Rafael Nadal has started 2023 in the worst possible way, having lost his first two matches of the season for the first time in his long career. The former world number 1 was beaten by Cameron Norrie and Alex De Minaur in the United Cup, giving the impression that he is far from his peak form.
A wake-up call that cannot be underestimated ten days before the start of the Australian Open, where the Spaniard must defend his title. If we include the end of last season in the speech, it is inevitable to point out that Rafa has lost six of his last seven games on tour.
His only win, however, came against Casper Ruud in the group stage of the ATP Finals in Turin. The 2023 Australian Open kicks off on January 16 at Melbourne Park and the Spaniard has plenty of time to recover. In an interview with ‘Ciudad de Santander’, doctor Ángel Ruiz Cotorro reflected on Nadal’s condition.
«Rafael Nadal is fine, his form is improving and he is going step by step after the problems he had in the second part of 2022,» Cotorro said. «Despite losing two matches in the United Cup, he hasn’t played badly and I’m sure he’ll come into the Australian Open in top form,» he added.
In a very long interview with Marca, the Spanish phenomenon analyzed his 2022 season: “The first part of my season was incredible, exciting. Because I had come from five very complicated months and my foot was still not well.
Also, before Abu Dhabi I had covid and had to stay home for ten days before I could train again. It’s no coincidence that a couple of days after arriving in Australia I wasn’t even sure I could play. Then I started playing well, but I never imagined that I could win the tournament.»
Mats Wilander pays tribute to Nadal
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander praises Rafael Nadal: «Having won there for the second time for someone like him, he’s now won every Major twice or more, that’s huge.
That’s where he separates himself from the great Roger Federer, who only won one French Open. So, Rafa now knows how to win in all the different places,» Wilander told Eurosport. «He just has to arrive healthy.»
He is going to be an absolute animal and I am sure he is going to play his best tennis. He has a great chance to win the Australian Open, just like the French Open,» Wilander said.