Rafael Nadal is not terribly concerned about his pair of singles losses at the United Cup ahead of the start of the 2023 season.
Nadal lost to Cameron Norrie when Spain went down to Great Britain in their opening tie of the United Cup.
The defending Australian Open champion went down in three set battle with Alex de Minaur as Spain met hosts Australia in Sydney.
De Minaur was at his energetic best in a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Nadal.
The Spaniard believes the quality of the opposition he has faced makes him feel that the losses were acceptable.
“I was very close to win against two great players. I am not too alarmed,” he told reporters. “I need to be a little bit faster on the court. Last year I had lost two matches in Abu Dhabi too.”
For de Minaur the result represents one of his best singes wins.
“I think it’s definitely up there [as one of my best wins],” De Minaur said. “It’s one of those achievements that you have unlocked in your career. But also, it’s a big win for myself, one that I really needed. I’m gonna cherish and use, take all the confidence from this and be able to hopefully take it to have a good Aussie summer.
“It’s always a surreal experience playing here. Just walking out there and hearing the support I get on that court is pretty special. No secret [that] it is my favourite court to play on in front of friends and family. I’ve had so many great memories, and I’ve been able to add another one to it. I’m extremely stoked.”
Nadal expected a challenging season ahead of the Australian Open swing.
He feels that he has plenty of good memories in the bank in Melbourne to give him confidence.
“Australia is going to be a challenge, of course, but it’s the beginning of the season. Hard court, I played well plenty of times, even if I only won twice.
“But just excited I going to be there. If nothing goes wrong, going to be there early. That’s what I need. Even if it’s an effort for me and sacrifice to go very early from home, I think that’s what I need to do after what happened the last five months.
Try to be there early, not only because of the preparation of Australia, but because of preparation for myself for the rest of the season.
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