Nadal not giving up on Grand Slam dream despite being pain-hit

Johannesburg [South Africa]: 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal on Sunday revealed his battle against chronic pain, saying he had not played without pain for years, but added that he is remaining optimistic of challenging for big titles and keeping his Grand Slam career alive.

“I am not injured, no. Pain-free is a long time ago,” Sport24 quoted Nadal, who is launching his partnership with new coach Carlos Moya, as saying when asked if he was free of pain and injuries.

Injury-hit Nadal won the last of his 14 grand slam titles in 2014 when he claimed his ninth French Open title, but has suffered a string of injuries since that high point. And after a lengthy discussion with his long-time coach, his uncle Toni Nadal, the 30-year-old hired fellow Spaniard Moya in December, 2016.

“I am not a person who takes decisions like this.I need to talk. More than anything, you know, my uncle is my coach,” Nadal said.

“He is a person that is decisive in my career, so I need to talk with him before taking any of these decisions. I will never take a decision like this if Toni is not happy with it.”

“He’s (Moya) a person that I practised with during almost all my career since I was 15 until he retired… It’s not a big deal, no? He is close to my house. He lives in Mallorca, too,” he added.

The current World N0. 9, who will play Germany’s Florian Mayer in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday, is seeded to meet top-rated teenager Alexander Zverev in the third round.

In the last edition of the grand slam, the Spaniard lost in the first round Park to compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

However, he now insists he wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t think he had a chance of lifting the trophy.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion could reach only to the last eight of the Brisbane International, the build up to the Australian Open played last week, after going down at the hands of top-seed Milos Raonic of Canada in their quarter-final clash.

“If I don’t believe that I can be competitive — and when I say ‘competitive’, it’s fighting for the things that I fought for during the last 10 years — I will be probably playing golf or fishing at home,” he said.

“I am being honest about this. If I am here it’s because I believe… I can fight for the things that really motivate me,” he added. (ANI)