Rafa rarin' to go in Shanghai

Updated: 2016-10-12 07:32

By Xin Hua in Shanghai(China Daily)

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With some of the biggest names in tennis set to clash in the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Rafael Nadal on Monday declared himself ready to go deep in the tournament.

"It has been a difficult moment of the year, and I am trying to finish well and trying to be ready again for the next season. That's my real goal," said the popular Spaniard, who won the Olympic doubles gold medal.

"We are trying to realize what we need to work on for the next couple of months and to be ready again for the beginning of the season," he said.

"I talk to my coach about the things we need to prepare for the future ... not only for the immediate practice."

After an injury-plagued season, Nadal revealed his goal was to finish the campaign in the best possible way.

"It's tough to be back, especially when you are back and still with pain," Nadal said.

"But as always, my goal is just to keep working hard as I did today, as I did yesterday, as I do every day to get back to the level of tennis I was playing before the injuries."

When asked about the best thing about being a tennis player at his level, he said: "The most beautiful thing, I think, is that you go around the world and you feel the love of the people. You go on the court and you feel the support of the people."

In response to world No 1 Novak Djokovic's comment on not finding joy and happiness in tennis, Nadal said his happiness comes in various forms besides tennis.

"It's true that tennis has been for the last 20 years an important part of my life, for sure, but in life there are a lot of more important things than just the game," he said.

Defending champion and top seed Djokovic is drawn with fourth seed Nadal in the top half, with second seed Andy Murray projected to face off against third seed Stan Wawrinka in the other semifinal.

Djokovic had a training session with world No 3 and US Open champion Wawrinka on Sunday.

"There is certainly something different when you're playing against or practicing with a top player, because the quality of the training is obviously very high," Djokovic said.

"I like always to train with Stan, especially because we have a very friendly relationship and we get to train quite often ... especially before big tournaments."

Djokovic said his priorities are no longer the titles at the majors or the No 1 ranking.

"The last three months were up and down a little bit, but generally I didn't find that kind of satisfaction on the court, which is the very reason and the source of my motivation to play the tennis," Djokovic said.

Wawrinka, meanwhile who won his third career major a month ago at the US Open, said he feels good coming into Shanghai.

"So far, I'm quite happy with the practice. I would say the courts are a little bit faster than last year, but in general I'm feeling good," he said.

Wawrinka has twice reached the quarterfinals in Shanghai in six appearances, and spoke of how much he enjoys playing here.

"I always enjoy coming back to Shanghai," Wawrinka said.

"I think we are seeing that the tournament is doing an amazing job for the players - not only on-site but also off-site - and we have the opportunity to discover the city and enjoy its restaurants and attractions.

"So I always enjoy my time here, for sure."

Rafa rarin' to go in Shanghai 

Rafael Nadal answers questions at Monday's media conference ahead of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.Fan Jun / Xinhua

(China Daily 10/12/2016 page22)