A lot of people are wondering what the level of Rafael Nadal currently is and Richard Gasquet has some thoughts after practicing with him.
For the first two weeks of December, Nadal was in Kuwait practicing outdoors in conditions to what he’d expect to see in Australia. The warm weather is a bit different from what is going on in Europe right now, where Nadal practiced upon his return from the Middle East.
It’s indoors, and it’s not exactly what he’ll see in Australia. In any case, the Spaniard played with a few players during his practice time, including veteran Richard Gasquet, who played Nadal multiple times in the past 10-15 years.
That allows him to describe the level he saw from Nadal, as he has a pretty good idea of what his peak looks like. According to the French veteran, Nadal played a pretty decent level, good enough to competitive and win matches.
Rafa told me that it took him a while to come back, but I felt that he was no longer in pain. He will be competitive and he will win matches, there is no doubt! He is doing long 3-hour sessions. That’s what you need to do, play as much as possible.
Gasquet on Nadal
That’s got to be music to the ears of his fans and lines up pretty well with some other reports that have come out. Nadal bested Fils during their practice match in Kuwait recently, and while the French rising star is not among the best right now, he’s far from a pushover, and beating him takes some effort.
The ultimate test will come pretty soon in Brisbane, where Nadal will make his return, and then the Australian Open, of course, where all eyes will be on Nadal. He likely won’t win it, but he could make some noise.