World No 2 Rafael Nadal is raring to go at the start of the season as he prepares to spearhead Team Spain's title quest at United Cup, beginning here on Thursday. The 36-year-old will represent his nation at the new 18-country mixed-teams event, held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from December 29-January 8."
Always the beginning of the season is exciting. For everybody (it) is a new thing, all the doubts, how things (are) going to go. Even if I don't know how many seasons I have on the Tour, beginnings are always different," Nadal said in Spain's pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday."
I have the highest motivation to try to start well. It's always important to start well for me, for the confidence. The past few months haven't been easy for me. I just try to have the right practice here before the tournament starts.
Then of course, try to help the team. The main thing for me now is to recover the positive feelings on court, being competitive. I hope to. I am ready to make that happen, but let's see," he added. Nadal enjoyed another historic season in 2022, winning four tour-level titles.
The 36-year-old, who earned a 39-8 record on the year, tasted success on Australian soil 12 months ago, winning an ATP 250 title in Melbourne before he captured his second Australian Open crown. The World No. 2 will be aiming to replicate that form this season, but knows it won't be an easy start to the year with matches against Great Britain's Cameron Norrie and Australian Alex de Minaur in Group D."
Only thing that I am focused on now is trying to put myself in a competitive level. The first match is going to be against Cam Norrie, so that's the focus now. Then for me I think it is to try to win the first tie as a team more than any individual match.
Then let's see what can happen against Australia," Nadal said. Nadal, who hit inside the Ken Rosewall Arena on Wednesday, will begin his season against Norrie on Saturday. He will compete for Spain alongside Paula Badosa, Pablo Carreno Busta, Nuria Parrizas Diaz, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, David Vega Hernandez and Jessica Bouzas Maneiro.