MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal says he’s thinking about his next opponent … and his next practice session … and trying to recreate the superb tennis he played in his straight-set victory in the Australian Open’s first round.
What he insists is not on his mind is the number 20 — as in Roger Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, which Nadal would equal by claiming the trophy at Melbourne Park.
“I don’t care about 20 or 15 or 16. I just care about (trying) to keep going, keep enjoying my tennis career. It’s not like 20 is the number that I need to reach. If I reach 20, fantastic,” Nadal said Tuesday, raising his hands in the air. “If I reach 21, better. If I (stay at) 19? Super happy about all the things that I did in my tennis career, no?”
He must have been pleased with the way his 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 win over Hugo Dellien went.
That was built with a 38-15 edge in winners and breaks in eight of Dellien’s 11 service games.
Nadal, at age 33 the oldest No. 1 in ATP history, owns 19 major championships, but only one came in Australia, 11 years ago.
Twelve, of course, were collected at the French Open, four at the U.S. Open and two at Wimbledon.
“I won the U.S. Open a few months ago, and I was super happy in that moment. But today I’m happier than if I didn’t win the U.S. Open? Probably not,” Nadal said with a hearty laugh. “The only thing I can do is put all my efforts on (trying) to keep going the best way possible. The rest of the things, the future will see.”
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