“It is good news that I am here again“
“I feel good,” Nadal said at Melbourne Park. “If I am not feeling good, I will not be here. I have good feelings in terms of the surgery that I have in the foot. I can say is almost done. Then, of course, after surgery, after months without competing, having troubles to practice, of course there is always issues when you come back.
“But nothing new for me. I had couple of ones of this. Just accept the challenges of the body presents and the tennis presents. It is again another season, coming back from a tough period of time, but with highest motivation possible to start another season. Very excited to be back here in Melbourne, starting another one. Of course, it is good news that I am here again.”
Mats Wilander, the champion in Melbourne on three occasions, in 1983, 1984 and 1988, believes Nadal will be a big threat again, even if he will only know for sure what shape he is in once he steps onto the match court. “If he’s less than 100 percent, it’s not worth him playing in Melbourne, and he won’t play if he’s under 100 percent,” he said. “The problem is, he won’t know until he’s sat down on his chair during changeovers for the first half an hour, you don’t know how healthy you are.”
A genuine threat?
Nadal’s victory in the Toronto Masters 1000 last summer was the only hard-court event he completed in 2018, a number of injuries costing him the chance for more glory. But Wilander, who will be commentating for Eurosport throughout the Australian Open, said Nadal was a genuine threat, with the hot weather forecast for the first week playing into his hands.