‘He killed me’ – Rafael Nadal’s practice partner impressed with his form ahead of comeback

Rafael Nadal looking relaxed

Rafael Nadal has not been seen on a tennis court in few weeks, but he appears to be in good shape heading into the 2022 season.

That’s the verdict of world No.14 Denis Shapovalov, who has been practicing with Nadal ahead of his gentle step back into action in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi this week.

“He killed me on the court yesterday so I think he’s feeling pretty good,” Shapovalov said.

“It’s incredible to be out on the court with him. Every time I’m hitting against him, I’m just like, ‘Damn, this guy’s good’.”

Nadal is attempting to bounce back from a foot problem that ended his year early, as he was forced to pull out of Wimbledon and then the US Open.

Yet Shapovalov believes the Spaniard is ready to hit the ground running when he returns to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open next month.

“You really see how great they are when you practise with them,” added the Canadian.

“The guy hits the ball so big, he’s so good, he’s got some of the best hands I’ve seen at the net, for me it’s inspiring to practise with guys like this, for my sake to see how I can be better, or how I can improve my game so I can hopefully one day be at their level or be somewhat as good as they are.”

Nadal is planning to play in some warm up events in Australia ahead of the first major of the year in Melbourne.