Finishing the 2022 season on a high, looking ahead to the start of 2023 and all the things in between were covered during Rafael Nadal’s press conference Thursday in Turin.
Having previously been eliminated from semifinal contention at the ATP Finals, Nadal managed to end a year that began with a 20-0 start with one final win, a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Casper Ruud.
“It’s about [having] the personal satisfaction that after a couple of very tough days, I went yesterday on the practice courts and I make a very good practice with the right attitude. Today I receive the prize for that practice of yesterday, and that’s it,” he said.
Nadal is slated to launch his 2023 season at the inaugural United Cup, a mixed-team competition. He couldn’t have asked for a better experience the last time he went to Australia. This past January, he won a 250 event prior to capturing his first Australian Open crown since 2009, an achievement that required storming back from two sets down in the final to deny Daniil Medvedev.
But one competitor of note was missing in action: Novak Djokovic. The nine-time Australian Open champion was deported after then Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his “special power” to cancel the unvaccinated Serbian’s visa before the start of the tournament, a decision that came with a potential re-entry ban of up to three years.
Earlier this week, it was reported Djokovic had been granted a visa to return Down Under.
“That’s the best news possible, especially knowing that now the virus is more under control – seems – around the world. So why not?” Nadal commented. “Happy for him. Happy for the tournament. Happy for the fans. That’s it.”
Nadal, who will lead a multi-city exhibition series in South America and Mexico alongside Ruud starting November 23 in Buenos Aires, is looking forward to going to places where he can feed off the passion from the fans in the stands. He won’t be on Spain’s Davis Cup team, though was quick to point out not to underestimate the capabilities of countrymen Pablo Carreño Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut leading the charge with year-end world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz also out.
Training and time with family that includes his newborn son will follow at home, before it’s time to start up the engine once again.
“As you can imagine now, my life changed a little bit. I don’t make unilateral decisions,” Nadal said with a smile. “If the United Cup starts [the] 29th, I hope to be playing about 1st or 31st.
“Thank you very much, everyone. All the best for the rest of the season.”