Rafael Nadal news: I want to give my best, says Spaniard ahead of Australian Open

When returning to form in December, Nadal had tested positive for COVID-19, keeping him away from the practice court.

Rafael Nadal in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/@ATP_tour)

Rafael Nadal could not have asked for a better start to 2022 after a difficult second part of the previous calendar year. With an ATP title to his name already this year, the Spaniard heads into the first Grand Slam of the year in the best possible way. Not long ago, Nadal’s participation in the Australian Open was not 100% confirmed, considering the difficulties he went through during the second half of 2021. The Mallorcan played just 29 matches last year, sidelined mid-summer by a left foot injury. When returning to form in December, Nadal had tested positive for COVID-19, keeping him away from the practice court. 

But, since arriving in Australia, Rafael Nadal appears to have not missed a beat. He clinched his first event of the season — the Melbourne Summer Set — by showing the level at which the Spaniard is normally associated with in the past. Nadal defeated serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy in the final 7-6, 6-3 to lift the trophy.

“Unfortunately, I’ve gone through this situation a couple of times in my career,” said the 35-year-old. “But you never know. The day will arrive that a comeback will be impossible. But I just want to try again, no? I want to give my best. I want to give myself a chance to keep enjoying this beautiful sport, to keep fighting for the things that I have been fighting for the last 16 years.

“Sometimes it’s difficult when you’re going through a lot of physical issues,” he continued. “[It’s] been a very challenging time for me. The last year and a half with my foot, I have been suffering a lot. I think I hold a positive attitude and the working spirit all the time. That’s probably why I’m here today.”

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Rafael Nadal sets his sights on Australian Open

Rafael Nadal’s attention for the next two weeks will be solely set on the Australian Open, where he will try to win a record 21st major singles title. If he does win the season’s first Grand Slam, then the Spaniard would break a three-way stalemate with career-long rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The 2009 champion will start his campaign against Marcos Giron of the United States.

“When you’re coming back from injuries and from a period of time that you are not on the tour, you need to accept that the things are not going to be perfect,” he explained. “That’s the main thing for me: accept that you are sometimes moving a little bit slower, sometimes you are going to miss, sometimes things are not coming that quick and that automatic.

“You need to think more about how to play, about shots, about technical stuff. But it’s about time. I know that. You need to forgive yourself the mistakes and be humble enough to accept the process, accept that sometimes things not going to go that way.”

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