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Главная » 2018 » December » 27 » PHOTOS/VIDEO: Rafael Nadal at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, 27 Dec. 2018
PHOTOS/VIDEO: Rafael Nadal at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, 27 Dec. 2018

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Rafael Nadal is confident he can be fit for the Australian Open as he chases an 18th Grand Slam title.

A right knee injury forced Nadal to retire from his U.S. Open semifinal in early September — his last competitive match — and the 32-year-old Spaniard had ankle surgery at the start of November.

Asked Thursday to assess his fitness level out of 10 ahead of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, Nadal said: "I don't know . I am not that good with numbers".

"I started about two weeks ago and I am taking small steps forward. I am just making sure I am moving forward and it's not a step backwards. I know I have time to be ready for Melbourne at 100 percent."

"I am happy to be back," he said. "Happy to start a new season. Of course I am having to take care of the body.

"I am going to have to take it step by step but I am happy to be here and ready for a new season."

"The second half of the year was tough in terms of injuries, but that happens and that is part of my tennis career," he said. "Try to stay calm, work the right way and when I'm back I know things are not easy, you always have tough feelings and pains in the body that normally you don't have.

"I don't have to ask myself big things to start with and just look to be positive with every improvement and that way normally you get to the right point."

Nadal added that going through the recovery process requires mental strength.

"It is tough," he admits. "You are tired to have pain and you get tired to be injured.

"But that it is it. Then every day you come back home you put everything on a balance and the balance always is the positive things and they are much heavier then the negative things.

"Then you wake up the next morning with the passion for the game, for the improvement and for the hard work.

"That is the only way I am able to find a way to be back on a level I want to be and hopefully this will be a good comeback again."

The Australian Open starts Jan. 14.

Nadal, who won his 17th Grand Slam at the French Open in June, said he was happy with his progress "but of course I need to prove myself in competitions and hopefully, playing here will help me take the first steps."

Photos: EPA; AP; MWTC; @nidssserz; Reem Mohammed / The National






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