Nadal's first-round Australian Open opponent offered advice by tennis great on how to beat 22-time Grand Slam winner

Jan 14, 2023 01:13 PM IST

For the British No.3, it will be his biggest test in his career so far, but has been handed an advice on how to beat Nadal by tennis great and former British player Tim Henman.

It is not usual for Rafael Nadal to head to the first Grand Slam of the season as the defending champion and the No.1 seed. It has happened only once before, in 2010. But the Spaniard has been handed a tough draw at the Australian Open 2023 this time, where he starts off against an in-form Jack Draper. For the British No.3, it will be his biggest test in his career so far, but has been handed an advice on how to beat Nadal by tennis great and former British player Tim Henman.

Spain's Rafael Nadal during a practice session(REUTERS)
Spain's Rafael Nadal during a practice session(REUTERS)

What makes Draper a difficult opponent for Nadal is is present form which included reaching the semis in Adelaide International last week and with the 21-year-old also being a left-handed player, hence nullyfying Nadal's effectiveness in baseline rallies.

Although Draper is yet to have faced Nadal in his career, Henman is already backing the youngster to cause the biggest upset at the start of 2023, after having watched compatriot Cameron Norrie pull it off in United Cup.

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“I think for Jack to believe that he can cause the upset is massively important,” he told Express Sport. “And you reflect the way that he’s been playing, Jack’s been improving all the time and what he achieved last year starting outside sort of 270 and finishing in the top 50, he’s in the semis this week and he’s playing great tennis.”

Nadal hasn't had the perfect start to the season so far, losing to Norrie and Alex de Minaur after winning the first set in United Cup. He also lost his practice match against Hubert Hurkacz in Melbourne two days back.

Henman said: “When you look at the other side of the net, Nadal has been struggling. I was on the court with Cam Norrie at the United Cup when Cam beat him and Rafa has just not had the match wins in the last three or four months. So if you’re going to play one of the top players, I think it’s a great opportunity to play them in the opening rounds and Jack’s got that.”

“It will be a great opportunity, an amazing experience and I think if he believes that he can beat Rafa, he’s got a good chance,” he added.

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