MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal, the top seed and defending men’s champion, is unconcerned about his winless start to 2023 but believes he is well-positioned to win a third Australian Open title.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion won just one match since the US Open and the 36-year-old had to retire from a major at Wimbledon last year due to an abdominal injury before his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal is attempting to join Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer as the only men’s major winner above the age of 36.
“Well, it’s true that the last couple of months I was not able to play much tennis and at the beginning of the season I lost two matches in Sydney, but honestly, I am not unhappy with the preparation,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted the world No.2 saying in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“I need to win matches for sure. But the preparation is going quite well, practising a lot and I think I am in good shape. Then you need to demonstrate that in the matches, in the official tournaments. But I’m confident that if I am able to have this last week of positive practices, why not?” Nadal added.
Ultimate success at Melbourne Park has eluded tennis great Rafael Nadal, with last year’s victory coming 13 years after his previous title was won against Federer. Nadal has two titles from six Australian Open finals. Unexpected injuries and a determined opponent have cost him.
Nadal won the Australian Open 2022 in a spectacular manner, returning from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in an epic final 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to capture his 21st Major and second trophy in Melbourne.
As he returned to the circuit after a six-month hiatus, the 36-year-old said that the victory was one of his most surprising triumphs.
“Probably this one is one of the more unexpected ones. Very emotional. The final comeback is one of the most important in my career,” he said.
“You need a little bit more organization than before without a doubt. But it’s the first time that happens in my life.
So I need some time to adjust all the things that are going to help me to stay the same as before, but I think I have all the things around me that help me to keep going without problems,” he stated.
Melbourne will host the Australian Open which will begin on January 16. (ANI)