Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2021

‘You need matches like this to get better,’ admits Rafael Nadal after opening round win


Rafael Nadal came through a gruelling three-hour encounter on his return against home favourite Jack Sock in Washington at the Citi Open. 

The top seed came through 6-2 4-6 7-6(1) to win his first match since his four-set defeat to Novak Djokovic in the final of the French Open.

Since then, the Spaniard withdrew from both Wimbledon and the Olympics with a foot injury, and the 20-time Grand Slam champion believes it is all about maximising his recovery after his opening round win.

“You need matches like this to be fitter after a month without competing. But that’s part of the process, and I know the process,” Nadal said. “I went through all this stuff many times on my career. So it’s something I am not worried about.

“So is about winning these kind of matches. That helps you to be better. Then, if I’m able to improve with my foot, I think the rest of the things [are] going to come step by step.”

Another player who has also had his fair share of injury trouble is Jack Sock, and Nadal admitted he was impressed with the American’s level.

“[It] is true that he [Sock] went through a couple of important injuries, something that is always difficult,” Nadal said.

“And it is true that today, a lot of young guys [are] there. It’s not easy to fight with all of them. They are younger, they are good. They are ready to play as many weeks as they need.

“Well, I think I saw him playing better than what he did the last couple of years, without a doubt. I’m happy for him. I wish him all the very best.”

Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2021
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