Nadal and Murray head to Brisbane with uncertainty
We headed into 2019 with high hopes for the Big Four, but just a week in and the reunion may very well be a bust. However, Rafael Nadal believes he can pull off a Roger Federer-like tennis miracle and win the Australian Open just two months after an operation.
Nadal along with Andy Murray both head into a major event with health concerns. After withdrawing from last week’s Brisbane International with a thigh strain and not playing a sanctioned event in four months, Nadal survived two matches of Fast4 action against Nick Kyrgios on Monday night before happily declaring: “I didn’t feel the pain at all”.
The 17-times grand slam champion lost 4-0 3-4 5-3 in a singles work-out lasting barely an hour before teaming with Milos Raonic to edge Kyrgios and John Millman 4-1 1-4 5-4 in a doubles match-up that was only half hit-and-giggles for Nadal after a wretched run on the sidelines.
When asked what he thought of his chances of winning the Australian Open were, Nadal said: ‘Why not?’
Nadal carried on to explain he wouldn’t attempt to predict the outcome, but the ‘big importance is I am feeling good with the ball.”
Meanwhile, Andy Murray’s expectations are ‘tempered’ before the Australian Open. A year on from his hip surgery, and with just eight wins to show, Andy Murray began 2019 very optimistic. However, at last week’s Brisbane International, Murray lost in the second round resulting in him doubting his future. “Whether I’m capable of that, I don’t really know.”
Murray is unsure of how far his hip will carry him, and his surgeon Dr. John O’Donnell has recently explained;
“Andy’s hip is an ongoing problem. Not as bad as it was, but not normal –
He’s certainly improved but he still has ongoing problems with it. I think he’s been walking a tightrope for some time. It’s just his intense desire to do well that’s kept him going as well as he has.”