THE OBJECTIVE IS TO IMPROVE ON FAST COURTS
Nadal: "My goal is to be in good shape for Australia"
BARCELONA.- Rafael Nadal, the world number two, has set himself the objective for next year of turning himself into a "more complete" player and improving his results on the fastest courts. The Mallorcan is not going to precipitate his return after his injury as his chief goal is "to have my foot better for Australia" next year.
"Next season, my intention is to conitinue to improve as a tennis player, for that reason I'm going to cut out some tournaments on clay and 'greenset', even though I have a better chance of winning on them, so that I can improve on other surfaces like grass and indoor hard," he declared.
His crowded schedule and the constant changes of surface have caused the post-traumatic arthritis he has in his left foot that prevented him from playing the Shanghai Masters and makes him doubtful for the Copa del Rey, the old Masters Nacional, to be held in Valladolid from 16th to 18th December.
"My prime goal is to be in good shape for the Australian Open," explained the Mallorcan tennis player, who was sceptical about being able to play in Valladolid. "I've already said that I'd love to play in the Masters, because I've never been able to play in it before, but it's clear that if I'm not in condition, I won't play."
Nadal is aware that it will be very difficult for him to repeat the same number of victories next year "because it depends on many factors". Because of this he prefers to set himself other objectives, among which is being consistent on all types of surface and maintaining himself in the top six or seven in the world.
The planning of his schedule is another area on which he will put special emphasis. "You gain experience on the circuit with time and you realise what you should not do again. For example, last year I made the mistake of taking part in some tournaments when I shouldn't, I came home to Mallorca after playing in Cincinatti instead of staying in the US to prepare for the US Open and the way I prepared for Wimbledon after Roland Garros was not right," he admitted.
If he arrives fit and well for Melbourne, Rafael Nadal will have the opportunity to have a go at one of the three Grand Slams not played on clay (Australia, Wimbledon and the US Open), in which last season he did not get past the quarter finals.
Nadal is not obsessed with being number one
Beating Roger Federer in the world rankings he sees as being rather more complicated, "because he is one of the best in history and this year he has been so much better than the rest," he said.
In any case, Nadal is not obsessed with the Swiss number one. "The main thing is to worry about myself and maintain this year's level. If I manage to put in another season like this one, it doesn't worry me if Federer is again ahead of me," he concluded.