strong level of motivation On Wednesday, Rafael Nadal hailed rival Novak Djokovic’s much awaited return to the Australian Open as “excellent for tennis” and dismissed claims that this may be his final appearance at the season-opening Grand Slam.
The 36-year-old father-to-be superstar from Spain is starting his new campaign in the United Cup, a brand-new mixed-teams competition that gets underway Thursday in Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth.
It will serve as a warm-up for his defence of the Australian Open championship at Melbourne Park, which he won this year by defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling five-set match.
That triumph came after Novak Djokovic, an arch-rival and nine-time Australian Open champion, was imprisoned and deported before to the competition for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Since then, Australia no longer requires travellers to produce documentation of their COVID immunisation. On Tuesday, the Serb returned to the nation for the first time since being expelled.
With 22 Grand Slam championships to Djokovic’s 21 for men, Nadal said he was glad to see his legendary adversary return.
The second-ranked player in the world remarked in Sydney, “Novak is here, good for tennis, certainly good for the fans.” “Observe, shall we? Every game is won by the best players.”
Djokovic, now ranked fifth, will start the Adelaide International on Sunday in an attempt to win an astounding tenth championship at Melbourne Park.
To read our blog on “Emotionally, a part of me leaves with Roger Federer, said Nadal,” click here