Rafael Nadal ahead of Australian Open: I do not have big expectations after injury | Tennis News

Nadal spoke ahead of his Friday appointment at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi; The 35-year-old suffered from a recurring left foot injury throughout 2021; Nadal has won 20 Grand Slam titles

Last updated: 16/12/21 12:02


Rafael Nadal last played in early August, losing to Lloyd Harris in the third round of the Citi Open

Rafael Nadal will head to the Australian Open with low expectations following his latest injury layoff, but he still believes he can fight for the biggest prizes in the sport.

The Spaniard will return to the field on Friday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship show in Abu Dhabi when he faces Andy Murray or Dan Evans.

Nadal could face former British number 1 Andy Murray on Friday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Nadal could face former British number 1 Andy Murray on Friday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

It will be the first time Nadal will be seen in a match since his defeat to Lloyd Harris in Washington in early August, which was his first tournament since retiring from Wimbledon and the Olympics.

The 35-year-old has struggled with a problem in his left foot and agrees that he has a long way to go if he wants to get back in top form.

Speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi, Nadal said: “I am super happy to be back.

“Sure, I feel better, otherwise I won’t be here. I know the return won’t be easy. I don’t have high expectations now.

Nadal has had an injury-hit season this year, but he wants to

Nadal had an injury-hit season this year, but he wants to “fight for everything again” (John Walton / PA Wire / PA Images)

“My only expectation is to be here, to play again in front of a great audience, to feel competing with great players again and then have fun. It was a very difficult time for me, honestly, so just to be here is one. great news for me.

“I really hope that the foot will improve more and more to be back at the level I want to be. If I am able to play without limits, I want to fight for everything again, so that is the goal.

“It will be very difficult for me. If things go well, I will only play one tournament before Australia and these two games here, so the amount of hours on the field at a competitive level before a tournament as tough and demanding as Australia is not. it will be a lot “.

Novak Djokovic drew with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles (AP Photo / Luca Bruno)

Novak Djokovic drew with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles (AP Photo / Luca Bruno)

In the absence of Nadal, Djokovic equalized with the Spaniard and Roger Federer at the height of men’s tennis with his 20th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon before narrowly losing his 21st in New York.

However, Djokovic’s participation in Australia is still in doubt as he refused to disclose his vaccination status, despite everyone in Melbourne Park needing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Reigning Australia Open champion Novak Djokovic says he has yet to decide whether he will compete in next year's tournament after it has been confirmed that vaccinations against Covid-19 are necessary for players

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Reigning Australia Open champion Novak Djokovic says he has yet to decide whether he will compete in next year’s tournament after it has been confirmed that vaccinations against Covid-19 are necessary for players

Reigning Australia Open champion Novak Djokovic says he has yet to decide whether he will compete in next year’s tournament after it has been confirmed that vaccinations against Covid-19 are necessary for players

“Roger and I have been hurt for so long,” said Nadal. “Of course we are equal, but the chances for Novak are much higher than for us.”

The Australian Open starts at Melbourne Park on January 17th.

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