December 9, 2022

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Nadal returns in Abu Dhabi: "It will be very difficult for me" |  Tennis

Nadal returns in Abu Dhabi: “It will be very difficult for me” | Tennis

Rafael Nadal hasn’t played a game since his quick exit from the Washington Championships in early August. The Spaniard has been suffering from an injury to his left foot for a long time. His first match in Abu Dhabi will be against Andy Murray or Dan Evans.

Nadal is still not completely pain free, but he is happy to be back. “It’s not about pain. Throughout my career I’ve been in a lot of pain, almost all the time. Instead, it’s about getting a chance to feel pain that I can handle and play well. We’ll see.”

“I have to try it in competition,” Nadal added. “Of course I feel better, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I know it won’t be easy to come back. I don’t have high expectations at the moment. I just expect to be here, playing against a big crowd again, against good players and enjoying it.”

“It was a really tough time for me, really, so being able to be here is great news for me.”

Nadal hopes that his foot injury will continue to develop positively. “I hope things will get better so that I can get back to the level I aspire to. If I can play without restrictions, I want to fight for everything again and that’s my goal. From experience I know that everything can change quickly.”

“Whatever seems impossible today, no one knows what could happen in a month.”

The first Grand Slam of the season begins on January 17 with the Australian Open. Nadal will go there with little competition and thus dampen expectations. “It’s going to be very difficult for me. If it goes as we hope, I’ll only have one Australian championship and these two matches here. So I’ll have a little competition in my legs.”

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“But the first goal is always the same: to be healthy. When I’m healthy, the inner fire is still burning inside me to keep fighting for my goals.”