Yet, he was the first to admit to reporters at the Open – claiming that the Open wasn’t the be all and end all of his tennis season.
He is looking to get confidence back into his body after suffering knee tendonitis and was forced to retire in the third round of his loss to Andy Murray at Melbourne Park.
“If I lose here next round, I am gonna have chances to play well during all the season,” Nadal said after his third round win.
“So the Australian Open is a very important tournament, but it is not the end of the world. You have a lot of time to get your full confidence, to play well.”
Tendinitis should be able to be alleviated with rest. But his career is in doubt – if not his season – you have to wonder if we will now see him again before the clay-court season starts in April, with the first big event being the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 on April 12 leading up to the French Open on May 24.
The conditioning of these athletes is so important between tournaments. Nadal will be the first to say so.