DOHA, January 4, 2016
After clinching his first title of the season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi last Saturday, Rafael Nadal arrived on Sunday in Doha to start his ATP World Tour 2016 campaign at the US-$1,189,605 Qatar Exxon Mobil Open.
“Well, it is obvious that I feel more confident this year but anything can happen. This is the sport. And last year I played a great set here in the first round and I lost. But I was playing good, no?,” the 29-year-old Spaniard told on Monday.
“And then having a not easy year, I managed it well because I finished in a very high position of the ranking. And especially I finished it playing well, no? This year is another year. It’s true I’m not coming back from injuries, and I feel myself that I worked a lot to be ready for the beginning of this one, and I feel I am. But then this is, as I said before, this is sport and highest level of the sport and every match is so difficult. Anything can happen,” Nadal said ahead of starting his Doha campaign against fellow countryman Pablo Carreno-Busta.
“We worked hard. We worked harder than usual because the physical condition allows me to do it, and that’s important for me,” the world number 5 told about his off-season.
“I feel that I worked well. Didn’t stop much this year. That helps too to don’t lose the condition, and I played in IPTL. For me it was great, because it was a great week of practice, practicing a lot there at the same time and competing a little bit, too. So it was, for me, was a great thing to do. And then when I was back in Mallorca, I had João Sousa that came to Mallorca for practice. We practiced very hard, and then I started in Abu Dhabi playing well again.”
Nadal made his first appearance in Doha 2016, playing doubles with Fernando Verdasco. The two Spaniards, however, lost their opening match against Teymuraz Gabashvili and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three sets.
“Well, I have been winning here a lot of years doubles, so hopefully that’s the good news that I lost this time in doubles that I hope to be ready for singles. Today’s match was a match that we had a lot of chances and was not the day to win. And that’s it.”