- The World No. 11 defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6, 7-5 in the match.
- At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal will face Jack Draper of the United Kingdom in his first match.
- Nadal is the reigning champion in the Australian Open.
Without a doubt, Rafael Nadal has had a disappointing performance in 2023. In a practice match ahead of the Australian Open on January 12, he was defeated by Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. The World No. 11 defeated the Spaniard 7-6, 7-5.
The match was a part of the exhibition matches that took place at Melbourne Park during a four-day period before to the tournament on hard courts. Hurkacz shared a photo on social media after the match with the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
He captioned the post, “Thanks @RafaelNadal for a great practice today. Good to be back in Melbourne,” Hurkacz wrote.
Thanks @RafaelNadal for a great practice today 😊🎾 Good to be back in Melbourne! @AustralianOpen pic.twitter.com/lt6QRYJ7WP— Hubert Hurkacz (@HubertHurkacz) January 12, 2023
Nadal competed in the United Cup earlier this year, where he dropped both of his singles matches. He lost his first match to Cameron Norrie 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Then, at the Ken Rosewall Arena, Alex de Minaur of Australia defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 1-6, 5-7.
Despite not being able to start the year off right, Nadal isn’t concerned with his form.
“Six hours on court almost. I need hours on court. I need battles like this. I didn’t play much official matches in the last six months, almost seven. Days like these two help,” Nadal reportedly told the media.
He further added, “Of course, with victories the process is faster, but I need to keep fighting. That’s it. For a few moments, I played a good level of tennis. Playing good with the backhand. Changing directions with the forehand.”
In Carlos Alcaraz’s absence, Rafael Nadal will enter the men’s singles draw as the number-one player, and on January 16 he will face Jack Draper of the United Kingdom.
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After defeating Daniil Medvedev in an exciting five-set match, Rafael Nadal is the reigning champion. He dropped the opening two sets before making an epic comeback.