PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal’s first practice in Melbourne – 2018 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has christened Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open, breezing through a light practice session with Aussie junior Stefan Storch.

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22 thoughts on “PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal’s first practice in Melbourne – 2018 Australian Open

  1. Margo

    Andy is sounding very optimistic after his surgery on Monday in Melbourne. He went into surgery at 07:30 and awoke about 10:30. His doctors said he should be feeling better than this time last year. “I was still doing fine a year ago, ranked No. 1 in the world,” said Andy.

    “I’m going to take my time to make sure that the rehab is done properly, and make sure that the surgery is as successful as it can be,” he said. “I’ve been quoted [many] times for how long it’s taken for players to get back from the surgery I’ve had, and up to 14 weeks is what I’ve been given.

    “I want to come back when I’m fit and ready to play, not to get into a situation like in Brisbane (where he entered and then withdrew) or New York (where he pulled out after the U.S. Open draw had already been made)…. I want to know when I come back that I’m ready.” [TheGrandstand, by Ricky]

    So happy for Andy and his smart thinking. We may see during the grass season. All the best.

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  2. Margo

    After perusing many Spanish language articles, I think I have found the source of my confusion about Rafa’s injury and Carlos’ comments about getting Rafa to put on the breaks.

    Carlos must have finally realized that Rafa played Shanghai while he was injured. He lost the final on October 15, yet on October 14, Rafa announced he was “playing with confidence.”

    The first public statement about a knee injury came when Rafa pulled out of Basel.

    He went on to play Bercy and lost the QF on November 3.

    He also played, in terrible pain according to his statement, at the ATP finals. He lost to Goffin and then announced on November 14, he was ending his season.

    He then went to see his doctor, Dr. Cotorro, and started a treatment for his right knee patellar tendon and was advised to rest.

    Already on December 5, he was scheduled to start practicing with Joao Sousa for his 2018 season, starting with Abu Dhabi and Brisbane. All cancelled. I would like to believe that Carlos and team were responsible for the cancellations.

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  3. Amberoxx

    I think it was moya who wud have told Rafa not to exert himself too much..by playing too many tournaments before ao..or else Rafa was not really fit…Rafa needed lot of matches before getting into that winning rhythm..may be moya can tweak it and jus ask Rafa to do specific practice sessions and hit the peak form jus right off..I think shud be the way with his age and injuries

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  4. Fan love

    OLA OLA OLA OLA and VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ): ):) : ) Beautiful to see you dear Rafa back in action!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ; ) : ) : ) Please ignore ALL and any articles!!!!! : ) It is a lot of empty air…..and written by people who go back and forth like the wind with their loyalty and admiration of players……so pay ZERO NADA ATTENTION to the rubbish DEAR RAFA…..and YOU ONLY LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BLESSED INTELLIGENT VOICE…….YOUR OWN BLESSED GORGEOUS BODY……..AND YOUR OWN BRILLIANT BEAUTIFUL TENNIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) ci……ci……ci…….ci….. KEEP SMILING SWEETHEART …..YOU ARE BRILLIANT TOP PLAYER……NUMBER UNO UNO UNO UNO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ALL THE BS commentary is a way to create false build up around princess r…… ….all old bs…..make him appear more than he actually is…..WE ALL KNOW TENNIS. WE CAN SEE EXACTLY HOW TOURS ARE BEING CONSTRUCTED. HOW DRAWS ARE BEING SELECTED…… IT IS A BUMMER BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY GREAT, GENUINELY STRONG TENNIS PLAYERS ON TOUR…..THEY ARE THE ONES ALONG WITH YOU DEAR RAFA, WHO TRULY TIME IN AND TIME OUT TRULY EARN THEIR COMPETITIVE EDGE…..YOU AND THE OTHERS ARE DESERVING THE STAGE…..THE ATP ADMIRATION, THE BUILD UP ARTICLES, THE UMPIRES FAIRNESS, AND YOU HAVE THE FANS RESPECT…… MUCH MORE BECAUSE ALL OF YOU COME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE AND BY SHEER GENUINE SWEAT AND EFFORT YOU ALL MAKE the QF…. SF….. AND FINALS. TIME FOR TENNIS TRUE MOMENTS ….. Lets take RECENT , in Switzerland for example, princess r played against players who are not at the top of their shape….they have lost it during the past two or so months…. so then princess r comes out looking “better” but as always, these artificial bs small tours are meaningless. …..WHAT I SAW WHEN princes r competes with real players , in grand slams or even 500 tours, he gets TIRED VERY VERY FAST INTO end of FIRST sets……HE RUNS OUT OF ENDURANCE much much quicker than anybody else on tour BY SECOND SET……VERY OBVIOUS! So all this bs about him being strong etc is FLUFF AIR….as usual. People are paid to say all that bs…..both during matches and off court……FANS ARE AWARE…..THEY SEE……THEY KNOW…… so in my humble opinion I SAY DEAR RAFA….PLEASE IGNORE IT ALL…….and leep smiling….keep your precious practicing…..keep knowing YOU ARE OUR THE MOST BELOVED TENNIS PLAYER EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) WE LOVE YOU DEAR RAFA NADAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ; ) ; ) wi…….wi………wi………wi…….WE LOVE WATCHING YOUR PASSIONATE POINT BY POINT BRILLIANT PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) IT IS AS CLEAR AS A BELL YOU ARE IT IN TENNIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) CI CI OUR SENIOR CHAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) AT THE END OF THE DAY ALL AVID TENNIS FANS KNOW YOU ARE THE STAR !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) …..YOU ARE THE TENNIS GENIUS STAR……FULL OF BRIGHTNESS….. LIGHT….. THAT VERY SPECIAL RAFA SPARKLE THAT IS PRESENT IN YOU EACH AND EVERY MATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) YOUR MOVEMENT AND COURT COVERAGE AND SERVE ARE ALL SO IMPRESSIVE…..BECAUSE YOU ARE SUCH A DYNAMIC, BRIGHT PLAYER……THE SOLE OWNER OF THE CONCEPT OF “IMPROVEMENT” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) ENJOY EVERYTHING SWEETHEART & KEEP YOUR PRECIOUS ENDURANCE…..YOUR INNER WISDOM…….YOUR FANTASTIC TENNIS STRENGTH AND YOUR UNMATCHED TENNIS INTELLIGENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ๐Ÿ˜‰ : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ; ) ; ) GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )
    Now to the more interesting news….YOU LOOK SO GORGEOUS IN YOUR GREEN SLEEVELESS PRACTICE WEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ; ) : ) LOVE LOVE LOVE THE BACKWARD HAT …… Now that is worth noting…..all sound and real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) The other point is….. that point by point ……you are blessed with so much substance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: ) SPEEDY. AGGRESSIVE. FEISTY. INTELLIGENT. VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ; ) : ) : ) : ) Sending best wishes for a beautiful 2018….: ) Lots of love and happiness & VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) HAVE FUN & ENJOY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) HAVE A BEAUTIFUL TIME IN YOUR FUN TOURS…..IT IS GOING TO BE SUCH A BRILLIANT SEASON FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) I have noticed players come and go like light weight….you are so solid….and stay relevant…. and stay FIT…. and stay CLASSY ON AND OFF THE COURTS………… and KEEP DEVELOPING……IMPROVING…………GOD BLESS YOU SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) That is what makes you so very incredibly special and THE ULTIMATE GOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Have a beautiful weekend and a beautiful week ahead!!!! : ) : ) LOTS OF LOVE & HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 !!!:) XOXOXOXO

