Battler Duckworth has no Rafa fears
AUSTRALIAN Open bolter James Duckworth is undaunted at facing world No 2 Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park tomorrow, insisting he’ll give it his best shot.
Ranked No 238 in the world, Duckworth has overcome a string of operations and injuries to win the Australian Open wildcard playoff for a shot at Nadal. The first- round pairing is the latest in a long series of horror grand slam assignments for the New South Welshman.
“The last grand slams, I played (Marin Cilic) on Philippe Chatrier (court), (Alexander) Zverev at Wimbledon then (Andy) Murray first round of the US,” he grinned.
“I’ve played Roger (Federer), once here and once in Brissy. I played Lleyton (Hewitt) in his last (singles) match here, pretty big stage, and really enjoyed it out there.
“The crowd is always awesome here in Australia and so I hope I get a bit of support. I’ve had plenty of tough draws, but I like to think what comes around, goes around.”
Duckworth has won five of 23 grand slam matches compared to 17- time major owner Nadal’s 247 victories from 283 contests.
“It’s a tough match but I’m looking forward to it. It’s why you play tennis, to play on these big stages, to play against these great champions,” Duckworth said.
“I’m going to try my game. Try to play aggressive. It’s exciting to get on a big court. It’s a great challenge and I’ll be up for it.”