Rafael Nadal played his first official match against James Duckworth on Monday in four months but the seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander feels confident about the world No. 2's chances to go deep in Melbourne. Speaking to Express, Wilander said: "Hard courts beat him up for sure.
But on the other hand, the faster courts in Melbourne should help him. The weather being hot will help as well because he likes when the ball reacts to spin. So I think Nadal at the Australian Open, he hasn’t won there more than once, but I’d say it is his second favourite tournament in terms of playing conditions and the heat.
He loves Paris and obviously Wimbledon is Wimbledon but I think [he likes the] Australian Open. I would be worried about Nadal if I was a player. He’s not done by any means." Wilander also commented on Roger Federer's possibilities to win: "I think it is his only chance of winning a Major these days.
I think Perth was a quick court and the Australian Open has been the quickest court throughout the whole season for the last couple of years. And if I was the tournament director, there’s no way you wouldn’t keep it that way because it favours Nick Kyrgios.
It favours most Australian players and it definitely favours Roger. [It means] we most probably won’t have to watch Djokovic and Nadal in a six hour and 40-minute long final because [the court] is a little bit faster.
So there’s no reason to think the court is going to be slow and Federer gets a good draw and it’s not too physical in the first four rounds, I’d say he will be as dangerous as he’s been before."