Madrid: Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal, ranked No. 1 in the world, said he intends “to play in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane and the Australian Open” but emphasised that “a month [still] remains” and he wants to take things “step by step” with his injured knee.
“I didn’t end the season in the best way possible… My knee doesn’t have to be better right now, the aim is for within a month,” he said on Monday at the Telefonica Flagship Store, where he presented a virtual reality game starring himself — “VR Movistar Nadal” — with which users can train and take part in the Rafa Nadal Challenge.
Nadal, who withdrew from the last tourney of the season, the Masters Cup, due to an injury to his right knee, said that on Tuesday he will resume training and intends “to do what’s right to be ready” for the start of the new season.
“I ended the season with injuries and I need to take the time to recover well. That’s why I’ve taken a few weeks of rest. I need to get started again. I intend to play in Abu Dhabi, Brisbane and Australia. That would be the ideal situation and I’m going to try and make it happen,” said the Spaniard, who has just concluded a vacation in The Bahamas.
Despite his premature farewell at the Masters Cup, Nadal ended the season with six titles, including two Grand Slam titles — at Roland Garros and the US Open — climbing into the No. 1 spot in August, a position he was able to maintain until the season’s close.
“We’re in a totally results-oriented world and everyone must follow his own path. When you feel that you have to do things in one way and they don’t go well, then you have to make decisions right away to correct them. This year, I played in 18 tournaments, which is not very many,” Nadal said.
“Apart from the obligatory ones, I played in just three: Barcelona, Brisbane and Beijing. I played almost only what the regular calendar dictated, and what happened is that I played many matches, and fortunately everything went well,” he said.
The Spaniard also said that Swiss star Roger Federer had had a “fantastic year,” adding that he [Nadal] and his team always work to reach agreement on what is best for his body and his tennis.
Nadal also discussed the Academia Rafa Nadal, sponsored by Movistar, saying: “It’s a professional and vital project and more important than my career. It’s very special for me. The Academy is a training centre for athletes where they’re given every opportunity to get to their maximum potential and it has the latest sports technology.”