'Rafael Nadal has to pick up the rhythm during...', says former ATP ace

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'Rafael Nadal has to pick up the rhythm during...', says former ATP ace

Rafael Nadal is preparing to return to the field in the prestigious Abu Dhabi exhibition. The former world number 1 wants to test his condition in view of the Australian Open 2022, where he will try to repeat his only triumph dating back to 2009.

The Spanish champion has played just seven official tournaments in 2021, still managing to forfeit a couple of titles on red clay. The 35-year-old from Manacor was unable to add more Grand Slams to his wall, leaving the stage in the semifinals at Roland Garros.

The foot injury weighed heavily on his season, forcing him to miss Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open. After undergoing a little treatment, Rafa has resumed training and hopes to return to top levels in 2022. The Majorcan has not had great luck in Melbourne during his career, but the eventual absence of Novak Djokovic would fuel his chances.

In a recent interview with Eurosport, Alex Corretja analyzed Nadal's situation in detail.

Corretja talks about Nadal

Rafael Nadal's first match at the World Tennis Championship will be against either Andy Murray or Dominic Thiem, two players who have similarly struggled with injury during the course of 2021.

"He is going to get to the Australian Open and, when you have not competed for so long, these players are so good that they win many matches, but your body is not used to it and you get other pains in the shoulder or back.

He has to pick up the rhythm during the tournament. Rafa is already good enough for the first week of the Grand Slam to serve as a preparation. Before, maybe he didn't think so, but his level of tennis and his physique require that during the first week of a Grand Slam, he must find a good rhythm.

I think it would be nice to see him [play Andy Murray first in Abu Dhabi], because he is a very smart player who knows perfectly how to play against Rafa. I think playing with Andy can give him a necessary rhythm to play two-and-a-half hours in a very tough match, but at a pace that he likes.

With Thiem it might be too explosive. Andy is different, he plays fast, he plays defensively, on offence ... it's a very good test to see where Rafa is." Nadal skipped the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open. However, it is great to know that he will be seen soon again on the Tour.

His playing in Abu Dhabi will provide him with match practice as the new season is soon going to approach. We wish him all the best for the upcoming event. All eyes will be on him when he steps out on the tennis courts once again.