Rafael Nadal: 'I think we can create a good team atmosphere'
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 1180
Rafael Nadal said he is really looking forward to starting the season as he prepares to headline Spain's United Cup title quest in Sydney. The 36-year-old will represent his nation in the new 18-country mixed team event, taking place in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from December 29 to January 8.
"Always the start of the season is exciting," Nadal said at Spain's pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. “For everyone [it is] something new, all the doubts, how things [are] going to go. Although I don't know how many seasons I have on the Tour, the beginnings are always different.
“[I have the] highest motivation to try to start well. It's always important to start well for me, for confidence. [The] last few months have not been easy for me. I just try to get 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 the pitch, to be competitive. I hope that. I'm ready for that to happen, but let's see." Nadal enjoyed another historic season in 2022, winning four tour-level titles.
The 36-year-old, who went 39-8 on the year, tasted success on Australian soil 12 months ago, winning an ATP 250 title in Melbourne before capturing his second Australian Open crown. The World No. 2 will try to replicate that form this season, but he knows it won't be an easy start to the year with matches against Britain's Cameron Norrie and Australia's Alex de Minaur in Group D.
"The only thing I'm focused on right now is trying to get on a competitive level," Nadal said. “[The] first match [will be] against Cam Norrie, so that's the focus now. So for me I think it's trying to win the first round as a team more than any individual match."
Nadal is confident of creating a good atmosphere
Rafael Nadal touched on the format of the United Cup, noting that team events were always different than standard tennis tournaments.
"It's always different when you play as a team. We are used to play on Davis Cup or Fed Cup I think. I mean, is nothing 100% new, but at the same time it's the first time that we share forces between men, women," Nadal said. "Different story for us.
Going to be exciting. Yeah, I looking forward about how this new competition is working and how the things going to develop during the next couple of days," he said. "I think we can create a good team atmosphere, and hopefully we can start well because we know we have a very tough group."