Rafael Nadal news: ‘I spent four days in bed and then three more days destroyed physically’

Rafael Nadal in action

He made a smooth start to his 2022 Australian Open campaign, but Rafael Nadal has revealed he was “destroyed physically” during his battle with Covid-19 ahead of the tournament.

The sixth seed kicked off his season-opening Grand Slam with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over American Marcos Giron in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

The 2009 Australian Open champion broke twice in the first set, once in the second and twice again in the third to progress to the second round.

It was his fourth win in Melbourne this year as he won the Melbourne Summer Set title last week, which is a welcome return to action for the former world No 1 as he struggled with illness and injury the past few months.

After missing the latter half of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, Nadal made his comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi in December, but tested positive for Covid-19 after the tournament and was laid low for some time.

“Sometimes you are a little bit more tired – I don’t know because of it or because I haven’t been on the Tour for the last six months,” he said.

“The symptoms haven’t been nice. I spent four days in bed and then three more days destroyed physically.

“After that, I started to feel a little bit better, I had a negative PCR after the ninth or 10th day and then I had one or two practices at home, then I came here.”

Although he is used to many comebacks due to injury and delighted with return to action, Nadal admits there was “a lot of doubt”.

He continued: “It has been a very challenging [few] months.

“Not only the last six months have been tough, obviously being out of the competition, but since the last lockdown in 2020.

“Everyone knows that I have an important injury in my foot at the beginning of my career… after those two months being at home, when I came back, it was very challenging.

“It’s honestly been very tough in moments with a lot of doubts, but here I am and I can’t be happier to be back in Australia. It’s fantastic for me.

“When you come back from injuries things are always difficult and you need to go day by day.

“You need to accept the mistakes and you need to forgive yourself when things are not going the proper way.

“At the beginning, things are going to be difficult, you will not have the best feeling sometimes on the court, but staying positive and playing with the right energy… and winning matches helps.”