Nadal reaches Melbourne ahead of Australian Open – Journal

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal confirmed his candidacy for a record 21st Grand Slam title on Friday by posting a photo of himself in Melbourne Park on social media and allaying fears of missing next month’s Australian Open.

Nadal caught the novel coronavirus while playing in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this month and has said he will make a decision on his future tournaments based on his “evolution” in the coming weeks .

A number of other players who were in Abu Dhabi also tested positive, including Russian world number five Andrey Rublev, Olympic women’s champion Belinda Bencic and US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

“Don’t tell anyone… here I am,” said Nadal, who is tied with a men’s record 20 major titles with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, in a Twitter post showing him standing on the court at Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal, 35, played in Abu Dhabi after spending four months on the sidelines with a long-term foot problem. He was eliminated at Roland Garros in the semi-finals of Roland Garros and was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and the US Open.

The positive Covid-19 test cast further doubt that the Spaniard would play at the Australian Open – a tournament where he has won once and been a finalist four times.

Nadal is expected to kick off his preparations for the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, which kicks off on January 17, returning to the tour for the first time since August at the ATP 250 event in Melbourne starting on Tuesday.

His arrival will be a boost for the organizers of the Australian Open, which has been ravaged by injuries with Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Jennifer Brady, Karolina Pliskova, Bianca Andreescu and Karolina Muchova all carried. missing.

As Nadal ended speculation surrounding his participation, local media in Australia reported that Venus Williams joined her sister Serena in skipping the Grand Slam in hardship.

The seven-time winner Venus would have needed a wild card for the main draw but decided not to travel to Melbourne, according to News Corp.

There was still uncertainty whether Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic would play at the Australian Open, where the 34-year-old won a record nine titles, including the last three.

Speculation over Djokovic’s participation has intensified after his withdrawal from the Serbian squad for the ATP Cup in Sydney which begins on Saturday.

Nine-time Melbourne champion Djokovic declined to confirm whether he had been vaccinated against Covid-19, with all participants required to be bitten or to have a medical exemption.

Posted in Dawn, January 1, 2022

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