Rafael Nadal admits: 'I could not play my best tennis'

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Rafael Nadal admits: 'I could not play my best tennis'

Rafael Nadal will start the Australian Open title defense as the top seed. However, the Spaniard is far behind his closest rivals in terms of form after playing only 11 matches since August last year! Nadal is eager to chase a good result in Melbourne.

He said the results could have been better in a previous couple of months, hoping to raise his level and fight for the trophy. Rafa played only two matches in the second part of 2021 and made a perfect comeback in 2022. Nadal claimed the Australian Open and Roland Garros for the first time in his career, extending his tally to 22 Major titles and leaving Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer behind.

Rafa was the year-end no. 1 favorite ahead of the second part of the season, but it was not to be for him. The veteran reached the Wimbledon semi-final, seeking his first All England Club trophy since 2010. However, he experienced a seven-millimeter abdominal tear and withdrew following an epic quarter-final victory over Taylor Fritz.

Rafa would play only nine matches in the rest of the season, losing a chance to become world no. 1 and barely finishing inside the top-2 ahead of Casper Ruud.

Rafael Nadal has played only 11 matches after Wimbledon.

Nadal lost to Borna Coric in Cincinnati before reaching the US Open fourth round.

An abdominal injury was back to bother him, losing to Frances Tiafoe and spoiling his no. 1 chances. Rafa stayed away from the court for two months, eager to recover and play injury-free. The Spaniard returned at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals and experienced four consecutive losses for the first time in 13 years!

Rafa wrapped up the year with a triumph over Casper Ruud and wished for more at the start of 2023. Nadal led Spain at the inaugural United Cup and experienced losses against Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur, both from a set up!

Rafa arrived in Melbourne early, with enough time to practice at Rod Laver Arena and shape up his game ahead of the season's first Major. "It's true; I could not play my best tennis in the last couple of months. I lost two encounters in Sydney, but I'm not disappointed with my preparation.

I have to win matches to gain confidence, but the preparation is going well. I have practiced a lot, and I'm in good shape. I have to demonstrate that in the official matches, and I'm ready after a week of productive practice runs. I'm happy to be back in Melbourne. I had an unforgettable run here last year," Rafael Nadal said.

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