‘Covid destroyed me,’ says Rafael Nadal after making winning Australian Open return

Rafael Nadal says his recent Covid infection ‘destroyed him physically’ after he made a winning return to the Australian Open.

Nadal tested positive for the virus following his appearance at the Mudabala World Tennis Championships less than a month before the Australian Open was due to start.

However, after beating Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to ease into the second round, Nadal was asked about his recent brush with Covid.

“The symptoms haven’t been nice,” Nadal said. “I have been four days in bed and then three more days destroyed physically, you know.

“But after that I started to feel ail little bit better. I had PCR negative after the ninth or tenth day and then I had one or two practices at home and then I came here.”

The win over Giron was another good showing for Nadal, who won the Melbourne Summer Set earlier this month in his first tournament since ending his season early in August.

That was due to  a foot injury, but Nadal says he has been struggling with it for much longer, even when he was winning the 2020 French Open.

“[It has been] been very challenging months,” Nadal said on court after beating Giron.

“Not only the last six months, obviously have been tough being outside of the competition but since the first lockdown in 2020.

“Everybody knows I have important injury in my foot since the beginning of my career but I was able to manage more or less well but is through that.

“After that two months being at home, when I came back, it’s  been very challenging since that.

“I was able to play at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, but honestly have been, yeah, very tough moments, of course with a lot of doubt and still doubt.

“But here I am and I can’t be happier, to be back here in Australia in this amazing stadium, it’s just fantastic for me. It means a lot.”

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