Rafa Nadal has admitted he has surpassed his own expectations to reach the Australian Open men’s final on Friday.
Nadal beat Italian Matteo Berrettini in four sets, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 to reach his 29th Slam final, but said afterwards he was lucky to be playing after the foot injury battle of last year.
“The people from outside it’s difficult to believe, the people next to me who watched and lived my diary, conditions for the last six months, difficult to understand that I was able to play at this level right now so it’s difficult to explain,” he said.
“I feel lucky just playing tennis, I’m playing with a great tactical, positive feelings.
“I feel a little bit alive again, attitude, the competitive spirit so yeah I’ve missed that feeling sometimes, I am enjoying it.
“I know the pressure is not much for me now. I never believed I would have the chance to be where I am today so I’m just enjoying every single moment and of course I’m trying my best because I was in that semi-final so I want to to play the chance.”
Nadal said he wasn’t that bothered about going one better than Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic – they are all tied on 20 Slam wins.
“For me, it’s all about the Australian Open more than anything else. It’s just an amazing event,’ he said.
“I have been a little bit unlucky during my career with some injuries and other times I played amazing finals with good chances against Novak 2012, against Roger 2017.
“I was close a couple of times. I feel very lucky that I won once in my career in 2009 but I never thought about another chance in 2022 so [I’ll] just try to enjoy the victory today and then after tomorrow, I do my best.”