Tim Henman: Rafael Nadal will be looking to avoid Novak Djokovic in AO QF

Former British tennis player Tim Henman says Rafael Nadal can’t be ruled out from the Australian Open title contention. 

Nadal, 35, missed the last two Grand Slams as a foot issue forced him out of Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Nadal, who won the Melbourne Summer Set last week, is a five-time Australian Open finalist but he only has one title at Melbourne Park. 

“He has the experience, he’s had some long layoffs in the past. So you know, those first few rounds are important,” Henman told Eurosport.

“We often say that you can’t win the tournament in the first week, but you can certainly lose it. So he’s got to be on his game. But he will be delighted to have got the matches under his belt in the first week of the year and to get another title first week of the year is great for his confidence.”

‘Nadal will be looking to avoid Novak Djokovic in the QF’

“You can’t write him off. When you look at his seeding position, it will be interesting to see where he comes out in the draw. He will be we’ll be definitely looking to avoid a potential quarter-final match-up with Djokovic,” Henman added.

After Djokovic got his visa revoked, Nadal said it all could have been avoided had Djokovic taken the vaccine. 

“I think if he (had) wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem,” Nadal said. “He went through another…he made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.

“Of course I don’t like the situation that is happening. In some way I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.”

It remains to be seen how far can Nadal go at the Australian Open.