Monday, 29 November 2010

Nadal sets sight on "Rafa Slam"

Rafael Nadal

RAFAEL Nadal will limit his off-season break to six days as the world No.1 plots another coup at January's Australian Open.

The French, Wimbledon and US Open title-holder, Nadal was denied in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals by Roger Federer.

But within minutes of the 6-3 3-6 6-1 loss, Nadal had begun planning for Melbourne Park, where he will attempt to complete the "Rafa Slam" - and own all four majors at the same time.

"This week I gonna work with the sponsors," the Spaniard said.

"After that, practice. I gonna start to practise next Monday. Practise as good as I can to be ready for January."

Nadal admitted yesterday to a lack of composure as a title drought threatened to derail his 2010 Australian Open campaign before a knee injury ended it in the quarter-finals.

The Mallorcan said he was devastated at having to retire against Andy Murray, saying it was one of the most traumatic moments of his career.

(It) was very hard to accept the Australian Open injury," Nadal said. "But after a tough time, probably, I was able to play with ambition all the season.

"In Australia or in Doha when I start the (2011) season, I have zero points (in the race to the ATP Tour Finals).

"So we start from there. First goal is qualification for London next year, and after we will see. For me, I gonna work to be ready and be competitive to try to be in the top positions and to compete to keep winning titles."

Nadal denied he was tired after scraping through an epic semi-final against Murray on Saturday, preferring to praise Federer.

"Roger is probably the more complete player of the world," Nadal said.

"When he's playing well, is difficult to find solutions."

Federer landed his fifth season-ending title and his 66th overall with a performance of brilliance and style. The Swiss won this event in Houston (2003 and 2004) and Shanghai (2006 and 2007).

Australian Open champion Federer was elated to have secured his fifth title of the season, but bemused at suggestions he had experienced a disappointing year.

"I don't see how someone can say it's been a bad season," he said.

"I had some tough losses, sure. You're not going to win every tournament you play. Obviously I can't play every season, make 16 out of 17 finals like I did back in 2005. It's just not realistic.

"I'm happy I made my ninth final this season. I've won five titles, won a slam. I think physically I was better than the last two seasons I've had. That obviously makes me be very positive for next year, that I believe I
can have another great season in 2011.

"I like the pressure of being defending (Australian Open) champion. I love playing there. I'm sure I'm going to play well."

Canadian Daniel Nestor and Serb Nenad Zimonjic defeated Indian Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi, of Belarus, in the doubles final 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Courtesy: Herald Sun

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