‘It’s going to be good energy and good inspiration for what’s coming’: Rafael Nadal pleased with Australian Open form following injury setbacks despite final loss to Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal reflected on a ‘very important two weeks’ at the Australian Open after five months out with injury but could only congratulate Novak Djokovic on an emphatic win in Sunday’s final.
World No 1 Djokovic blitzed Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 in just over two hours in Melbourne to win the Australian Open crown for the seventh time and his 15th Grand Slam overall.
But Nadal, who required surgery on his ankle following the US Open last autumn and then suffered thigh problems, believes he is back on track despite the one-sided defeat.
Nadal was satisfied with his Australian Open form despite losing the final to Novak Djokovic
The Spaniard lost the final in straight sets but will take confidence from the fortnight
The Spaniard said: ‘The first thing that I have to say is many congratulations to Novak, it was an amazing level of tennis tonight and these two weeks. Well done for everything.
‘It’s been a very emotional two weeks, even if tonight wasn’t my best day. It has been a very important two weeks.
‘I have been going through tough moments. Since the US Open I was not able to play a professional match.
‘For me it’s so important to be where I am today again coming back from injury. I really believe that I played a great two weeks of tennis.
‘That’s going to be good energy, a good inspiration for what’s coming.
Novak Djokovic lifts the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning his fifteenth Grand Slam
The World No 1 poses with his trophy after beating Rafael Nadal in straight sets – 6-3 6-2 6-3
Djokovic drops to his knees after securing a record seventh Australian Open title in Melbourne
MEN’S GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS
20 – Roger Federer
17 – Rafael Nadal
15 – Novak Djokovic
14 – Pete Sampras
12 – Roy Emerson
11 – Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg
10 – Bill Tilden
8 – Fred Perry, Ken Rosewall, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi
By Press Association
‘I’m going to keep fighting hard, I’m going to keep working hard to be a better player.
‘Sometimes this tournament has been tough for me, sometimes in terms of injuries and sometimes opponents, like tonight. I’m going to keep fighting to have better chances.’
Speaking at his press conference, Nadal cited the five months he spent away from the match court after the US Open for the lack of physical resilience he displayed.
He said: ‘It was unbelievable the way that he played, no doubt about that. I played fantastic tennis during both weeks, but probably playing that well, I didn’t suffer much during both weeks.
‘Five months without competing, having that big challenge in front of me, I needed something else. That something else probably today, I don’t have it yet, to compete at this super high level.’
Djokovic has also been on a journey of recovery from injury, having undergone surgery on his elbow a year ago.
Nadal cuts a dejected figure as he stands arms folded through the trophy ceremony
It was a disappointing evening for Nadal, who reached the final without dropping a single set
‘I am just trying to contemplate on the journey in the last 12 months,’ Djokovic said beaming at the trophy ceremony.
‘Like Rafa, I had surgery exactly 12 months ago, and to be standing now here in front of you today and managing to win this title and managing to win three out of four slams is amazing. I am speechless.’