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    1. Margo

      Wilander and I are with you. Cheers for another great Rafa season. Your post has lifted my spirits and hopes for Rafa. It appears that Rafa and Moyรก are giving statements only to the Spanish outlets which results in terrible English translations. LONG REIGN RAFA.

      RAFA ROCKS

      RAFA ROCKS

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  5. Margo

    Matts Wilander, “Roger Federer must not be allowed to play at his high pace if Rafael Nadal wants to break the Swiss’ recent streak against him. Federer wants Nadal to play aggressive and make mistakes. That’s why he’s running so much. That’s part of his tactics and I think it’s working. The last few times, Nadal was making too many mistakes trying to keep up with Roger’s pace. Nadal has to say, ‘If you can beat me, beat me but I am not going to beat myself by trying to hit winners.’ He has a good chance if he does that and starts playing a little like he used to he has a really good chance of wearing Roger Federer down mentally and physically.” [By James Gray, 1/6/18, 00:30]

    Wilander will be an AO commentator.

    RAFA ROCKS

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  6. Yes, Maria we remain hopeful that Rafaโ€™s knees will hold up throughout the AO. Interestingly, Mats Wilander, who is a big fan of Rafa, gave some tactical advice to him on how to beat Roger ( article in Express on line).

    Wilander says โ€œFederer wants Nadal to play aggressive and make mistakes. Thatโ€™s why he is rushing so much. Thatโ€™s part of his tactics and I think itโ€™s working.โ€

    โ€œThe last few times, Nadal was making too many mistakes trying to keep up with the pace of Roger Federer and I donโ€™t think he can do thatโ€

    He believes that Rafa should use the age difference against Roger. โ€œNadal has to say if you can beat me beat me but I am not going to beat myself by trying to hit winners…..If he does that and starts playing a little more like he used to, he has a really good chance of wearing Roger Federer down mentally and physically. I also think that Nadal has to be careful that he doesnโ€™t fall into the trap where Federer tries to play such quick points…that….the more aggressive Nadal plays, the shorter the points, the better that is for Federer.โ€

    โ€œI think that Nadal has to take a step back (and say to himself) I just have to somehow make the points longer so that I can make him tired. I can not afford to make mistakes.โ€

    I agree with Wilanderโ€™s view in that Rafa should not allow Roger to call the shots by playing to his tune. Roger has admitted in the past that he likes to rush players and get into their head so that they have no time to think. Therefore itโ€™s going to be important for Rafa to keep a cool head, slow things down and keep Roger on the stretch. As always, serving well is key. It is possible for Rafa to turn it around. Of course, this is assuming that there will be a Rafa v Roger final. Many things can happen to derail this as there are lots of very strong and dangerous players in the draw all eager for a grand slam title. Itโ€™s a tall order, but Iโ€™m praying that a fit and healthy Rafa will not miss out on grabbing the trophy this time round.

