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Rafael Nadal has rejected claims he is struggling with his fitness ahead of the Australian Open and says his problem shoulder is in ‘perfect condition’ ahead of the tournament in Melbourne.

The first live tennis Grand Slam of the year gets underway on January 16th and all the game’s stars will be looking to emulate Novak Djokovic who won the tournament last year and went onto to dominant the rest of 2011.
Nadal had a relatively disappointing 2011 season, and despite winning the French Open, many started to question whether he was still up to the challenge both mentally and physically after he complained of fatigue following a resounding defeat to Roger Federer in the last tournament of the season in London.

The 25-year-old has got off to a solid start in 2012 and recently made the semi-finals of the Qatar Open before failing to France’s Gael Monfils. The Spaniard has already announced he will take the whole of February off to take some extra rest to ensure his freshness for the rest of the year, which also include the Olympics at which he’ll be defending the title that won in 2008.

Many have questioned whether he’ll be able to last the whole season but he is confident of his chances of success – even if the online bets don’t share his confidence - and is looking forward to challenge Djokovic. "I've been working hard. I think I'm working the right way. There's Djokovic (to compete with), but there's a lot of fantastic players around and I have to be ready to compete against everybody.

"Last year I lost six important finals against him, but I played finals and that's something really difficult to do. I know how difficult it is to be (in finals) almost all the time."
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