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Rafael Nadal opens up on Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic world No 1 battle

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Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has laid his cards bare on the table and explained why he feels he is world No 1. The Spaniard beat off the challenge of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to start the new generation top of the standings.
Nadal is the only player to have held the world No 1 crown across three different decades.

The 19-time Grand Slam winner is gearing up for the Australian Open as the top seed and he is hoping to end an 11-year trophy drought in Melbourne.

Ahead of the tournament, Nadal was asked if there are any secrets to remaining ahead of his two biggest rivals.

“No secret at all,” the 33-year-old replied.

“Well, I can’t say I have been lucky with injuries, because I have not. But, well, there is no secret, no?

“There is only about passion, about love for the game, and about being able to stay positive in the tough moments.

“It’s true that I went through some tough situations during all my career. But I was able to always, with probably the positive attitude and with the right people around, that they were a key, I was able to find a way to keep going, no?

“Yeah, something that is difficult to imagine for me because for my style of game, as a lot of people said, my career should be a little bit shorter.

“But here we are. Happy for that. Even for me is a big surprise to be where I am at my age. So happy for everything. Just enjoying the situation.”

Nadal’s Australian Open campaign gets underway on Tuesday when he takes on world No 72 Hugo Dellien.

The 12-time French Open winner will be full of confidence heading into the clash having helped Spain reach the ATP Cup final earlier this month.

“I am practicing I think more or less okay,” Nadal added. “Just remain for me two more days of practice.

“Let’s try to keep going with the right intensity and with the right feelings. Hopefully I will be ready for Tuesday.”

Nadal has been handed a relatively straight-forward draw but perhaps the most interesting early fixture could arrive in the shape of Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round.
Rafael Nadal holds racket

The pair put on a fierce battle at Wimbledon last year and fireworks are expected again should they both get through the first week.

“I don’t know. I am not focused on one particular player in terms of his personal improvements, no?” Nadal said of Kyrgios.

“Everybody knows who is Kyrgios. Everybody knows how big is his talent, how good he is when he wants to play at his best, when he’s able to play at his best.

“His chances are always there. He is one of these players that have chances in every tournament that he plays.”

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