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'Two months ago, I didn't know if I'd be back on the tour at all,' admits Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal about to serve at Australian Open

Rafael Nadal admitted it was touch and go whether he'd be back playing tennis at all after he reached his 36th Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open.

Nadal has had a long-standing foot injury that he's managed throughout his career, but it became such a problem again in 2021 that he withdrew from the tour in August and hadn't played for five months leading up to the Australian swing.

The uncertainty over his fitness lead to many writing the Spaniard off as a serious contender for this year's Australian Open title, especially after he contracted COVID so close to the tournament.

However, Nadal saw off Canadian Denis Shapovalov in a five-set clash putting him into his sixth Australian Open semi-final and afterwards he was asked how important the two day rest will be for his recovery.

"Today, yes this is very important. I am not 21 anymore'" joked Nadal.

"After this, it is good to have two days off. I felt quite good physically in terms of movement, but its true the conditions here haven't been quite that hard for the last week and a half."

Nadal threw away a two set lead to Shapovalov in the quarter-final before coming back in the fifth set to take the win and he admitted he hoped he can be ready for the next challenge.

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"It was a great test, I just really hope I'm going to be ready for the semi-finals.

"For me its everything to be able to play one more time here in the Rod Laver Arena. I'm just excited, happy and can't thank everyone enough for their support," said Nadal in his post-match interview.

On-court interviewer Jim Courier commented on the fact that if Nadal wins, he will take the record for the most Grand Slam titles by any male singles player. He is currently tied on 20 with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

He also asked the world number five about his foot injury, and the fact he also called for medical assistance for a stomach injury through the match.

"Of course, we can create histories here," said Nadal.

"The real truth is that two months ago we didn't know if we'd be back on tour at all. Here I am, it's just a present of life, that I'm playing tennis again and I'm just enjoying it. "

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