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Nadal inside rut, Djokovic on roll while Australian Open approaches

Nadal inside rut, Djokovic on roll while Australian Open approaches

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) ” Rafael Nadal accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Novak Djokovic own the place of set of two largest collections of Grand Slam trophies inside the history of men™s tennis. They are their sport™s place of set of two most prominent operative figures; no indeed indeed one else is flat close. Both are inside their mid-30s; no indeed indeed one knows how a a large amount of longer they™ll exist at the top of the game.

For all that the long-time rivals have inside common, Nadal accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Djokovic could hardly exist entering this Australian Open, which begins Monday (Sunday EST), under additional contrasting circumstances.

Nadal, of course, is the defending champion at Melbourne Park ” gratitude to a comeback from place of set of two sets down inside last year™s final, which he called one of the most emotional victories of my tennis career ” nevertheless he excessively is mired inside concerning while bad a stretch while he™s at some hour dated experienced: 0-2 so a lengthy way inside 2023 accompanied by every one one other accompanied by having won fair one of his past septet matches dating to the extremity of last season.

Djokovic, of course, is making his return to Australia following actuality banished a year ago since he wasn™t vaccinated opposed to COVID-19, nevertheless he excessively began this trip accompanied by a tuneup title inside Adelaide accompanied by every one one other accompanied by has won 30 of his past 31 competition contests dating to the extremity of last season.

He™s still got it, said Stefanos Tsitsipas, the runner-up to Djokovic at the 2021 French Open accompanied by every one one other accompanied by seeded No. 3 inside Melbourne. He tin still play.

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  • Asked at a pre-tournament report conference Saturday whether he feels vulnerable, Nadal did not try to hide a thing.

    Yeah. Without a doubt, replied the 36-year-old from Spain, whose 2022 was littered accompanied by health concerns that included chronic suffering inside his left-hand foot, damaged rib cartilage accompanied by every one one other accompanied by a torn abdominal muscle. I have been losing additional than usual. ... I need to exist accompanied by it accompanied by every one one other accompanied by fair fight for the victories.

    Looking ahead to his upcoming encounter inside Rod Laver Arena opposed to Jack Draper, a fellow left-hander who is a 21-year-old from England ranked 40th, Nadal said: I exist convinced by I™m prepared to amuse oneself well. We™ll see Monday if I™m prepared to win.

    As for his evaluation of Djokovic™s form, Nadal offered this: He ended last year well, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by he started this year well.

    Sure did. None of which matters to Djokovic while a a large amount of while another Grand Slam title would. Win what would exist a 10th Australian Open championship inside place of set of two weeks™ time, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by the 35-year-old from Serbia would grow his haul to 22 majors accompanied by every one one other accompanied by pull flat accompanied by Nadal (both surpassed the 20 for the now-retired Roger Federer).

    I mean, that™s why I retain on playing professional tennis, (competitive) tennis, since I want to exist the best. I want to go nearer earliest inside the biggest tournaments inside the world. There is no indeed indeed secret concerning it, Djokovic said trio days earlier to he™ll not shut accompanied by a matchup inside Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday darkness opposed to the 75th-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena, whose resume contains exactly one match go nearer earliest inside inside Melbourne.

    It doesn™t obtain bigger than this. You have quartet Slams that historically have been the biggest events inside our sport, Djokovic said. It™s excessively one of the biggest reasons why I was really looking forward to go nearer spine to Australia: since of my record here.

    He™s been pleased by the greetings he™s received from spectators inside Adelaide accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Melbourne, where he played an exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena on Friday accompanied by Nick Kyrgios ” the male Djokovic hit inside the Wimbledon final last July.

    I didn™t know how that™s going to go like, following the events of last year, Djokovic said. I™m extremely thankful for the type of vitality accompanied by every one one other accompanied by reception, deep affection accompanied by every one one other accompanied by support I got last night.

    As for the way other players have greeted him, Djokovic said: Well, I have not really been asking around: ˜What do you guys exist convinced by of me coming spine here?™ The ones I spoke to have been really supportive. No one has yet been negative on my return.

    Since arriving inside Australia, Djokovic has regularly mentioned that he doesn™t clasp a grudge over actuality kicked not here of the country inside 2022 for failing to go nearer behind its coronavirus rules ” which have since been relaxed ” accompanied by every one one other accompanied by said Saturday: Probably, if I™m not intelligent to go on, I wouldn™t exist here.

    He is, though. And while he™s been dealing accompanied by a tweaked hamstring he picked up inside Adelaide, Djokovic looked fair fine physically opposed to Kyrgios.

    I exist fond of my chances, Djokovic said. I always exist fond of my chances.

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    Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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    AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis accompanied by every one one other accompanied by https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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