Pain a constant companion for Nadal


  • Tennis
  • Sunday, 15 Jan 2017

Spain's Rafael Nadal serves during a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - It has been a "long time" since Rafa Nadal was pain-free, the Spaniard says, but at least he will be competing at full speed at the Australian Open after putting his injury woes behind him.

The 30-year-old, whose bustling power game propelled him to 14 grand slam titles, including one at Melbourne Park in 2009, has been blighted by injury since 2012 and in the last two years he has looked a shadow of the player he once was.

He has not advanced to a grand slam quarter-final since Roland Garros in 2015 and last year was dumped out of the Australian Open in the first round by compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

A wrist injury forced him to pull out of last year's French Open before his third round match, ending his pursuit of an record-extending 10th title. He also had to miss Wimbledon.

He returned to win a gold medal in doubles with Marc Lopez at the Rio Olympics but his results after that were disappointing and he ended his season after a second-round loss to Viktor Troicki at the Shanghai Masters in October.

"I am not injured, no," Nadal told reporters on Sunday when asked about his condition ahead of his first round clash with Germany's Florian Mayer. "Pain-free is a long time ago," he added with a smile.

"Being honest and being realistic, after Roland Garros, the only tournament I played with okay conditions, not 100 percent conditions, was the U.S. Open.

"Because (the) Olympics, even if was a great event, I still had a lot of pain on the wrist. Was so difficult to play."

Having added former French Open and Davis Cup winner Carlos Moya to his coaching team, Nadal said that after the setbacks of the last few years he was just happy to be arriving at the season opening grand slam relatively fit and still eager to win.

"I am here. I am enjoying," he said. "During the last seven months, I played just a couple of matches.

"That's the real thing. I am playing tennis because I am happy doing what I am doing.

"If I don't believe that I can be competitive, and when I mean 'competitive', is fighting for the things that I (fought for) during the last 10 years, I will be probably playing golf or fishing at home.

"I am here because I believe."

(Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Tennis

Sousa withdraws from Australian Open due to strict COVID-19 protocols
Barty itching to get started at Australian Open
Murray 'gutted' to miss Australian Open
Bencic hopes Open organisers make it fair for players in isolation
Expected Australian honour for tennis great Court stirs controversy
Adelaide quarantine no different to Melbourne, says Thiem
Tough draw for Djokovic's Serbia in ATP Cup
Badosa's Australian Open in doubt after positive COVID-19 test
Badosa first player to confirm COVID-positive in Australian Open quarantine
World No.1 Barty joins elite field for Adelaide exhibition

Stories You'll Enjoy