‘The X-factor is Rafael Nadal’s body’, says legend


Although his best years are behind him, at least it seems so, Stan Wawrinka continues to be one of the great figures of the ATP. The multiple Grand Slam champion prefers to be realistic and he believes that at 37 years old and being number 148 in the world, winning a title in this category again is practically an “impossible mission”. It is a reality that in the recent past his generational rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, already did it, who after recovering from a series of injuries were able to return to the top. That situation is very far away in his case. “I think it is impossible to compare Roger and Rafa with the rest of the players, we are all different. In my case I had my first big surgery in 2017 and I was back in the top 20. I was playing at a very high level and I was very happy with that. Now I had another operation and I am already 37 years old, almost 38. I am not getting any younger. Is more difficult. I think I still have some great results in me, I can win tournaments and I hope to do it next season. I’m not sure what level of tournament it is, but as long as I enjoy it I’ll keep trying”, pointed out the veteran Swiss player. Regarding the motivation he has found for returning to the tour after so many injuries, he pointed out: “The first reason is the fans, the emotion you get when you play. I think, being back in Australia is always special. The fans are amazing here, they love the sport and come to have fun during the games. I think that’s the first reason I keep going, I love the excitement that I can get. I am sure that the day I stop playing tennis I will never find that emotion again. I love the game, the competition and the process of getting there even when it’s hard.”

Paul McNamee reflects on Nadal

Retired Australian tennis pro Paul McNamee believes Rafael Nadal will have a tough time defending his Australian Open title this year. “This time Djokovic, the nine-time champion and deserved favorite is here, and Nadal is not even the highest ranked Spaniard! That mantle belongs to world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz – young, strong and hyper-quick, someone Aussie crowds do need to see,” he wrote in his column for The Age. “The X-factor is Nadal’s body. There is speculation his abdominal injury is affecting his ball toss but, for me, more concerning is his own recent admission: “I need to get a little faster physically.” Court coverage has always been a major asset of Nadal’s but, and this is a cruel thing to say, I fear he’s lost a yard,” he expressed.

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