Nadal plays down Melbourne hopes

January 18, 2015 07:18:34 UK

Rafael Nadal says that he does not consider himself one of the favourites to win the Australian Open, having only recently returned to action after illness and injury.

The 28-year-old lost in the final in Melbourne last year as he was hampered by injury and he continued to be plagued by problems for much of 2014, undergoing appendix surgery to end his season early in November.

Playing four or five matches in seven months, you cannot be a favourite of a tournament that is not clay.

Rafael Nadal

He is now back on court, but considers himself well short of the mark needed to be a top contender, especially as he faces a tough first round clash with Russian Mikhail Youzhny.

Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion, told reporters: “I don’t consider myself one of the favourites here. Last year, yes. This year is a different story.

“I would be lying if I say I feel that I am ready to win today. I don’t feel myself ready to win the tournament here today.

“If I am here in a press conference in one week, maybe I will say another thing because I will have the feeling that I will play a few matches – I will have more confidence.

“But in theory, playing four or five matches in seven months, you cannot be a favourite of a tournament that is not clay.”

Nadal can be backed at 9.00 to win the Australian Open for a second time, with world number one and top seed Novak Djokovic 1.90 and defending champion Stan Wawrinka 15.00.

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