Rafa Nadal sends ominous warning to Australian Open rivals after double achievement

Rafael Nadal announces end to 2021 season through injury

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Rafa Nadal has sent an ominous message to his Australian Open rivals with a double achievement after storming to victory in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set this weekend. The 35-year-old defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6, 6-3 in the final of the tournament as he continues his preparations for the first Grand Slam of the year.

Nadal’s victory over the American means he has now won at least one ATP tour event in each of the last 19 years.

And he has now won a staggering 89 titles during his illustrious career.

“Starting a season with a title is great,” Nadal said after lifting his latest trophy.

“It is at least another season with a title – I’m super happy for that.

“I played my best match so far since I’m here – it’s a positive start. Now I have a week to keep practising.”

Earlier in the week, Nadal had taken to the court for his first tour match since a foot injury ended his 2021 season last August. And he was in top form throughout the tournament.

The Spaniard entered the Melbourne Summer Set in the second round as he saw off Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-2, 7-5.

He was then awarded a walkover win in the quarter-finals as would-be opponent Tallon Griekspoor was forced to pull-out with a foot injury.

And Nadal then overcame Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-5 in the last four before his triumph in the showpiece event.

“Well I just love what I’m doing now,” Nadal continued.

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“I always felt passionate about the sport in general and I feel a very lucky person that I can live from one of my hobbies – tennis.

“I know it’s not forever. It’s not a job that you’re going to do for 50 years but I want to enjoy it as much as I can while I still have the chance.”

Nadal has won a joint-record 20 Grand Slams since turning professional as a 15-year-old nearly two decades ago.

But he has only ever won the Australian Open once before.

That glory came in 2009 when he defeated long-time nemesis Roger Federer in the final after an epic five-set battle.

The Spaniard has since lost in the final of the tournament three times after going down to Novak Djokovic in 2012 and Stan Wawrinka in 2014 before Federer got his revenge in 2017.

Federer will not be competing at this year’s tournament, while Djokovic’s place is still up in the air.

The Serbian currently finds himself in an immigration detention centre as his lawyers prepare to appeal against the Australian federal government’s decision to cancel his visa after he was deemed to contravene their strict Covid laws.

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