Rafael Nadal would have hoped for a different start to the season. An annoying back problem forced him to skip the entire ATP Cup, as well as appearing in anything but optimal conditions at the Australian Open. The Spaniard failed to make it past the quarter-finals in Melbourne, where he suffered a comeback from Stefanos Tsitsipas despite a two-set lead.
Since then, countless packages have followed one another: Rotterdam, Dubai, Acapulco and finally the Masters 1000 in Miami. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will make his comeback this week in Monte Carlo, a tournament that has almost always seen him dominate in the past.
The Iberian’s main objective is to be ready for Roland Garros, which last year allowed him to equal Roger Federer's all-time record by crowning a very long chase. In a recent interview with Tennis TV, the 34-year-old Majorcan told a few more details about his injury, revealing that he began to feel pain about three weeks before the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal is happy with his fitness now
"Yeah was a tough time before the Australian Open, I had to find solutions every single day to try to play the tournament," Rafael Nadal said. "Finally I did it, was not a bad result the quarterfinal, was not good as I would have liked.
I felt very ready for Melbourne," he added. "But then after the problem on the back, 20 something days before the tournament start I had this problem, so I lost a little bit the positive feelings." According to Rafael Nadal, it took him two weeks after his Australian Open exit to regain full fitness.
But he then asserted he is happy with where he is right now in terms of his body and tennis, as he starts his bid for a record-extending 12th title at Monte Carlo. "Then it take some time to be back on court, I had to do some treatment at home, took a couple of weeks to work in the right way again," Nadal said.
"But I am quite happy now, for the last one month I am practicing well. I was able to work as much as I like. So I am happy the way I arrived here." The 34-year-old claimed that the weather and playing conditions at Monte Carlo are perfect for tennis.
"Well (I am) happy to be back to the tour of course, and happy to be back here playing in this amazing place," Rafael Nadal continued. "It's part of the history no, this tournament? It's part of my personal history too.
So yeah, very excited to be back, enjoying the first couple of days here with some beautiful weather and good conditions to play tennis."