Nadal, Wawrinka look ready to go for Australian Open

The 2018 Australian Open has already been plagued by a couple of withdrawals and it could be especially chaotic with once-injured top players seeded lower than they should be, but the season’s first Grand Slam got a boost on Tuesday with positive news from Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.

Although Nadal lost to Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5 at the Kooyong Classic, results hardly matter at the annual exhibition event. Instead, the top-ranked Spaniard expressed encouragement following his first competitive appearance since an injury-marred loss to David Goffin at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Nadal has been dealing with a knee problem dating back to last fall.

“It was a good test for me and good practice,” the 2009 Australian Open champion said of his loss to Gasquet. “I’m good and I am here, so that’s good news and my idea is just to keep practicing the next couple of days to be ready for the beginning of the Australian Open. It was a long year last year so I started my preparation a little bit later than usual. It’s good to start having the feelings of playing a match–even if it’s not official.”

Wawrinka also won’t play any official matches prior to the upcoming fortnight’s festivities in Melbourne, but he said on Tuesday that he is good to go. The three-time major winner has slipped to ninth in the rankings due to inactivity; a knee injury has prevented him from taking the court since Wimbledon.

“I’m really, really happy to be back on the tour and seeing the sun,” Wawrinka noted. “For me, the first thing is to play a match, to play a tennis match again. It’s been many months out of the tour. It’s not always the best when you are an athlete so I’m looking forward to it; enjoying the crowd. (I) still (have) a lot to do, but I’m feeling really positive; looking forward to starting.”

“There’s been a lot of questions and in fact, this is the first time publicly in six months that he’s said anything, so we are excited that he agreed to come here and do it with the ballkids,” Aussie Open tournament director Craig Tiley said of Wawrinka’s participation in a Tuesday event at Melbourne Park. “So he’s ready to play. I’ve watched him practice. Obviously to play best-of-five-set matches and to play seven of them in two weeks, he’d need to have a lot of things go his way. But, as he indicated this morning, he will be ready to play and it’s great to see him out here.”

Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori have already withdrawn from the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic is a question mark along with Nadal and Wawrinka, but also seems to be heading in the right direction.

Nadal-Gasquet highlights:

37 Comments on Nadal, Wawrinka look ready to go for Australian Open

    • The difference between Rafa and Djoko is that Djoko had already practiced before coming to Australia whilst Rafa didn’t hit the ball until the last few days before traveling to Australia.

      Thiem, he lost early at one of the warm up events; I doubt Thiem is a good gauge for Djoko’s level. Anyway, BO5 actual competition will be a lot more demanding on the body; we’ll see how things go.

      • Thiem has also run a high fever recently, so his overall fitness may be doubtful.
        I’m concerned though about Rafa’s apparent insufficient match practice… He definitely needs a benign draw for the early rounds.

  1. Rafa lost to Berdych, Novak lost to Hewitt, i doubt very much either player will be overly concerned or knock themselves out over an exho, its about getting used to playing again, matches under their belts, thats it basically ….

  2. I think Rafa should be ok for AO; his knee seems fine. I just hope for a kind draw for him, so that he has enough time and match play to get into groove.

    • Yes, the draw is all important but he seems to be in good form.

      Djokovic is wearing a skin colour sleeve on his right arm so I’m not sure if he is fully recovered but he says he’s read for the AO.

      • A confident fan won’t seek for an easy draw.
        You should say “bring it on baby😂” not
        “I just hope for a kind draw for him( R. Nadal)”

        • So what? What’s your message? Most Nadalfans are fairly realistic. Since Rafa must be somewhat rusty after his long break it would be foolish to be overconfident.
          Many Fedfans hoped for a kind draw and some luck, too, at the beginning of the 2017 USO, because they knew that Fed had some back problems. It’s totally normal.
          In the end it’s all mute. We can only wait and see. What will happen on the court is not influenced at all by what certain fans or non-fans utter in cyberspace, lol!

          • You can be confident and realistic at the same time.
            Not overconfident, just confident that your guy/player can make it/do his best no matter who he meets.

            If a player that I like isn’t fit I won’t want him/her to play but if he/she decides to play in a particular tournament/match I will take it that they are fit and no matter who they meet I won’t chicken out, I would say “bring it on baby😂”.

            I have noticed that whenever Rafa plays or is about to play in a tournament some of his fans(luck😂) lower expectations so that when he loses, they can make excuses but when he wins…😂 they go crazy.

            Rafa won’t be playing in AO if he wasn’t fit, if he plays, he is fit and he is playing to win the trophy, he knows what’s at stake and player’s he will likely meet.
            I just want his fans to be confident as he is not act like…🤔.

            A confident fan won’t seek for an easy draw.
            You should say “bring it on baby” not
            “I just hope for a kind draw for him( R. Nadal)”

            R U confident?

        • Stan, as a fan of a player, it makes sense to wish for a great draw. Early on, you want them to find their rhythm and gain confidence, which is easier to do against lesser opponents. I myself wouldn’t mind if Fed had a nice draw lol

    • Novak is playing games, he is ready, he just wants to be underestimated and doesn’t want to much pressure.

      No one should underestimate N. Djokovic, he loves this tournament and he is baller when his in form.

      • Why would Novak want to play games? What would be the point? Whether his opponents think he’s fully recovered and raring to go or he’s still not match fit is irrelevant. They will find out where he is if they play against him at the AO.

        • The answer is in my comment above, that’s just one example.

          Some coaches/players like playing mind games and when a good team/player is underestimated their chances of winning is high and when they lose, the lose is not dramatic because they lowered expectation.

          There is a saying “you had her with your words, and lost her with your actions” oops that’s not it 😂🤣😂😅.
          “If you lose a battle in your head the chances of you losing on D-day is high”- Stanley.

  3. Stan has a shoulder injury

    Australian Open 2018: Stan Wawrinka in doubt with fitness concerns

    Leo Schlink, Herald Sun
    January 10, 2018 8:04am

    NICK Kyrgios’ hopes of landing a crucial top 16 Australian Open seeding will hinge on the fitness of Stan Wawrinka after the Swiss withdrew from the Tie Break Tens event at Melbourne Park.

    Triple grand slam champion Wawrinka warned he would bypass the Australian Open unless there is “zero risk” of jeopardising long-term goals as he recovers from knee surgery.

    And those doubts grew when he opted out of a first-to-10 points tiebreak clash against Dominic Thiem.

    Replaced by Milos Raonic, Wawrinka will continue to monitor his fitness.

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