Rafael Nadal loves the Australian Open but its seems the Australian Open doesn’t love him back.
The Spanish veteran has another chance to add to his 2009 title and become just the third player to win each grand slam title twice, joining Australians Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.
As well as playing in peak form, the fifth seed knows he needs a little luck.
Since his 2009 title victory over Roger Federer Nadal’s quest has often been thwarted by injury.
Knee trouble forced his retirement from his 2010 quarter-final against Andy Murray, a hamstring wrecked his 2011 semi-final against David Ferrer and a back problem ruined the 2014 decider against Stan Warwinka.
“It’s true that during my career I have been a little bit unlucky in this tournament,” Nadal said.
“But I love it here; I love competing here and that’s a huge motivation for me.”
The 29-year-old said he hadn’t decided how many Australian Opens were left in him but said there could be as many as five.
He felt records were best left for retirement, although his legacy has been secured in bricks and mortar with his playing academy opening in May on the Spanish island of Majorca.
It will house 140 kids with the focus on education as much as tennis.
While he will be hands on at the academy when he can, grand slams are still the priority.
He said that the biggest obstacle to his 15th title at Melbourne Park was Novak Djokovic, who delivered a crushing message to rivals in their Qatar Open final with a 6-1 6-2 victory.
Nadal described Djokovic’s performance as “better than impossible” and hoped it wasn’t something that could be repeated.
“Novak is a huge favourite but I hope every time it’s not going to be like this,” he said.
He felt Australia’s future was also bright, saying both Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios would challenge for major titles.
“Bernard will be a player who is going to have his chances in the most important tournaments and Nick is younger but his talent is so high and he’s already had some good results in Wimbledon and here.
“For sure he is a candidate to win grand slams.”