Returning to competition, the legendary Spaniard does not see himself as an Australian Open favorite. But since he never does things by halves…
In the shadow of the soap opera Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal quickly regained his bearings. Winner of the Melbourne preparation tournament after dominating the American Maxime Cressy (112th, from qualifying). Operated on his left foot in September, he was then hampered in his preparation by the Covid. The 89and title of his career (the first since Rome, last May) allows him to extend a series, with at least one trophy for the… 19and consecutive year:Knowing where I come from is very special. After everything I’ve been through, the months of doubts about being able to come back, and there still are, and after some very difficult times. It’s only a start, but it’s a positive start. »
Nadal, seeded No. 6, could (if the Serb is on the starting line) meet Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Before that, he will face the American Marcos Giron (66and world) to 1er turn, before a possible 2and round against the Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis (145and worldwide).
In Melbourne, Rafael Nadal shared unforgettable moments from the tournament. Not often in the best role. In 2008, in the semi-finals, the Spaniard watched a tornado named Tsonga pass by. In 2009, he lifted the cup. In 2012, he shared the poster for the longest Grand Slam final in history (after 5:53, he lost 7-5 to 5and set against Djokovic). In 2014, injured, he couldn’t defend his chances in the final against Wawrinka and in 2017 he couldn’t derail the fairy tale of a ghost named Federer.
At 35, Rafael Nadal wants to continue to combine in the present. “ As long as Rafael Nadal plays tennis and has the opportunity to do so, he will never be an outsider for me, but always one of the tournament favorites », a, in the podcast Das Gelbe Vom Ball d’Eurosport Germany quoted by Tennis head, assured Boris Becker. And to continue: I think in the back of his mind he just wants to win (Roland-Garros) again. But he has to play tournaments first, preferably a Grand Slam. He has no pressure, no one expects anything from him. His preparation was bad because of the Covid, but I don’t know anyone in the main draw who would like to play against Nadal in the first or second round. He’s one of the superstars. He can also get (a 21st Grand Slam title). I think that’s another reason why he plays in Melbourne. These big stars who have won so much, they wouldn’t play if they didn’t think they had a chance… »