Dura­bil­ity tops Nadal’s wish­list

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

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

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