Rafael Nadal reacts to winning the French Open title
Rafael Nadal didn’t appear obviously impeded during a private training session, it has been claimed. The Spaniard recently missed his country’s ATP Cup matches with a back injury. But he’s hopeful of being fit for the start of the Australian Open, which kicks off on Monday.
Nadal goes into the Australian Open looking to end his jinx there.
The Spaniard hasn’t won the trophy since beating Roger Federer in five sets back in 2009, losing four finals (all to Novak Djokovic) in the time since.
Nadal’s involvement in the competition is currently up in the air, with the 34-year-old missing his country’s ATP Cup matches with a back injury.
On Friday, photographers were allowed a five-minute window to shoot pictures of Nadal training.
The public and journalists were kept at a distance but one source has told The Age that Nadal was ‘not noticeably impeded’.
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And that suggests he could be fit in time for the start of the tournament.
Nadal was practicing at the John Cain Arena with 17-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, who has been talked up as his potential heir.
And, should he manage to recover in time for the Grand Slam, he’ll be hoping to etch his name further into the history books.
Nadal has currently won 20 Grand Slam titles, the same amount as Federer.
A huge 13 of those have come at the French Open, with the 34-year-old earning the nickname the ‘king of clay’ as a result.
He’s won Wimbledon twice and also scooped four US Open titles, while being unable to add to his Australian Open haul.
Meanwhile, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley has expressed a belief that Nadal withdrew from the ATP Cup to ‘protect’ his chances of more glory.
He said: “I see Rafa every day, he hit for an hour and a half (on Friday).
“Out of extra caution he chose not to play in the ATP Cup, even though Spain are in the semi-finals playing against Italy.
“I’m sure he’ll show up and provide moral support for the team.
“He’s out practising and he’s indicated he’ll be ready.
“He’s protecting his opportunity to win a 21st Grand Slam.”
Nadal recently claimed he wasn’t obsessed with moving out in front of Federer.
“I did much more than what I ever dreamed in my tennis career,” he said.
“It would be amazing for me to win one more. But I know that will not be the key for my happiness in the future.
“It’s not extra pressure and it’s not an obsession.
“If it happens, fantastic, but if not, I’m more than happy about everything that happened to me.”
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