Rafael Nadal: 'Probably this one is one of the more unexpected ones'

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Rafael Nadal: 'Probably this one is one of the more unexpected ones'

Rafael Nadal has not started the new season on the right foot and arrives at the AO with several doubts. The former world number 1 arrived in Melbourne early, given Spain's premature elimination of him in the United Cup, and has already held several training sessions at Rod Laver Arena.

It will not be easy for the Spaniard to defend the title he won last year, when he accomplished a memorable feat that will remain forever etched in the fans' memory. The 36-year-old man from Manacor has lost six of his last seven games on tour and has been seen to be quite behind from a physical point of view.

Novak Djokovic will also be in the AO this year, after the Serb was expelled from the country in 2022 due to his vaccination status. Rafa will be the number one seed in Melbourne, having 'benefited' from Carlos Alcaraz's resignation.

The 19-year-old Iberian will miss the first Slam of the season due to a leg injury sustained in training. Speaking to Eurosport, seven-time Slam champion John Mcenroe said the rivalry with Djokovic has helped Nadal improve even further.

"Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have created a very nice and heated rivalry, which has pushed both to improve their game. It has been an honor and a privilege to watch the Big 3 for the last 15 years," McEnroe explained. "The thing that amazes me most about Rafa is his insatiable hunger, it seems like he has never won a Major.

He plays every point as if it were the last of his life. I try to show it to all the children that come to me. Nadal is the best example in history", joked John. In an interview with "We Love Tennis", former French player Lionel Roux analyzed Nadal's prospects in detail: "It will be interesting to see if Rafael Nadal can stay in the top 10 first in the world, although it may seem like heresy to many."

Nadal won the 2022 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal believes that he is in good shape going into the 2023 Australian Open.

“It’s true that the last couple of tournaments I wasn’t able to play to my standards and here at the beginning of the season I lost two matches in Sydney, but honestly, I am not unhappy with the preparation,” Nadal said.

"I think I’m in good shape. You need to demonstrate that in matches … but I’m confident that if I am able to have this last week of positive practice, why not?” he added. Rafael Nadal won the 2022 Australian Open in sensational fashion.

“Probably this one is one of the more unexpected ones. Very emotional. The final comeback is one of the most important in my career,” he said.

Rafael Nadal Australian Open