Rafael Nadal confirms he will wear sleeveless tops again

(AFP) – Top seed Rafael Nadal starts the Australian Open next week for the first time in his career without playing a warm-up tournament, and no uncle Toni by his side.

But the Spanish star said Saturday (Jan 13) he feels good and his motivation remains strong.


“Is the first time I am here without playing an official match in my career. It’s a new situation for me. But I feel good,” said the 31-year-old, who played his first Australian Open in 2004.

“I feel that I had a good week-and-a-half of practices. I really hope to be ready. I feel myself more or less playing well.”

With so few matches under his belt ahead of the season-opening Grand Slam, he asked organisers if they could do him a special favour, and they obliged.

It saw Rafa play Austrian world number five Dominic Thiem this week on a practice court under full match conditions, with ball kids, scoreboard, and umpire.

“I wanted to play a couple of close competition matches. I played in Kooyong once. The club in Kooyong is great, but at the same time the conditions of play are completely different from here,” he explained.

“That’s my feeling. We decided to play another match. Talking with the Australian Open, yeah, they gave us the chance to play like an open practice but closer to the match for the crowd.

“We did it. It was a good practice, good feelings for both of us I think. The job was done the right way.”

Rafa and Roger received a combined Ambassador of the Year award from the International Tennis Writers Association. (Getty Images)

Despite his achievements in a long career, motivation for Nadal, who needs to reach the quarter-finals to be certain of retaining his world number one ranking, with Federer breathing down his neck, remains undiminished.

“For me, the Australian Open … if you are not enough motivated, 100 percent motivated to play this tournament, probably you don’t love this sport,” he said.

“Everyone starts from zero. I start from zero again,” he said. “It’s the start of a new season, an exciting one. I hope to be healthy and competitive, and most important thing, I hope to enjoy tennis one more year.”

In Melbourne, Rafa is at his first major tournament in years without his uncle Toni, who coached him from childhood until after his US Open win last year. Toni Nadal is now coaching at the Rafael Nadal Academy, with his nephew under the tutelage of Carlos Moya.

“In terms of professional things, I spoke to him few days ago, speaking about how the life going, how the tennis going,” he said of Toni.

“If I have something to ask, I ask him. If he have something to tell me, he call me and tell me.”

Source: AFP


  1. OLA OLA OLA OLA & VAMOS DEAR RAFA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) ; ) : ) : ) Enjoy lots of fun today & VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Lots of love & happiness sweetheart & have a beautiful time!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) 😉 : ) XOXOXOXO

  2. Rafa, please believe in God. You may have reasons for this attitude n, at some stage, think God has forsaken you, as I can remember reading that your family background is practicing Catholics? God bless you. Vamos Rafa. Your Aussie Abuela Nan-Shirley. 🐂🏆👑⛵️🎉🎉🎉

  3. Welcome back, Rafa. I am so excited for the first grand slam of the 2018 season. What a way to kick things off by going sleevless. Here’s to the glory days when Rafa was a teenager. I can’t believe one year ago in Austrailia is where all of Rafa’s good fortune began with all those victories and finals! I am so motivated and re-charged as a fan to enjoy what comes next for Rafa in 2018.
    Of course I’ll miss Uncle Toni in the stands but now that Carlos, Francis and other members of his tight-knit team are there supporting I am so pumped!

    Best of luck,Rafa, in the first round. Vamos!!!

  4. Aus news has borrowed your comments, Rafa fans! Two quotes and a link to this site 🙂

    The shirt seems to be the one Rafa wore for his Wednesday practice (light grey). He did a photo shoot for the AO wearing it. One of the pictures has turned up on Instagram, but I haven’t found the original.

    Good luck for Monday Rafa!!

    • jas_uk that was really fun and BREAKING news. Many thanks for letting us know. And congrats to the two fans below.

      I was curious to see which comments were quoted so here they are, with minimal editing by aus news in its article:

      Actual fan comments:
      Elsa Wagner
      yes, love to see Rafa wearing sleeveless t-shirt. He looks good in it and with the hot weather in Melbourne it’s only practical to wear it

      Been waiting for it to happen, and why not! If you got it flaunt it. I think he’s more himself wearing sleeveless shirts. Can’t wait to see him in Australia. Good luck RAFA


      • Personally I prefer sleeves especially at his age. He is not a teenager any more and what looked good ( or suitable ) then does not necessarily look suitable now, muscles or not. But then again it may just be my conservatism talking.
        However being sleeveless may free him to play more comfortably in the heat so if it helps in any way, then I am for it.

