Rafael Nadal is unhappy with the AO balls: I have to live with it'

Rafael Nadal will start his 18th Australian Open against Jack Draper on Monday

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal is unhappy with the AO balls: I have to live with it'

Rafael Nadal will start his Australian Open title defense on Monday at Rod Laver Arena. Rafa will face the young Briton Jack Draper in the first round, facing a stern test and hoping to deliver his first victory in 2023. Struggling with an injury, Nadal has lost seven of his previous 11 encounters after the last year's Wimbledon, including a 0-2 score in 2023.

Rafa came to Melbourne early and started preparing for the season's first Major. The Spaniard has trained with Alexander Zverev, Hubert Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton, shaping up his game and hoping for a better run than in the previous seven months.

Nadal is not happy with the balls in Melbourne, calling them much different than a year ago. Rafa believes they lack the amount of spin you can create, losing pressure after a couple of shots and making it easier for those with flatter strokes.

Rafael Nadal is not happy with the Australian Open balls.

Nadal claimed his second Australian Open crown last year, winning almost out of nowhere! The Spaniard missed the second part of 2021 due to an injury and did not know what to expect at the beginning of 2022.

However, he stopped the clock and lifted his first Australian Open trophy in 13 years! Nadal survived challenges from Karen Khachanov and Denis Shapovalov and ousted Matteo Berrettini for a place in the final. Everything was set for Rafa's fifth consecutive Australian Open final loss after trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 against Daniil Medvedev.

The veteran stayed focused and prevailed 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes to become the first player with 21 Major titles. "There is little change in the speed of the court in comparison to the previous year.

However, the balls feel much different. The organizers say they are the same, but I'm sure they are worse in terms of quality and durability. It's too late to talk about that now; it is what it is, and we must use them. The balls do not receive the same amount of spin as before.

They lose pressure after a couple of shots, and it's hard to hit with a proper spin. It's easier for those who hit flatter shots, but I have to live with it. I have had enough practice to get ready," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Australian Open Jack Draper