Rafael Nadal will begin the 2023 season with his wife Maria Francisca Perello and their newborn son beside him, as the Spaniard touched down in Sydney on Tuesday to lead his country at the United Cup.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the tournament, the 22-time Grand Slam champion was asked about how he was adapting to the tour as a new father, something he found amusing. The Mallorcan joked about how his previous tournaments as a father have not been up to the mark, losing out in his opener at the Paris Masters and getting knocked out of the ATP Finals in the group stage.
The 36-year-old reckons he can only improve from there, adding that he was shuffling things around and getting organized to make the transition easier for him and his family.
“The first event I play like a father without the baby with me, I lost first round. Second event, traveling with the baby, I was out of the group stage. At the end I won my last match, but I need to keep improving, no?” Nadal said. “We have some help. No problem at all. Just I need to organize little bit my life, as everybody needs to do when you have a child in your life.”
With that little problem out of the way, the World No. 2 was excited to be in Australia for a brand new competition, adding that he and his fellow Spaniards will be doing their best to go far in the event.
“Excited to be in Australia one more time. Hope to be ready to enjoy our month here in Australia,” he said. “Excited to play this competition for the first time. Then let’s see. We are focused now on this event. Let’s try our best and let’s see how far we can go.”
“It’s always different when you play like team” – Rafael Nadal on the United Cup
Rafael Nadal further touched on the format of the United Cup, noting that team events were always different than standard tennis tournaments. With mixed team events all the more rarer, the former World No. 1 was looking forward to seeing how he and his compatriots go about their business next week.
“It’s always different when you play as a team. We are used to play on Davis Cup or Fed Cup I think. I mean, is nothing 100% new, but at the same time it’s the first time that we share forces between men, women,” Nadal said. “Different story for us. Going to be exciting.”
The Spaniard is confident of creating a good atmosphere with his teammates, which includes the likes of Paula Badosa, Pablo Carreno Busta, Marc Lopez and others, and navigate a tough group that features hosts Australia and Great Britain.
“Yeah, I looking forward about how this new competition is working and how the things going to develop during the next couple of days,” he said. “I think we can create a good team atmosphere, and hopefully we can start well because we know we have a very tough group.”