Rafael Nadal has gained a report 22 Grand Slam males’s singles titles

Dates: 16-29 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Protection: Commentary day-after-day from 07:00 GMT on Radio 5 Sports activities Additional ‘Tennis Breakfast’ reside from Melbourne, with chosen reside textual content commentaries and match studies on the BBC Sport web site and app.

High seed Rafael Nadal says he’s weak to dropping towards rising British star Jack Draper within the Australian Open first spherical.

Spain’s Nadal, the defending males’s champion, has misplaced six of his previous seven matches, a run stretching again to final 12 months’s US Open.

Draper, 21, has emerged as one of many tour’s hottest prospects and reached the Adelaide semi-finals this week.

“He is likely one of the hardest first-round opponents doable,” stated Nadal, 36.

“He’s younger, highly effective, rising very quick and taking part in nicely.”

Requested if he felt weak going into Monday’s opening match, he added: “Sure, surely. I’ve been dropping greater than normal, in order that’s a part of the enterprise.”

Nadal gained the Australian Open title final 12 months, a couple of months after going through considerations {that a} foot harm may pressure him to retire.

One other main victory adopted on the French Open – the event he has gained 14 occasions – taking him to 22 Grand Slam titles and away from long-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

The Mallorcan left-hander performed by Roland Garros with persistent foot ache after which withdrew from his Wimbledon semi-final towards Nick Kyrgios with a torn belly muscle.

Whereas he returned to play the US Open and reached the fourth spherical, Nadal has struggled to select up many victories since.

The world quantity two, who’s the highest seed in Melbourne after Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz withdrew injured, has began the 2023 season with defeats by British primary Cameron Norrie and Australia’s Alex de Minaur on the United Cup.

“I have to construct once more all this momentum. I have to construct once more this confidence with myself with victories,” stated Nadal.

Draper earned one of many largest wins of his profession by beating Canadian sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime within the US Open final 12 months

“By the way in which, I did not play that unhealthy within the first two matches the 12 months. I misplaced towards two nice opponents, however having very optimistic probabilities to win each matches.

“I really feel prepared, actually. The one factor that did not occur for me is victories.”

Draper is making his Australian Open debut, having climbed from exterior the world’s prime 250 into the highest 40 prior to now 12 months.

The left-hander, who earned victories over top-10 opponents Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime in August, says he has the assumption he may cause a shock towards his idol Nadal.

“I need to go on the market and battle arduous for each ball and I actually consider that my tennis is nice sufficient to beat quite a lot of guys; I really feel assured,” he stated.

“I generally need to remind myself that I’ve solely been on tour for six months now. So I am nonetheless gaining quite a lot of expertise however I can really feel assured in my tennis.”

Murray not nervous by powerful draw

British former world primary Andy Murray says he feels “able to play a prime participant early on” after being drawn towards thirteenth seed Matteo Berrettini in Melbourne.

The 35-year-old Scot misplaced to Italy’s Berrettini – the 2021 Wimbledon runner-up and a Melbourne semi-finalist final 12 months – within the US Open third spherical.

“It is clearly a troublesome draw. However I additionally really feel like I am in a significantly better place than the place I used to be throughout any of the Slams final 12 months coming into it,” stated Forty ninth-ranked Murray, a five-time runner-up at Melbourne Park.

“I really feel nicely ready. I really feel able to play a prime participant early within the occasion.

“Perhaps final 12 months, at occasions, my recreation did not really feel that nice and getting a troublesome draw, a troublesome match early within the event, did not felt nice.”

Source link