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    1. Tiggy

      Problem here is that Rafa deliberately stopped playing his gruelling style of tennis and was training to end points more quickly to save his body. This was a major strategy of Moya.

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  7. Maria(England)

    Coach delivers major update
    Rafael Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya has said that he expects the Spaniard to be fit for the Australian Open starting on 15 January. However, he warned that his prognosis is based on the assumption that Nadal is not affected by any further setbacks on his knee injury, which saw him pull out of the Brisbane international.

    “The two training sessions have been very positive after arriving late last night,” Moya said, as quoted by the Express. “We want to make a small adaptation to the weather and also to the track.

    “Starting tomorrow, he will start playing training sets to try on and he will continue to do so in the coming days. Rafa is fine, with confidence and playing at a good level. And we are optimists. We think it will be fine to play the tournament, if nothing gets twisted or changed.”

    Rafa I am keeping everything crossed that your level of tennis will be near your very best and that your knee holds up. I have just been watching the Hopman Cup which Switzerland have just won , and Rogers form is outstanding ( beat Alexander 6-7 6-0 6-2 ) he will take some beating in 2018 and only you can do it , keep that number one spot safe .

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    1. Margo

      I got excited when I read “major update” but further reading failed to produce. Where’s the “major update?” Numerous outlets have published the same article but I must have missed the major updated one. I decided not to post it here because it’s the same thing Carlos has been saying. “Ifs” and “I think; nothing definitive. One reporter, Charles Perrin [Express.co.uk, 1/6/18, 03:42] even published this, “RAFAEL NADAL looks on course to be fit in time for the Australian Open, so long as he doesn’t twist his knee according to his coach Carlos Moyรก.” I would love to rush Rafa onto the court but I know not waiting for him to completely heal would realistically derail his chances for a competitive 2018. I cannot imagine the pressure to perform, from himself and his fans, that he must bear.

      RAFA ROCKS

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  8. Merlyn Darcie

    Dear Rafa, praying that 2018 will be a good year for you. So happy that my prayers were answered regards your knees. Anyway whatever happens all your fans want is for you to be injury free. We want you to go on playing for a very long time. I’m not sure how much of tennis I will be interested in once you stop playing. God bless you through 2018.

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  9. Positive thinker

    Wish you a very happy New year ,2018. ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽผ๐Ÿ“ฏ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽExcited to see your practise pictures. Happy for you. All your FANS need is, a healthy Rafa.
    All the best for the AO.

    LOVE n all my best wishes. Love you always. โฃ๐Ÿ’Ÿ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’˜๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™

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  10. Elaine Crowder

    Rafa all the best for Australian Open.

    I sure hope to see you there when I go on 24-29 January.

    Love and prayers,

    AlaineXXSydneyXXAustraliaXX

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  11. Shirley Taya

    Wish I could fly from Perth to see you play in person Rafa my boy! Vamos Rafa. With my love n prayers. God bless you. Your Aussie Abuela Nan Shirley. ๐Ÿ†๐Ÿ‘‘๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

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  12. Ana the biggest fan to Rafa

    To practice today is very hot today Rafa, good luck champ, vamosssssssss๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐ŸŽพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘โค๏ธ

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    1. I saw that temperature (107F) and could not believe my eyes, Maybe Rafa can practice inside? I am trying to be realistic about Rafaโ€™s chances at the AO. He certainly looks great in those photos. I thought that he had lost weight, but could not see it in these photos. That was done to help his knees.

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      1. Margo

        He did lose weight according to a recent Moya interview. I searched for a video of him practicing but found only the pictures posted here. As you alluded to, he hopes to lessen the wear on his knees with the weight loss and Carlos stated Rafa also wants to try new things but did not elaborate.

        People with knee problems AND are overweight are usually advised to lose weight by their doctor. Rafa’s knee problems are most likely the result of the orthotic he has been using since he was 18[?].

        Regarding the paragraph before these pictures, about Rafa christening the RLA court, the actual article said he was “the first of the elites” to practice on the newly relaid court.

        RAFA ROCKS

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      2. Margo

        Va4favre: I am going to post Carlos’ comment about Rafa’s weight loss. It’s from his ATP interview which I had forgotten. I eschew misquotes.

        “ATPWorldTour.com: Was it that important for him to cut [lose] weight?
        Moya: No, but at the same time, it wasn’t for just one reason but for several reasons. He decided to lose weight because he wants to try something a little different, something that he thinks will improve his game. That alone helps him mentally. On top of that, we believe that losing weight will lower the possibility of more injuries and improve his longevity.”

        I am interested in seeing what the “new” is. I hope it’s exciting.

        RAFA ROCKS

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