Nadal returns serve at his critics | sports | Hindustan Times
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Nadal returns serve at his critics

sports Updated: Jan 16, 2012 01:01 IST

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A combative Rafa Nadal returned serve at sceptics who have questioned his motivation at the Australian Open on Sunday, saying the passion he lost toward the end of last season had returned and that he was fighting fit to take down 2011 nemesis Novak Djokovic.

Nadal, who suffered an early exit from the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, admitted to losing his usual passion amid struggles with a shoulder injury at the end of the season, but said the media were making too much of it.

“That’s nothing crazy,” he said. “That happens when you are a little bit more tired than usual. Maybe you’re not doing your job all the time with the same passion because you’re tired. That’s part of the job.”

Nadal plays American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov in the first round on Monday and said he had come to Australia "with big motivation, with big passion".

“I’m happy. I am practising well. I’m enjoying everything. I will try to be ready for tomorrow,” he said.