Whether or not he is in exceptional shape, considering Rafael Nadal ‘dead’ is the biggest mistake anyone who thinks about him can make. The Mallorcan did not end 2022 well, as witnessed, for example, by his performance at the Nitto ATP Finals. And the disappointing expedition to the newly created United Cup ─ where he lost both singles matches against Norrie and De Miñaur ─ speaks of a Nadal who is also going through the start of this new season far from feeling well. However, despite the latest results, the time has come for the 22-time Slam champion to turn his attention to himself at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins in just six days. A scenario, given last year’s extraordinary triumph, capable of reinvigorating Nadal, potentially capable of anything. This is basically the opinion of John McEnroe and Mats Wilander, two former champions who today discuss tennis as experts. The glorious ride of 2022, culminating in a comeback final victory over Daniil Medvedev, relegated Rafael Nadal (again) to history. The triumph in Melbourne allowed “Toro de Manacor” to surpass his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the number of Slam tournaments won ─ a record that was further improved in the following months with his success, yet another, at Roland Garros. Nadal, and those who share his nature, is a true competition animal, one of those who, despite going through difficulties that would seem to leave them out of the game, pull the rabbit out of the hat when the stakes rise. For all this, the two former champions John McEnroe and Mats Wilander ─ 24 Slams in two between singles and doubles ─ gave, in statements to Eurosport, all the credit to the Spanish for the Australian Open.
Davenport opens up on Nadal
Lindsay Davenport suggested that Rafael Nadal can never really be counted out of contention at a Grand Slam tournament. “I think that he 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 that he has the ability. I think he needs a couple of matches where he plays really well early on in Melbourne, doesn’t get too fatigued out there, doesn’t get injured, gets that confidence up. If he’s able to enter the second week with that kind of belief, then look out. Everybody knows that.”