2/11/13 1:27 AM | Johan Lindahl
Even without being able to watch the Australian Open final and see for himself the victory of Novak Djokovic over Andy Murray, returning Rafael Nadal feels that his era of rivalry with Roger Federer is far from over.
The king of clay showed he's getting back to form by reaching the weekend in both singles and doubles in Chile, marking a return after more than seven months out of the game with knee problems. And with Federer defending two titles this month in Rotterdam and Dubai, the pair of legends is far from spent forces.
Nadal dropped the minor bombshell that satellite provider problems results in him missing most of the matches at the Open, while recuperating on his home island of Mallorca. "Our satellite TV channels have changed in January so that’s why. Djokovic has proven once again that he’s a great competitor. Secondly, that he’s a superb tennis player. And thirdly, that he is a player who doesn’t get injured. That’s lucky. He can do what he wants and it all works well for him. Give me two years without an injury and…."
With his campaign on clay already started with an event next week in Sao Paolo. Brazil, the 26-year-old is eager to test his tennis this spring in hopes of lifting a record eighth French Open title. "All of the computer points that I have to defend in the coming months will make it difficult from here to the end of May," he told L'Équipe in Vina del Mar, Chile, venue for his comeback to the sport.
The world No. 5 played down talk of the demise of his rivalry with Federer, with Djokovic and Murray replacing the top pair in the hearts of the public. "That's correct at the moment, isn’t it? These are two superb players who have played the last two Grand Slam finals.
"It would imply and end to the Federer-Nadal rivalry one but who knows. I’m only one year older than Djokovic and Murray so perhaps now is not the time to bury me. Eight months ago, I was in an excellent position to become world number one again.
"Let’s not forget too quickly. Now, I will try to nudge myself in that Djokovic-Murray era."
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