  5. Why did Rafa say “One more year”?
    Come on! We want you to play at least like Federer now. Those young guns nowadays are extremely boring to watch.

    • He could mean “another” year or he could mean one more year. But if the AO uses a shot clock in 2019, he may just skip the AO. Or maybe he made a Freudian slip.

  6. The shot clock will be in use so going sleeveless should cut down on wasted seconds; he won’t have to keep pulling the perspiration-soaked sleeves from his body.


      • Yes, it will remind us of old times, 2005 R Garros final with light green sleevless top and white cropped pantacourt. I have the photos in a frame in my room. 😃 The French word for it is un debardeur, which means a deckhand, a docker, like they wore in hot countries for unloading the ships. 🌞The Spanish word for the long cropped shorts is pantalon pirata like the pirates wore. FIONA in Paris Why isn t the 2018 schedule in place on this Fan site for us to print ?

      • It was used in qualies last year at the US Open if reports are correct.

        It is scheduled for use during the first round at this AO. So far the other slams have not announced they will use the shot clock during regular play.


      • va4favre, Thank you for the quick correction. I should have rechecked before posting because it was announced in November that the shock clocks would be used during the first round only at the AO. I just found an article that states it will be used during qualies. It seems there was too much backlash from players about a “clock.”


      • From Eurosport.com

        “.. the organisation now says it will remain in the qualifying stages only for the time being – just as it was trialled in US Open qualifying in September.

        Nevertheless the move to continue the experiment, which was also used at the recent Next Gen Finals in Milan, suggests it will be extended to main draws sooner rather than later.

        The sport’s Grand Slam Tennis board issued an earlier statement which implied the controversial rule would be applied for the main draw of the Australian Open in January.

        Another change involves the introduction of a potential fine for a player who either withdraws late or performs below what are deemed by the GSB to be ‘professional standards’.

        Now, any player who plays in a first-round match and retires, or does not perform sufficiently well, could potentially forfeit his whole first-round prize money as a result.

        Meanwhile, the GSB confirmed that all the grand slam tournaments will revert to 16 men’s and women’s seeds from the 2019 competitions onwards.”


  7. Enjoy, Rafael. Hope you can play freely with great focus and mental strength.
    Have a great tournament🤗🍀💕

  8. I am delighted that Rafa will be sleeveless. It could be very hot on some days and Rafa often practices sleeveless. That must be more comfortable for him. It provides a treat for the fans and more comfort for him. As long as he does not return to the longer pants too!

      • Yes, he has a good chance. Last year we were of course put out, I prayed for him, couldn t do any more. 😕 This year I wrote to him that I was pleased he stayed in Majorca for New Year this time 😀 I always think the Abu Dhabi comes round too soon and Brisbane. Prefer them to stay at home for these times. From 2nd January onwards is the time to travel. Even better if he could have stayed in Majorca for Epiphany, it is a big thing there, the arrival of the 3 Kings 👑 they arrived Friday 5th Jan. at 6 in the evening by boat in Palma and then the procession. I asked Rafa if he had memories of this Spanish tradition when he was a boy ? ! 🎉👦 Fiona in Paris

      • If you didn’t read his bio, it may come as a surprise to you but Rafa does not believe in God. In his book he said, “I would like to believe…”


    • Yes, it will remind us of old times, 2005 R Garros final with light green sleevless top and white cropped pantacourt. I have the photos in a frame in my room. 😃 The French word for it is un debardeur, which means a deckhand, a docker, like they wore in hot countries for unloading the ships. 🌞The Spanish word for the long cropped shorts is pantalon pirata like the pirates wore. FIONA in Paris

  9. Fabulous!!! If you’ve got it, flaunt it and Rafa’s certainly got it! Going sleeveless will also be a good thing in the sweltering Melbourne heat.

  10. Love the sleeveless look. Mentally. frees one up. I believe there is nothing Rafa cannot do once he puts his mind to it. He could run Spain! Jean Palmer Winnipeg Manitoba.

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