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Sport Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni in Australia

13:21  10 january  2018
13:21  10 january  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Nadal to make Australian return in exhibition event

  Nadal to make Australian return in exhibition event World number one Rafa Nadal, who is struggling to get any match practice before the Australian Open, will play an exhibition event at Melbourne Park in the week leading up to the season opening grand slam, organisers said on Monday.The 31-year-old Spaniard has not played since he withdrew from the season-ending World Tour Finals in London in November with a knee injury.

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. exaggerated by winning the French and US Open titles last year although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury

By Richard Martin. BARCELONA (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal showed that talk of his demise had been exaggerated by winning the French and U.S. Open titles last year although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury troubles.

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Nadal practices in Melbourne amid Australian Open fitness concerns

  Nadal practices in Melbourne amid Australian Open fitness concerns Amid fitness concerns, world number one Rafael Nadal practiced in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. The world number one is under an injury cloud ahead of the year's first grand slam after withdrawing from the Brisbane International.However, the 16-time grand slam champion looked in decent shape as he practiced in warm conditions on Rod Laver Arena.The sight of the Spanish superstar would surely have been a boost to Australian Open officials..@RafaelNadal has arrivedWelcome to Australia, No.1! pic.twitter.

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia , January 10, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal talks with his coach Carlos Moya during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. “It’s a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine.

Former world number one Moya will lead the Mallorcan’s team, after spending last season with Rafael and Toni preparing for the latter’s retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a grand slam trophy. “It’s a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine.

Rafael Nadal showed that talk of his demise had been exaggerated by winning the French and U.S. Open titles last year although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury troubles.

He returns to the Australian Open, where he lost a thrilling five-set final to long-time rival Roger Federer in 2017, after overcoming his chronic knee problems just in time and hoping to continue last year's progress under new coach Carlos Moya.

Former world number one Moya will lead the Mallorcan's team, after spending last season with Rafael and Toni preparing for the latter's retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a grand slam trophy.

Nadal, Djokovic, Tomic a boost for Kooyong

  Nadal, Djokovic, Tomic a boost for Kooyong World tennis No.1 Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Bernard Tomic are all late additions for a hit out at this week's Kooyong Classic.World No.1 Rafael Nadal, six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and enigmatic Australian Bernard Tomic are all late additions -- opting to use the exhibition event to assess their readiness for a crack at the year's first grand slam starting next week.

Former world number one Moya will lead the Mallorcan’s team, after spending last season with Rafael and Toni preparing for the latter’s retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a grand slam trophy. “It’s a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine.

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia , January 10, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal talks with his coach Carlos Moya during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. "It's a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine.

He can take some credit for the vast improvement in Nadal's second serve, which helped the Spaniard win a 10th Roland Garros title without dropping a set and saw him blow away Kevin Anderson to lift the final major of the year in New York.

"I increased my serve by several kilometres per hour and I think I did better overall with my second than first, and I can say I won some points almost for free as a result," Nadal said in an interview with Spanish daily AS in December.

"We’ll have to keep working on that because in my career there are two vital things, the serve and the return, where I start the point and where I have to attack so I don’t have to run more than I need to.

"It's a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine. Moya has come with new ideas and new methods of working that have worked well and we are excited."

LAST ACTION

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia © REUTERS/David Gray Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia Nadal, 31, became the oldest player to end the year as world number one although the stresses and strain on his body finally took their toll when he had to pull out of the ATP World Tour Finals in November after losing his opening round match.

Pat Cash says Nick Kyrgios is an 'outside favourite' for Australian Open title

  Pat Cash says Nick Kyrgios is an 'outside favourite' for Australian Open title Australia's No.2-ranked male tennis player Matthew Ebden says Nick Kyrgios' knee problem won't hamper his 2018 Australian Open tilt.Australian Wimbledon winner Pat Cash says Nick Kyrgios is an "outside favourite" to win the Australian Open, while the country's No.2-ranked male tennis player Matthew Ebden says Kyrgios' knee problems won't hamper his 2018 home grand slam tilt.

Former world No. 1 Moya will lead the Mallorcan's team, after spending last season with Rafael and Toni preparing for the latter's retirement, having helped Nadal roar back to life after a barren three-year spell without a grand slam trophy. "It's a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine.

“It’s a new era and will be like adapting to a different routine. Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia , January 10, 2018. Spain's Rafael Nadal serves during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

That was his last competitive action as he missed warm-up events in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane and only returned for the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament on Jan. 9, in which he lost in straight sets to Richard Gasquet.

Nadal was naturally rusty after his extended break but he looked free from his notorious knee problems and is by no means alone in heading to the Australian Open after injury troubles.

Andy Murray has had to extend his six-month absence by having hip surgery, while Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have not played competitively since Wimbledon in July although the pair, unlike the Briton, will be at Melbourne Park.

Nadal's biggest challenge, and that of compatriot Moya, will be to beat tournament favourite and world number two Federer after losing all his four matches against the Swiss last season.

Federer took his grand slam tally to 19 after extended rest breaks and Nadal, who enters his 18th season on the ATP tour, has also benefitted from carefully picking tournaments to preserve his fitness, something he will do so again this year.

"My schedule in 2017 was the correct one, only playing the tournaments that were practically obligatory and the occasional warm up event," he told AS. "My plan for 2018 is similar and my aim is to miss out a few more events but it will depend on results."

Nadal hardly raises a sweat to move into fourth round .
Rafael Nadal has not dropped a set in the first three rounds and took only 110 minutes to eliminate his third-round opponent Damir DzumhurIt is the 11th time Nadal has made the final 16 of an Australian Open with his only loss in the tournament before the fourth round coming way back in his Melbourne debut in 2004 when he lost to Australian Lleyton Hewitt.

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