'I think Rafael Nadal should skip the American tour', says former ace

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'I think Rafael Nadal should skip the American tour', says former ace

Reigning champion Rafael Nadal is back at Melbourne Park! The 22-time Major winner is preparing for his 18th Australian Open, traveling to Melbourne from Sydney and training with Felix Auger-aliassime. Rafa is yet to win a match this year, falling twice in the United Cup from one set down, and is hoping for a better run in Melbourne.

Nadal came into last year's Australian Open without high hopes, wanting to compete at his best level and test his body after a nasty foot injury. Rafa overcame his struggles and overcame seven obstacles to lift his first crown at Melbourne Park since 2009.

The Spaniard notched a pair of notable victories and became the first player with 21 Major trophies. Nadal knocked out the likes of Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini to reach his sixth Australian Open final. Rafa was left at the gates of the fifth consecutive defeat in them after going through many difficulties in the first two sets.

He was trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 against world number 2 Daniil Medvedev, before staging one of the best comebacks of his career. Rafa scored a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5 victory in five hours and 24 minutes and won the second longest Major final.

Nadal fell inches short of runner-up when he faced those three break points in the sixth game of the third set. Rafa stole that game and got a huge boost early in his recovery. Nadal claimed the third set after breaking the opposition with a baseline backhand winner in the ninth game and carved out an early lead in the fourth.

Rafa held the tie in the tenth game to close out the set and force a decider after four hours and 12 minutes, firmly believing in a complete comeback.

Roux talks about Rafa Nadal

Rafael Nadal's chances of holding on to the top 10 in the near future will be an "interesting" aspect to watch out for, according to former tennis player Lionel Roux.

The former French player felt that the Spaniard might not continue to be in the top 10 for much longer, citing the recent blip in his form. "It will be interesting to see if Nadal will stay in the top 10, after I know that what I say is very odd," Roux was quoted as saying by We Love Tennis. "If he wants to do a full season, I think he should skip the American tour," asserted the 49-year-old.

Rafael Nadal