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Injury-hit Nadal confident of ‘competitive’ Australian Open outing

RAFAEL Nadal believes he is ready to overcome his injury challenges and have a successful outing at the Australian Open in January.

The first Grand Slam tennis event of 2023 will be held in Melbourne from January 16 to January 29.

Nadal won the 2022 edition of the event and is aiming to successfully defend his title despite not being in peak shape.

The 36-year-old has been training in the last few days after a Latin American exhibition tour alongside Norwegian third-ranked Casper Ruud.

“I arrived on the 3rd (of December). I spent almost a week doing nothing, which was the right thing to do,” Nadal told Spanish newspaper As last night.

“I did a bit of physical training, I think I’ll need a few days in Australia. I’m aware that I’m a little bit short, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to pick up the level I need to be competitive in Australia.”

Nadal, who has won a record 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, one more than Novak Djokovic and two ahead of Roger Federer, announced earlier this week the addition of Argentine Gustavo Marcaccio to his staff, after the departure of veteran coach Francis Roig after 18 years in his team.

“I turn to Gustavo because Francis decided to take a different path. I’m not very much in favour of making big changes. Francis made a decision, and above all I love him as a friend, practically family,” Nadal said.

Nadal will travel to Sydney on Monday to play in the United Cup mixed tournament in preparation for the Australian Open.

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