Lindsay Davenport, a former World No. 1, believes that Rafael Nadal will need a strong first week to win the Australian Open again. Nadal hasn’t had a great start to the season, losing in the United Cup to Cameron Norrie and Alex de Minaur.
If Nadal hasn’t played matches in a while, it has been noticed that he might start slowly. Despite suffering two defeats this season, Nadal recently acknowledged that he is pleased with his preparations for the Happy Slam.
In addition, the Spaniard has been given a difficult opponent in the World No. 40 Jack Draper, who won the first round to advance to the semifinals in Adelaide.
He needs a good first week, in my opinion, to really give him the extra push and confidence he needs to make it through the second week. He is capable of it, right? We are all aware that he is capable.
He appears to be doing better physically; he does not have the problem with his abs. I hope that doesn’t happen. It looks like his foot is fine. He needs a couple of matches in Melbourne where he plays well early on, doesn’t get too tired, doesn’t get hurt, and boosts his confidence. Watch out if he can bring that kind of faith into the second week. That is common knowledge,” Davenport stated on Tennis Channel.
In the second round, Nadal might face Mackenzie McDonald or Brandon Nakashima, the current champion of the Next Gen ATP Finals. His potential opponents in the fourth round and quarterfinals are Frances Tiafoe and Daniil Medvedev, respectively.
In the meantime, despite missing the second half of the 2021 season because of a foot injury, Nadal surprised everyone by winning the 2022 Australian Open.
In order to be ready for the second week, Nadal will want to win his first two matches in straight sets. January 16 marks the beginning of the AO 2023.