‘Confident’ Rafael Nadal gives fitness update as he sets sights on ‘important part of the season’

Rafael Nadal looking relaxed

He has spent nearly two months on the sidelines due to injury, but Rafael Nadal has declared that his “body is in good shape” ahead of the Monte-Carlo Masters.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner started the 2021 season under an injury cloud as he missed the ATP Cup because of a back problem, but then played at the Australian Open.

After losing in the quarter-final at Melbourne Park, he took some time out as he skipped the Qatar Open and last week’s Miami Open to prepare for the clay-court season.

And his red dirt campaign will officially get underway at the Masters 1000 event in the Principality this week.

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“An important part of the season has arrived for me,” Nadal said.

“I think I did the right work to be ready. I’m happy the way that I am playing, for the moment my body is in good shape.

“I am confident. I am playing well I think. I’m practising well these couple of days here in Monaco, in Monte-Carlo, before the tournament start. So I feel ready.”

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Nadal, who has a 71-5 record in Monaco, is chasing a 12th Monte-Carlo Masters trophy while he will also be gunning for titles in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome before the clay season draws to a conclusion at Roland Garros, where he will be targeting a record-extending 13th title.

“I’m just going step by step,” he said.

“I hope to be ready to stay healthy, that’s the main thing. If I am able to stay healthy for the next month and a half, I hope to have my chances to compete at the right level.”

The Spaniard added: “I love to play on clay, but I love to be here, [and at] Barcelona, Madrid, Rome [and] Roland Garros. I love these events… I will have the chance to play in places that I know very well, places that I have a great story with [at] every single event. For me, that’s important. [I am] just happy to enjoy another experience, another opportunity for me to compete in these historic places of our sport.”

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