Rafael Nadal says that a love of tennis has sustained him in the sport, after admitting injuries have severely tested him throughout his career.
Nadal became the oldest year-end world number one in history at the age of 33 in November, despite many experts predicting his intense style of play would limit his shelf-life at the top of tennis.
He will be bidding for a 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, and should he achieve it will draw level with Roger Federer at the top of the all-time list – but what is the secret to his apparent age and injury defying powers?
“Well, I can’t say I have been lucky with injuries, because I have not,” he told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
“But there is no secret. There is only passion, about love for the game, and about being able to stay positive in the tough moments.
“It’s true that I went through some tough situations during all my career.
“But I was able to always, with probably the positive attitude and with the right people around, to find a way to keep going.
“[It’s] something that is difficult to imagine for me because of my style of game, as a lot of people said, my career should be little bit shorter.
“But here we are. [I’m] happy for that. Even for me is a big surprise to be where I am at my age.”
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