“1st test without the baby, I lost the 1st round; 2nd test, I was out of the group stage”
Rafael Nadal will start the 2023 season with his wife Maria Francisca Perello and their newborn son by his side, as the Spaniard touched down in Sydney on Tuesday to lead his country to the United Cup.
Speaking at his pre-tournament press conference, the 22-time Grand Slam champion was asked about how he was adjusting to the tour as a new father, which he found amusing. The Mallorcan has joked that his previous tournaments as a father fell short, losing in his debut match at the Paris Masters and getting knocked out of the ATP Finals in the group stage.
The 36-year-old believes he can only improve from here, adding that he is stirring things up and getting organized to make the transition easier for him and his family.
“The first event where I play as a father without the baby with me, I lost the first round. Second event, traveling with the baby, I was out of the group stage. In the end, I won my last game, but I have to keep improving, right? Nadal said. “We have help. No problem at all. I just need to organize my life a bit, like everyone has to do when you have a child in your life.”
With that little issue resolved, the world No. 2 was delighted to be in Australia for a brand new competition, adding that he and his fellow Spaniards will do their best to go far in the event.
“I am delighted to be in Australia once again. I hope to be ready to enjoy our month here in Australia,” he said. “I am delighted to play this competition for the first time. So let’s see. We are now focused on this event. Let’s do our best and see how far we can go.”
“It’s always different when you play as a team” – Rafael Nadal on the United Cup
Rafael Nadal then addressed the United Cup format, noting that team events are always different from standard tennis tournaments. With mixed doubles events all the more rare, the former world No. 1 was looking forward to seeing how he and his compatriots go about their business next week.
“It’s always different when you play as a team. We’re used to playing Davis Cup or Fed Cup I think. I mean, it’s not 100% new, but at the same time it’s the first time that we share the forces between men, women,” said Nadal. “A different story for us. It’s going to be exciting.”
The Spaniard is confident of creating a good atmosphere with his teammates, which includes Paula Badosa, Pablo Carreno Busta, Marc Lopez and others, and navigating a tough group which includes hosts Australia and Great Britain.
“Yes, I can’t wait to see how this new competition works and how things will develop over the next few days,” he said. “I think we can create a good team atmosphere, and hopefully we can start well because we know we have a very tough group.”