Australian Open 2022: Rafael Nadal training recordings give a big clue after recovering from COVID-19

Rafael Nadal appears to be ready for the Australian Open when footage of a secret fitness test emerged less than two weeks after an “unpleasant” match with COVID-19.

The world No. 3 was in doubt about playing in Melbourne after only recently returning from a four-month break due to a foot injury.

An official comeback was even less certain when Nadal tested positive for COVID, but – as you can see in the video above – the 35-year-old has prepared for the grand slam.

Nadal spent time on the training ground at his academy on Wednesday and will reportedly fly to Australia on Thursday.

He is taking part in an ATP 250 lead-up tournament in Melbourne starting on 4 January.

The 20-time grand slam champion had been on the fence for the Australian Open and said he had to assess his fitness after two matches at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

“I can not guarantee Australia 100 percent because I have to go home and see how the body reacts after these days,” Nadal told reporters on December 18.

“I have time to make a decision. At this point in my career, I have to go day by day, studying every movement well.

Murray nadal
Rafael Nadal returned to the field this month and lost to Andy Murray in Abu Dhabi in his first match since August. Credit: AAP

“I have been able to show a competitive level against good players even without being in perfect condition. There are things to improve, but looking at things in perspective, it has been a positive tournament.

“The main goal is to be healthy enough to do the things I need to do and strive for the goals I’ve always had.”

He looked even less likely to come to Melbourne as he was one of seven players caught in a COVID outbreak after the Abu Dhabi tournament.

“I have some unpleasant moments, but I hope I will improve little by little,” Nadal said on December 20.

“As a consequence of the situation, I need to have total flexibility with my calendar and I want to analyze my options.”

Novak Djokovic
It is still uncertain whether Novak Djokovic will defend his singles title at the Australian Open. Credit: EPA

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