Rafael Nadal and Team Spain took a trip on Wednesday to Rottnest Island, 18 kilometres west of mainland Australia, ahead of the start of the inaugural ATP Cup that begins on 3 January.
“We are not taking this competition like preparation for another one, even if the Australian Open is around the corner,” Rafa said.
“It’s a tournament that we want to compete well in, and then we’ll have a week before the Australian Open for me personally to practice and for some of the others to play in Auckland or Adelaide.
“So we are very focused on trying to be ready for this competition.
“We are a team that gives the maximum. But there are other teams that are also prepared for that.”
Rafa said he was still shaking off jet lag after arriving in Perth in the early hours of Monday morning, but he’s adamant he will be ready to fire in time for Spain’s opening tie against Georgia at RAC Arena on Saturday night.
Rafa’s scheduled blockbuster clash with world No. 13 Kei Nishikori next week now won’t go ahead after the Japanese star pulled out of the Australian summer with an elbow injury.
“That’s part of our sport, and the negative part of our beautiful sport; the injuries,” Rafa said.
“I wish him a good recovery.”
Rafa followed in the footsteps of Federer by taking a selfie with a quokka on Wednesday during a government-sponsored trip to Rottnest Island.
“They are super friendly, not too scared to be close to people,” Rafa said of the quokkas.
“We had some fun with them.”
In front of a pack of reporters in sheltered Little Parakeet Bay, Rafa said the Spanish team had welcomed 2020 with a barbecue and a boat ride down the Swan River, before finishing the night off in their hotel room.
Following Spain’s New Year’s tradition, the team celebrated eating 12 grapes at midnight, a ritual set to bring good luck for the next 365 days.
“We are full of luck, since we all celebrated with grapes,” Rafa said.
Sources: news.com.au, watoday.com.au