‘Rafael Nadal appreciates being there’, says top analyst


There was great anticipation for Rafael Nadal’s debut at the 2023 Australian Open. As was easily conceivable on the eve, the Spaniard had to sweat to get the better of the young British Jack Draper. In the last match of the daytime session on the Rod Laver Arena, the reigning champion prevailed in four sets, obtaining his first victory of the season. The former world number 1 suffered a conspicuous empty pass in the second fraction and didn’t start well in the fourth set either, but a physical problem accused by Draper paved the way for him towards the second round. The Majorcan’s goal is to use the first week to regain confidence and rhythm, in order to play all his cards in the second week. The 22-time Grand Slam champion has played little and badly in recent months, also thanks to the usual physical problems. Although he is not in top condition, the Iberian remains a very uncomfortable client for anyone in the final stages of a Major. Speaking to Eurosport, Mats Wilander commented on Nadal’s debut in Melbourne.

Mats Wilander on Nadal’s debut

Mats Wilander, who said that Rafael Nadal’s state of form was “a huge handicap” before the start of the Australian Open, warmly welcomed the Mallorcan’s entry into the matter, who fell in four sets from a Jack Drape at the end of your tether. “I think it’s a perfect start. Reviving at 36 with so few wins in months is supposed to be tough. He says the right things, he is lucid. I tried to study mindfulness. That’s what Nadal does: mindfulness. He is there, thoroughly in every situation and he appreciates being there. He’s just such a great champion and such a great role model,” insisted the Swedish consultant on the Eurosport set. Rafael Nadal revealed how victory helped him be more “relaxed” and “confident” after his first-round win at the 2023 Australian Open. “I am not frustrated. I’m not going to come back talking about the balls any more because I am here to play tennis. I answered about the balls because somebody asked me about the balls,” he said. “I said my personal feeling because was an answer, not because I wanted to create a story about the balls. Just was an answer to the question,” he added. “I think he is in the right position to have a very productive season. I am happy that I was able to win against a great player this afternoon,” he said.

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