Rafael Nadal declares himself ready for his 2019 opening match

Brisbane: Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal on Tuesday said he was aiming to start the new year in style, ahead of his opening match at the Brisbane International.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner has waited until 2019 to try to return in full form after a year which was successful but plagued by physical problems, reports Efe news.

“I had some troubles through my career, it is true,” Nadal said at a press conference.

“But even like this I was able to find always a way to be competitive and to hold a good ranking to keep fighting for the things that made me wake up every morning with the love and passion for what I am doing,” he added.

The world No. 2 played just nine tournaments last season, in addition to the Davis Cup against Germany in April.

He won his 11th title at the French Open and also emerged victorious at the Masters 1000 Monte Carlo, Rome and Toronto, but had to leave both the Australian and US Open due to injury.

“It was not difficult to keep going. It was a tough year in terms of injuries but it was a great year in terms of tennis level,” he added.

“I really believe that I have a lot of tennis to play in my career, and I really feel that my body is not going worse every year,” Nadal said.

The 32-year-old Spaniard is set to take on the winner of the match between France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia on Thursday at the Brisbane International.