Rafael Nadal insists that every season beginning is different

Rafael Nadal Credit: Alamy
Rafael Nadal Credit: Alamy

Rafael Nadal is excited to start his season at the United Cup in Sydney where Spain will face Great Britain and hosts Australia.

He is looking forward to starting a season without the chronic pain caused by Mueller-Weiss disease.

Nadal has already said he feels like a different person although his time on court has been limited by abdominal injuries.

“Always the beginning of the season is exciting,” Nadal said in Spain’s pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday.

“For everybody [it] is a new thing, all the doubts, how things [are] going to go. Even if I don’t know how many seasons I have on the Tour, beginnings are always different.

“[I have the] highest motivation to try to start well. It’s always important to start well for me, for the confidence. [The] past few months haven’t been easy for me. I just try to have the right practice here before the tournament starts. Then of course, try to help the team. [The] main thing for me now is [to] recover the positive feelings on court, being competitive. I hope to. I am ready to make that happen, but let’s see.”

Nadal faces British No 1 Cameron Norrie in his opening match of the United Cup and will then face Alex de Minaur of Australia in his next assignment.

He is looking forward to finding his level at the United Cup ahead of the defense of his Austalian Open title.

“Only thing that I am focused now is try to put myself in a competitive level,” Nadal said.

“[The] first match [is] going to be against Cam Norrie, so that’s the focus now. Then for me I think is to try to win the first tie as a team more than any individual match. Then let’s see what can happen against Australia.”

Nadal, who was spotted training inside the Ken Rosewall Arena on Wednesday, will begin his season against Norrie on Saturday 31 December 2022.

The 36-year-old will compete for Spain alongside Paula Badosa, Pablo Carreno Busta, Nuria Parrizas Diaz, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, David Vega Hernandez and Jessica Bouzas Maneiro.

Despite his injury struggles Nadal enjoyed a historic season in 2022, winning four tour-level titles inlcuding his 21st and 22nd Grand Slams.

Nadal, who earned a 39-8 record on the year, tasted success on Australian soil 12 months ago, also winning an ATP 250 title in Melbourne before he captured his second Australian Open crown.

The World No 2 will be aiming to replicate that form this season, but knows it won’t be an easy start to the year with matches against Norrie and de Minaur in Group D.

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