‘Highly motivated’ Nadal ready for Djokovic challenge in Australia

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admin 28 December, 2022
Updated 2022/12/28 at 9:45 AM
4 Min Read
Screenshot 1789
Screenshot 1789

The 36-year-old Spanish great is beginning his new season at the United Cup, a new mixed-teams event starting Thursday in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth

SYDNEY: A “notably encouraged” Rafael Nadal welcomed rival Novak Djokovic’s plenty-predicted go back to the Australian Open as “excellent for tennis” Wednesday, at the same time as brushing off recommendations this could be his final tilt on the season-establishing Grand Slam.

The 36-yr-antique Spanish great, who recently became a father, is beginning his new season on the United Cup, a brand new combined-teams event beginning Thursday in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

It will provide a heat-up for his defence of the Australian Open identify next month at Melbourne Park, where he swept past Russian Daniil Medvedev to win this year in an epic 5-setter.

That victory got here after arch-rival and 9-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic changed into detained and deported beforehand of the tournament after refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Australia has due to the fact that lifted its requirement for traffic to expose proof of vaccination towards COVID. The Serb arrived lower back inside the u . S . A . On Tuesday for the primary time on account that being turfed out.

Nadal, who has a file men’s 22 Grand Slam titles to Djokovic’s 21, said he changed into glad to peer his movie star rival lower back.

“Novak is here, precise for tennis, top for probably the lovers,” the arena range two stated in Sydney. “Let’s see, no? Best gamers on court constantly win.”

Fifth-ranked Djokovic will begin his quest for an great 10th identify at Melbourne Park at the Adelaide International from Sunday.

Nadal backed up his Australian Open win this year with a 14th French Open however struggled with harm after chickening out from the Wimbledon semi-very last with an stomach tear in July.

Despite a negative 2d half of the year, Nadal stated he changed into raring to head again with a clash first up on the United Cup in opposition to British global range 14 Cameron Norrie in advance of a blockbuster showdown with Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

“The maximum motivation to attempt to start nicely. It’s always important to begin properly for me, for the confidence,” he said.

“The previous few months haven’t been clean for me. Main issue for me now could be get better the high-quality emotions on court docket, being competitive. I wish to. I am equipped to make that appear, however let’s have a look at.”

Nadal played his first Australian Open in 2004. He is now a father, and with a history of injuries he was asked if this will be his remaining experience to Australia.

“As a expert, you in no way realize, with any luck no longer,” he said.

“I imply, when you are on the age of 36, you by no means understand when it will be the final one. It’s obvious, but I do not like to talk approximately that due to the fact I am now not in that temper now.

“I’m just focused on seeking to play at the best degree viable and give myself possibilities to hold being aggressive, to combat for anything. That’s my goal now.

“I’m now not considering it being my last time right here. I am glad doing what I am doing. I’m looking ahead to keep doing this.”

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