It’s no secret that Rafael Nadal has not been having the best season. But he said he has a good feeling about clinching the US Open title this year.
“I’m trying my best in very single tournament and in very single practice,” the 29-year-old Spaniard told Fox News Latino ahead of tonight’s game. “I think I am in the right (place) to play at the level that I want to play.”
But he has many challenges to overcome.
Nadal was unable to defend the U.S. Open title last year because of a right wrist injury, and he is seeded eight. He lost in the second round at Wimbledon by 102nd-ranked Dustin Brown and just this month he failed to make it past the quarterfinals in two hard court warm-up tournaments.
But he insists he is playing well enough to remain a trophy contender.
“I know one way to prepare myself, just try my best in every practice as good as I can and as much as I feel I need and I hope everything goes well,” he said. “I arrive to the competition with the right feelings so we can see if it can happen.”
But the 14-time Grand Slam champion did express some doubt that his current game is 100 percent.
“I am (going) to need to wait and be patient and stay calm and I think that things are going to arrive,” he said.
Nadal meets up against Borna Coric for the second time Monday, closing out the night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium as the year’s final Grand Slam tournament begins.
Nadal said his lone match against Coric, a gifted teen from Croatia, at the Swiss Indoors last October is a little fuzzy – with good reason. The Spaniard was battling appendicitis and had decided to undergo a season-ending surgery once his run at the tournament ended.
“It was a tough moment of the year for me,” Nadal recalled during a press conference this weekend. “I don’t remember it very well, but I think I played very bad.”
The 18-year-old Coric just missed out on a seeded spot with a ranking of 35, which makes it a particularly difficult first-round matchup for Nadal.
“He’s a tough player, a young player with a lot of energy. He’s one of the players that is the future of our sport, so it’s a tough one,” Nadal told reporters. “But I’m playing well. I feel confident about how I’ve been practicing.”
Win or lose, the Spaniard feels ready.
“Compete well and play well, that’s my goal,” Nadal said. “If both of those things happen, it’s great.”