Rafael Nadal Practices In Melbourne
Multiple videos of Rafael Nadal practicing at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne have surfaced online as the 20-time Grand Slam champion gears up for his return to the tour.
Nadal was spotted practicing with third seed Grigor Dimitrov ahead of the Melbourne Summer Set, which will kick off on January 4. A video shot by Dimitrov’s coach, Dante Bottini, was posted on Twitter, and both players can be seen sweating it out on the hard court at Melbourne Park.
In the video, Dimitrov can be seen challenging Nadal and pushed the 20-time Grand Slam winner on the defensive. The Spaniard’s attempt at a backhand slice failed to cross the net, helping the Bulgarian seize the point with an unforced error.
Nadal last played at the 2021 Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last month, after a gap of four months due to an aggravated chronic foot injury. In an unfortunate turn of events, Nadal tested positive for COVID-19 on his return to Spain from Abu Dhabi, initially casting doubt over his availability for the Australian Open.
However, all these doubts were put to bed by the Spaniard after he posted a picture from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on December 31.
Nadal’s caption read, “Don’t tell anyone…here I am,” confirming his availability for the upcoming ATP events in Australia.
Nadal will first compete at the Melbourne Summer Set, an ATP 250 event which will also be held at the Rod Laver Arena. The 35-year-old is the top seed in the tournament and will be hoping to add to his 88 tour-level titles.
Rafael Nadal set to compete in doubles in a bid to get more matches at Melbourne Park
Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Australian Open: Day 10
Coming back to the tour after a long break can be challenging, and it is crucial to get plenty of matches in, especially ahead of a Major. Nadal might have 20 Grand Slams under his belt, but is leaving no stone unturned in his preparations for the 2022 Australian Open.
The Spaniard will be participating in the doubles draw with Jaume Munar at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne in a bid to get acquainted with conditions at Melbourne park.