I want to fight again for everything, says Nadal

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Spanish ace: Rafael Nadal at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship inAbu Dhabi on Thursday. — Supplied photo
Spanish ace: Rafael Nadal at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship inAbu Dhabi on Thursday. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - The former world No.1 will take on Andy Murray in the semifinal of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Thu 16 Dec 2021, 11:57 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Dec 2021, 12:08 AM

Former world No.1 tennis player Rafael Nadal has the “interior fire” to compete for everything and hopes his body keeps pace with his mind.

Returning to competitive tennis after a lay-off of six months because of a foot injury, the World No. 6 said that his main goal is to stay healthy.

“It’s not about pain. Pain, I had a lot of times in my career, almost all the time. It’s more about having the chance to have a pain that I can manage to compete well also. Let’s see, I need to try it in competition. I am feeling better. If not, I wouldn’t have been here,” Nadal told reporters ahead of his 11th appearance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) in Abu Dhabi.

The five-time MWTC champ said he is “super happy” to be back in Abu Dhabi, where he has a lot of positive memories.

“This is a tournament I’ve played plenty of times in my career. I’m getting to come back to a competition after a long period of time.”

However, the 35-year-old Spaniard said that he was keeping his expectations low while noting that making a comeback won’t be easy.

“My only expectation is to be here, play in front of a great crowd again, to feel myself competing again against great players and then enjoy. It’s been a really tough period of time for me. Just being here is great news for me. I hope the foot gets better and better to be able to play at the level I want to be.”

Nadal hopes that in the 2022 season he will be healthy enough to play tournaments he wishes to compete in. “My goal is to have the chance to be selective. Be healthy enough to choose the matches I want to play or don’t want to play. I want to feel competitive again. I am doing all the things to try to be back because I am still passionate and still confident that I am able to play with no limitations again. I want to fight again for everything.”

Nadal is striving hard to remain fit, increasing his practice sessions with each passing day.

“I am trying my best to do all that I can do to give myself more chances.”

Tied on 20 Grand Slams, Nadal said that World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is more likely to win the race ahead of him and Roger Federer.

“I have been out of the competition for the past five to six months. I understand the conversation is always there, especially around Novak. He’s been playing every week almost but for me and Roger, we have been injured for such a long period of time. I mean, of course we’re equal but the chances for Novak are much higher than us. He is healthy, is competing and doing well. Let’s see what happens in the next couple of months.”

He said that tennis is an unpredictable sport where developments happen quickly. “What today might seem impossible or almost impossible, nobody knows what can happen in a month. I have been doing a great job at home, practicing well, with the right attitude. I’ve been working a lot on my fitness. I have been able to do all these things despite my foot so you never know.”

The MWTC defending champion is looking forward to the two matches in Abu Dhabi over the weekend as he prepares for the 2022 Australian Open.

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