah, have 24 hours more. But you have 24 more hours to rest and to recover. Maybe it’s the difference to win or lose or maybe not. I don’t know. I cannot tell you that. Maybe he will play today and he will lose, also. I cannot answer that. Nobody knows.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish, please.
Q. Many players said that it’s a slippery court. What would you say about this?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, absolutely. This is a faster court this year, absolutely. I didn’t realize anything was wrong with the balls. If you hit the balls strongly, if you give them a special spin, if you put all of your strength into your shots, the balls bounce back correctly.
I don’t think that there’s less bouncing and there’s less earth on the court, so for those used to fast serves or those used to other surfaces, it’s different.
Q. You have not been able to practice much in the recent past. Is that a problem?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, yesterday I played and practiced for an hour. I don’t know if I need to play one, two, or three hours, but I was on the courts quite often. Of course, I’ve got to practice a lot but not too much. I don’t want to be too tired so as to have feelings quite quickly, and then I keep what I need to keep for the match. I don’t need to practice for hours and hours after so many matches.
Q. Would you say you enjoy this victory today? How’s that? I think it’s important to play in Paris after playing in Nice last week.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: I’m very, very happy to have won the match during this first round, because I played better with time. Of course, I gained more confidence as the sets were going by.
And also, sets fly by, you’re more relaxed, you unwind, and you can win more quickly. I’m really happy because now it’s going to be the second round and I’m still waiting are to the other match to finish because they’re still playing.
Q. What type of reactions would you expect from the crowd? To start with, they were quite indifferent. And afterward they put their hands together for you.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: No, no problem for me today. Of course you expect the worst all the time. If it’s worst you’re not going to be disappointed, not badly surprised. But, no, there’s nothing I can add about this. Of course, what I wanted to say I said it during the release. That’s all I had to say.
Q. I think you’ve written something. Who’s this for?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: No. Other question.
Q. You’ve said you’ve played quite a lot on clay.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: No, I’ve played many matches.
Q. Do you think it’s negative or not, playing too much before you play at Roland Garros?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: I don’t think so. We’ll wait, wait and see. We’ll see if this was negative or not. I’m quite optimistic. I think everything is going to go on smoothly.
Q. Without giving us all the details about Sunday, with this season you’ve played, I think you’ve had some problems lately. Has this had an impact today?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, the bad news always have an impact, not just for me. That’s the case for many people. But there’s nothing I want to add about this incident. What was to be said was said. There’s nothing I want to add about this incident.
Q. How do you feel today? Do you feel good?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Yes. I’m fit.
Q. You look very serious today.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: No, you always ask me questions about this incident. I said I don’t want to add anything. I will not answer. That’s all. If you keep on asking the same questions, I’ll answer the same answer, and then I get fed up.
Q. Do you feel fit like you can win this tournament?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I feel good. I think this could be a good tournament for me. Now, I don’t know if I’m going to win or not. There’s a long way to go. I could perhaps be in the round of 16 against Almagro, and then the draw is really a tough draw for me. I don’t know if I’m going to win this tournament or not, because I can’t say this today. Yet I have confidence. I’ll do my best so that the tournament is a good tournament for me.
Q. Nadal and some of the press, the Spanish press, say you are well placed for a good tournament. Would you say that this impresses you or it has no impact on you?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, if I’m considered as one of the favorites, it’s something good. It’s pleasant. Of course it was a good feeling, but that’s about it.
Everybody says that Rafa is “the” No. 1 favorite, and I’m glad when I hear this, that he’s the greatest winner. Of course, everybody is trying to put some pressure off their own shoulders, but I’m not that much interested in what the others say. Of course, if I’m considered as a favorite, I’ll try and live up to their expectations on the court. That’s all I can do.
Q. Now, be careful about this. Be careful about how you’re going to interpret my question. Now, you consider that the reason why you wanted to play the Nice tournament with this ankle problem you had, and then, you know, afterwards we had a match that lasted two hours and 40 minutes, my question is: Why did you want to play the Nice tournament?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I had signed in a long time ago. That’s my first reason. The second reason is that I wanted to play and play more and more matches. When I was in the tournament, I didn’t want to lose. That’s all. I never regret what I do. No, no, no, no, no regrets.
Q. After this season on clay, you’ve won everybody’s respect. This season is very busy, as you know. According to you, is Roland Garros the tournament you would really want to win?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: I think I have answered this question several times. My favorite tournament, as I’ve said here again, is Wimbledon. Roland Garros is a Grand Slam tournament, of course. If people ask me if I want to win, yes, of course, everybody wants to win Roland Garros. If you say no, you don’t want to win Roland Garros, you’re totally crazy. Of course, I’d like to win Roland Garros. But Wimbledon, I’ve always said that Wimbledon was “the” tournament. It’s given me more satisfaction than even Madrid.
Roland Garros, however, will remain Roland Garros, and if I can win Roland Garros, excellent. If I win Wimbledon, even better.
Q. Throughout the tournament, I hope everything is going to go on very nicely, that your feelings will be good with the crowd.
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Well, I’ve answered this question already. I’ve said what I wanted to say after these events. Those who are not happy, I don’t mind. I’m going to play tennis, that’s all. I’m not going to say anything else on the court. I’m not going to say anything against anybody. I’m here to play tennis and that’s all, and to play my best Roland Garros.