Durability tops Nadal’s wishlist
STAYING fit in 2014 is even more important to world tennis number one Rafa Nadal than adding to his 13 Grand Slam titles.
This year, Spaniard Nadal had one of the best seasons of his career, following his return in February after seven months out with a knee injury, winning 10 tournaments including a record eighth French Open, and a second US Open title.
The 27-year-old Mallorcan told Spain’s AS newspaper that remaining healthy and being able to consistently compete at the highest level were his top priorities.
“What I want is to be able to start the year well and in shape to compete in the big tournaments,” Nadal said yesterday.
“In that sense, and thinking about 2014, I am not going to talk at the moment about winning the ninth Roland Garros or winning Wimbledon again, which would be the third time.
“No, look – what is important to me is to maintain my fitness in a way that will allow me to play the whole year, and competing at a good level.
“You see it’s not easy – I couldn’t do that, for the whole season, in 2012, 2013.”
Nadal’s 10 titles this season came close to matching the best year of his career, when he won 11 in 2005, including his first Roland Garros crown.
He will get his next crack at a Grand Slam when the Australian Open starts in Melbourne in mid-January.
He played compatriot and world number three David Ferrer at an invitational event in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Nadal also said he has no intention of joining the dizzying coaching merry-go-round which has seen Novak Djokovic hire Boris Becker in just one of a raft of changes ahead of the 2014 season.
Nadal has been coached by his uncle Toni since childhood, and it’s a partnership which has reaped 13 Grand Slam titles.
Djokovic stunned the sport by hiring Becker, one of a host of former Grand Slam winners from the 1980s and 90s to be handed new leases of life recently.
Roger Federer has been hitting with Stefan Edberg, Richard Gasquet has taken on Sergi Bruguera, Marin Cilic has renewed his partnership with Goran Ivanisevic, while Kei Nishikori signed up Michael Chang – undoubtedly, they were moves inspired by Andy Murray’s success with Ivan Lendl which has yielded the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon triumph.
“It is great to have a great champion in tour games as they bring great charisma to the game,” Nadal told the Gulf News. “It will be great to have Ivan and Boris around this season.
“It is a good thing and will do positive things to the tour, but I will stick to my team. I always feel when I play bad, it is my fault and when I’m winning I’m doing the right things. I had success in my career with the same team.” – Reuters