Nadal and the “Cool” Australian Open 2015
Rafael Nadal is hopeful of being ready for the Australian Open after returning to training this week following surgery. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper AS the Spanish number 1 said: “It’s always a bit tough starting off after a few difficult months, without any continuity, and after the last month and half without being able to play any sport at all. I have to get myself fit physically, progress my tennis as much as possible and lay the foundations to my new season.”
The 14-time Grand Slam champion, who has also battled knee, wrist and back problems, is looking at the events in Abu Dhabi and Doha at the start of 2015 as a chance to step up his recovery ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on January 19. When asked about the possibility of him being fully fit for Melbourne Park in six weeks’ time, Nadal said: “If you train well and you feel right physically, the process is much quicker. In a few days you pick up the speed of the ball again, the movement in the legs and, if I do good work at home and I play well at the start of the year, that could be enough to arrive in Australia well prepared.” Nadal refused to look too far ahead, though, and admitted he does not know if he will be able to continue his record run that has seen him win at least one grand slam title every year for the last decade. He said: “Nobody has managed to go 10 successive years winning a grand slam, it’s a lot. I don’t know if I will be able to.” Nadal is currently third in the world rankings behind Djokovic and a rejuvenated Federer, but he knows he is having to play catch-up to his two big rivals. “I think Federer has finished the year very well, the same as Djokovic. They are going start again strongly whereas I come from almost zero, and I have to recover what I’ve lost during the last six months.” Nadal’s only Australian Open triumph so far came back in 2009, but he was runner-up to Djokovic in 2012 and reached the final in 2014 only to lose to Stan Wawrinka.
As if in a bid to make a bit easir for the Spaniard, the 2015 Australian Open will not be as hot as it was last January. Not because the organisers are sure the heat wave that struck in 2014 will not come again but rather, the Organisers at Melbourne Park have heat-proofed the event for spectators by completing the roof on Margaret Court Arena and adding shade cloths around backcourts. There has also been work done in order to help players understand whether their matches can be affected by the heat with a new traffic light-themed “heat policy gauge”. Green and amber lights would give way to red in extreme conditions. All these measures will hopefully avoid all the criticism of the hot weather policy that plagued last year’s event during a four-day stretch of 40C-plus temperatures.
Considering Nadal’s odds to win the 2015 Australian Open, are for some bookmakers, as high as 11/2, what advice would the World’s Best Tennis Tipster give?