Although he is the defending champion, there are many doubts about Rafael Nadal’s real condition on the eve of the AOs. The Spanish phenomenon has become the number 1 seed due to the loss of Carlos Alcaraz, forced to miss the first Grand Slam of the season due to a leg injury.
The former world number 1 left everyone speechless at the start of 2022, winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros despite sore foot. The second part of last season did not give him the same joy, also due to the abdominal rupture he suffered at Wimbledon.
The 36-year-old from Manacor was unable to play the Championship semifinal against Nick Kyrgios and arrived at the US Open in suboptimal conditions, already leaving the scene in the round of 16 at the hands of Frances Tiafoe.
Rafa has lost six of his last seven matches on tour, including the two matches played in the new year. Indeed, the 22-time Grand Slam champion was beaten by Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur in the United Cup, but he said he was confident ahead of the Australian Open.
Speaking to the Tennis Channel microphones, Lindsay Davenport invited fans and pundits not to underestimate Nadal.
Davenport on Rafael Nadal
«I think Rafael Nadal needs a good first week to really give him that kind of extra push and confidence to get through the second week,» Davenport said in a recent interview with Tennis Channel.
«We all know he can do it, right? We all know he’s got the ability. He seems to be doing better physically, he doesn’t have the abs problem. Hopefully that stays away. His footing seems fine,» said the 3. -time Grand Slam singles champion continued.
«I think he needs a couple of games where he plays really well early on in Melbourne, doesn’t get too tired, doesn’t get injured, gains confidence. If he’s able to go into week two with that kind of belief then look out.
Everybody knows that.» Seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe revealed that Rafael Nadal’s rivalry with Novak Djokovic has taken their respective games to new heights. «He forced Novak to give more, and he’s better for it. , and then Novak has helped Rafa got better because he doesn’t want Novak to go through him, and that helped Roger, so it was a beautiful thing to see over the last 10 or 15 years,» the American told Eurosport.