Rafael Nadal ready for bigger challenges in Australian Open title defense   

Rafael Nadal is ready to win back-to-back Australian Open titles (tennisworldusa.org)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Tennis living legend and 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is ready for whatever the upcoming Australian Open brings him.

Nadal is ready to defend his post as the reigning Australian Open king and will kick off his campaign on January 16, 2023.

The Spanish superstar will look to extend his record for the most Grand Slams won in the male division. If he manages to bag the 2023 title, this will be his 23rd overall, tying Serena Williams.

However, this will not be an easy path to success after his long-time coach, Francis Roig, announced his departure from the Nadal camp.

Roig was there when Nadal rose to stardom from the juniors to the seniors rank and became his ultimate mentor for 18 years.

With Roig’s departure, Nadal confirmed the addition of Gustavo Marcaccio, an Argentine tactician who is one of the greatest minds in the sport.

“I turn to Gustavo because Francis decided to take a different path. I’m not very much in favor of making big changes. Francis made a decision, and above all I love him as a friend, practically family,” Nadal said.

Last final’s edition featured him and rising star Daniil Medvedev in one of the most epic championship matches in the history of the sport.

Nadal fought back from a two-set deficit and went on to win the title after sweeping Medvedev in the last three sets.

He confirmed that he already began his training but reiterated that he needs to arrive in Australia to wrap up his camp and in-game adjustments.

“I did a bit of physical training. I think I’ll need a few days in Australia. I’m aware that I’m a little bit short, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to pick up the level I need to be competitive in Australia,” added Nadal.