Rafael Nadal wants Novak Djokovic’s world No.1 spot off with victory at the Paris Masters
The 33-year-old has had an unusual amount of time away from the court recently, as a result of a wrist injury that prevented him from finishing the Laver Cup in September, which was then followed up by his wedding.
However, his coach, Carlos Moya, is optimistic about Nadal’s chances at claiming his first Paris Masters title.
Nadal began practicing at the beginning of last week and he and his team then arrived in the French capital on Thursday.
The only option is to be aggressive
And while Moya revealed Nadal is improving each day, he admitted he thinks the Spaniard will need to be “aggressive” if he is to be victorious at the final Masters 1000 event of the year.
“Alright; better every day,” Moya said when asked about Nadal’s initial training.
“The court is a bit fast; the ball doesn’t bounce in a way that allows for a good read or much reaction time.
“The only option is to be aggressive.
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“We’ve taken this approach for some time now and practised in this mode to prepare for whatever we face, but what the opponent brings to the match is also a factor, as always.”
Nadal isn’t far behind world number one Novak Djokovic in the rankings and the pair recent trained together ahead of the tournament in the French capital.
And while it is unusual for the top two seeds in the world to take to the practice court with so much still up for grabs, Moya admitted it had been something they had wanted to do in the past.
“I’m not sure if we can see this in any other sport, but here we like to keep things simple,” Moya said.
“Why couldn’t we practise with Djokovic? We’ve tried on many occasions but couldn’t due to scheduling issues.
“It just happened to work out here in Paris.
“I think you must just look at it for what it is without placing some sort of value or extra significance on it.”
And while Moya thinks the amount of rest Nadal has had ahead of the tournament is unusual, it could end up being a positive thing as historically the Spaniard has struggled to produce his best results at the Paris Masters.
“There have been a variety of reasons, one being the time of year,” said Moya about Nadal performances at the tournament in the past.
“Most seasons, he’s gone into Paris with very little rest; he’s entered the event physically worn and hasn’t been able to play to the best of his abilities.
“In fact, since I’ve come on board as a coach, that’s been the case — he hasn’t been in the best shape to allow him to perform at his best.”
But Moya, who is a former world number one himself, is confident Nadal is ready this year.
“Physically, yes,” Moya said about Nadal being able to play without anything holding him back.
“But you have to factor in his quality of play and what his opponent brings to the match as well.
“Nothing is guaranteed. It does not assure you anything, but Rafa is arriving in Paris both physically and mentally prepared.”