Rafa Roundup: Are you thrilled to see Rafael Nadal back in a major? We are!

Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia
Photo: Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

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“I need to be a little bit more dynamic on court with my movements. I am a player who finds the confidence when I am able to defend well, when I am able to hit the ball knowing that the ball is going to go in most of the times,” he said. “I know that I am in the right way because I am here, first thing, and because I am with very high motivation to recover all the things that I didn’t have the chance to do the last seven, eight months. So here is a big motivation.”

Rafael Nadal faces a challenging path in his quest for a second Australian Open title after today’s draw ceremony. He opens against wily veteran Mikhail Youzhny and may face Lukas Rosol, who upset him at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, in the third round. Should he survive those tests, he is set to face 2014 semi-finalist Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

​Nadal said it himself: he needs matches and he needs wins to get his confidence up. Though drawn into the tough bottom half topped by Federer — the two could face in the semifinals — Nadal won’t face any heavy opposition early in the tournament.

Since he started winning Slams in 2005, Nadal has missed a major and then returned to play three times. He made it to the semis of the 2009 U.S. Open after missing that year’s Wimbledon, but won the French Open in 2006 and 2013 after being out of previous Slams. … Let’s not forget the tiny fact that Nadal is still returning from an injury, however routine it may have been.

Two of the best players in tennis history have taken their rivalry to social media. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are locked in a tight race to become the first ATP World Tour player to reach 15 million followers on Facebook. With 14.97 million people following his every move, Nadal is currently leading Federer by a margin of just 120,000.

Nadal has played just eight matches since Wimbledon last year. A finalist at the Australian Open in 2014, he comes to Melbourne with question marks on his form. But we’ve seen this before from Nadal. Many doubted him during last year’s clay season, yet he went on to win the French Open. It just takes one match to turn things around for him.

What should we expect from Rafael Nadal, a former champion in Melbourne? Thanks to a wrist injury and then appendicitis, Nadal has hardly played since last year’s Wimbledon Championships, and his lack of match play was evident on his first competitive appearance of this season when he lost in the opening round of a tournament in Qatar with a defeat against Michael Berrer, a German ranked outside the top 100.

AP Photo/Mark Baker
AP Photo/Mark Baker

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5 comments

  1. Rafa, u said last year u thought u had a chance and u didn’t, this year u think u don’t have a chance so U WILL!!! VAAAMOOOSSS RAAAFAAA , VAAAMOOOSSS CAAAMPEOOONNN !!!!!!!!! The Rafa’s planet is waiting for u!!! The best of luck, my HERO!!!

  2. It says a lot about Rafa’s draw that his two “toughest” opponents prior to the semis are Rosol and Youzhny. Djokovic and Federer must be green with envy.

  3. Knowing that Rafa is well enough to play in the tournament ,,,is the vest birthday present I could wish for,,,,go Rafa,,,,,best wishes,

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