Rafael Nadal's state of health ahead of the Madrid event has not been ideal. The Mallorcan player explained he is suffering an otitis which is very painful, he said during his pre-tournament press conference on Monday. 'Happened on Friday night. I woke up 3 in the morning with pain on the ear. I am still practicing. But today little bit better than yesterday. But still bothering me. Is something new for me. I never had. Is something that it really bothers a lot because is pain all around and on the head. Sometimes you get dizzy little bit with that. But it's fine. I visit the doctor two days ago. Is nothing important. Just takes little bit long, few days. Hopefully going to be good. I supposed to play Tuesday. That was the idea, I think. That was my goal. But with that probably going to be much better play Wednesday,' revealed Nadal, who will face Fabio Fognini.
About Novak Djokovic splitting with his team, Nadal said: 'No opinion. What he thinks is better for him, well done. That's it. I think everybody's free to do what feels is better for them in every moment.'
The Spaniard also spoke about two things on which he is working a lot during practice sessions: volleys and second serve. 'I've been playing quite a lot recently. It's always the same. I think since a couple of years ago till now, I'm playing volleys much better. The fact when you feel you're playing good, it makes it easy that you just walk up to the net. When those things happen, well, I think that my statistics, the percentage at the net, and I win the match, are very favorable, are quite high.'
About his second serve, Nadal said he thought about hitting it with more speed, adding at the same time, 'We don't have to be crazy about it or start to analyze things that perhaps now I'm doing better. Basically what I'm doing better or what I've been doing better for the last couple of months is that I've been playing way better than what I did in 2015. Last year I had an injury, but I was playing well, too. My game now is not so good. My game before was not so bad. You don't have to lie to yourself. There are just things you try to develop, try to have evolution with. You just need goals and motivation. You have to just train with joy. But, yes, I'm trying to hit my second serves a little bit harder. Apparently it's working. It's a little bit easier to try things when the results are there. Maybe you can make decisions to change things in your game, with the speed, second serve, whatever it is.'
Just about his last bad years, the world no. 5 said that the criticism towards him was a little bit exaggerated: 'It's normal that people speak and have opinions, but you also have to analyze things, especially writers have to do it. I never went beyond the ninth or tenth position. When I was injured for half a season I didn't leave top ten, so you need to see things with a different perspective.'
He finally ended with a smile speaking about Roger Federer's absence in the clay-courts season: 'Of course I won't miss Federer in Madrid,' admitted Nadal, who lost thrice to the Swiss player this year. 'But for fans and tournament, when Roger plays is always a great news.'