After not having hit an official ball on the tour since the US Open semifinal retirement loss to Juan Martin del Potro, Rafael Nadal says he’s finally feeling good and ready to put the array of injuries since New York behind him.
“I feel good,” Nadal told the Melbourne media on Saturday. “If I am not feeling good, I will not be here. I have good feelings in terms of the surgery that I have in the foot. I can say is almost done.
“Then, of course, after surgery, after months without competing, having troubles to practice, of course there is always issues when you come back.”
And after so long without play due to leg, ankle, knee and abdominal issues, he’s eager to get back on court.
“Is again another season, coming back from a tough period of time, but with highest motivation possible to start another season,” he said. “Very excited to be back here in Melbourne, starting another one.”
Nadal will also start the season with a new service motion, he confirmed.
“There is always things to improve,” Nadal said. “Is true that I try to improve during all my career all the things. The serve was always a thing that I tried to improve, and I think I did.
“Maybe was the time to try to make one more step, no? That’s what we are trying. I happy with it. I happy with the motivation to do something new. I happy with the fact that, if I am able to make that happen in a good way, that hopefully will give me the chance to help me on my game a longer term. That’s all.
“I didn’t compete with this new serve, so let’s see how it works. I am confident it’s going to work well.”
Nadal will officially debut that new serve on Monday in Melbourne when he takes on Australian James Duckworth in the first round.
Nadal also talked about Andy Murray and gave his thoughts on retirement.
“I know that tennis is not forever,” Nadal said. “I want to do it as long as I can and give myself the best possibilities to fight for the things really I am passionate about, and to keep doing the things that I really enjoy doing. Playing tennis is one of the things, compete in this sport is one of the things that I enjoy more doing.
“When arrive the day that I cannot hold it again will be the day to go and do what you told me or another things.”
The 32-year-old lefty is also trying to complete a second Career Grand Slam in Australia, something that has never been done in the Open Era.
2019 is also the 10-year-old anniversary of Rafa’s lone Australian Open title.
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