Nadal not expecting miracles against Murray

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  • Star man: Rafael Nadal faces world No6 Andy Murray on Friday.

    Rafael Nadal is not expecting miracles when he takes to centre court in Abu Dhabi on Friday, the Spaniard conceding that he is searching for some rhythm having lacked consistent match play over the past six months.

    The world No3 contested just seven matches since Wimbledon last June having struggled with a wrist injury followed by appendicitis, which forced him to opt for surgery at the expense of competing at the ATP World Tour Finals.

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    Nadal also received treatment for a persistent back problem he had picked up last January at the Australian Open and is now on his way to regaining full fitness.

    He had three practice sessions so far in the UAE capital, one with Andy Murray on Wednesday and two with stand-in coach Francis Roig on Thursday.

    “The level of tennis for me, I don’t know yet,” Nadal told reporters in Abu Dhabi ahead of his opening Mubadala World Tennis Championship match against Murray on Friday.

    “I practiced well, but when you compete it’s different. When you’re out for a while the comebacks are difficult always and here you’re going to compete against the best players.

    “So it’s predictable that probably I’m going to suffer a little bit. But at the same time, I’m going to try my best to win, but win or lose, spending time on court will be a very positive thing for me.”

    The Mallorcan is no stranger to injuries, having been hampered by recurring knee problems, which some have suggested are a result of his heavy duty style of tennis.

    Having turned pro in 2001, Nadal has already spent 14 years on tour and has picked up 14 grand slams over the past nine years.

    While some may think it may be time for him to scale back on the number of tournaments he takes part in but Nadal insists he does not feel he is over-extending himself.

    “Every year we have the same question especially when I have injuries,” the ex-world No1 said.

    “But I try to make the schedule that is right for me, is right for my tennis, is right for my body. Sometimes you have accidents you can’t predict.

    “Last year I had some accidents. It’s not injuries I had because I played too much. I had appendicitis, that is not an injury from tennis. I had the wrist, that’s not an injury because I played too much. I was practicing in Mallorca a very normal shot and I had a bad movement. I was unlucky. In the final in Australia I had an aggressive movement with my back, so it wasn’t like the knee or an injury that happens because you’re tired.

    “It’s true that this year I’m going to play in Rio de Janeiro and in Buenos Aires. I’m going to try to play a bit more on clay because it’s normally easier for my body. I’m playing Abu Dhabi and Doha before Australia, that’s the minimum thing that I can do try to be ready for the season.

    “Then I’m going to play on clay, hopefully that will give me the chance to play matches and put me in rhythm. And then Indian Wells, Miami. Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome and Roland Garros. That’s my scheduled plan, I think I can’t play less.”