SHOWS: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (JANUARY 12, 2019) (TENNIS AUSTRALIA - FOR NEWS PURPOSES ONLY.
NO RESALES) 1.
RAFA NADAL AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN PRE-TOURNAMENT NEWS CONFERENCE 2.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) RAFA NADAL SAYING: "Good, no I feel...good, if I am not feeling good I will not be here so I am feeling, I have good feelings in terms of the surgery I have in the foot I can say is almost done and then of course after surgery, after months without competing and having troubles to practice of course there is always issues when you come back but nothing new for me, I had a couple of ones of this, and just accept the challenges that the body presents and the tennis presents you know, because is again, another season coming back from a tough period of time but with, you know, the highest motivation possible to start another season, very excited to be back here in Melbourne starting another one and yup, of course is good news that I am here again, for me, I don't know for you, but that's my feeling, happy to be here." STORY: Former champion Rafa Nadal shrugged off concerns about his fitness ahead of the Australian Open and paid tribute to fellow 'Big Four' rival Andy Murray, a day after the emotional Briton revealed plans to retire.
The 2009 winner Nadal pulled out of the Brisbane International warmup with a thigh strain, raising fears about his campaign at Melbourne Park after his 2018 season ended early with ankle surgery and an abdominal injury.
However, the 32-year-old Spaniard declared himself ready to throw himself into a 14th campaign in Melbourne, starting with a first round match against Australian wildcard James Duckworth.
In an emotional media conference on Friday, a tearful Murray revealed the pain from his troublesome right hip was proving too much to bear and said the Australian Open could be his last tournament as a professional.
Of the many banged-up players on tour, Nadal may be the most able to empathise with Murray, having spent long periods on the sidelines with serious knee problems. Nadal was forced to retire hurt in the fifth set of last year's quarter-final against eventual finalist Marin Cilic, eight years after pulling out midway through his last-eight clash against Murray with a knee injury.
Doubts about the second seed's ability to withstand seven matches on hardcourts were reinforced when he retired in the U.S. Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro last year.
Despite that, Nadal is leaving no stone unturned in Melbourne and brings a remodelled serve aimed at generating more pace and, hopefully, shortening points.