‘My body is like an old machine’ – Rafael Nadal laments ‘all the problems’ ahead of Italian Open campaign

Rafael Nadal lamented ‘all the problems I encountered in my career’ as he tried to catch up at the Italian Open.

The Australian Open champion has suffered a string of injuries since his momentous triumph at Melbourne Park and is preparing for the French Open in Paris later this month.

The 35-year-old, who has 21 Grand Slam singles titles to his name, is through to the round of 16 on Wednesday in Rome after being seeded number three for the clay-court event.

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Speaking ahead of his tilt to glory at the ATP Masters event, Nadal lamented that “my body is like an old machine” after comparing himself to fellow youngster Carlos Alcaraz, saying “a new car always looks better”.

“When you’re six weeks without touching a racquet and you have the ability to move your body…my body is like an old machine. To get that machine working again, it takes time,” Nadal told reporters during of the event.

“It’s not the same at 19 as it was at almost 36, with all the problems I’ve been through in my career.

“You have to rebuild the confidence, your movements, and then you start to feel comfortable with your tennis.

“It’s more about being confident with my movements, recovering speed, finding the way I need to play on clay and let’s see.

“I’m confident that I can play well. I need time, but maybe this week can be a positive week, maybe not. Who knows?”

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Nadal lost to arch-rival Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros in a classic semi-final clash last year, but he is determined to be fully prepared for his favorite event, which begins on May 22.

“That’s my goal…I haven’t had another chance to go into this clay-court season with the things that I’ve been through,” he said.

“I’ll give myself a chance and we’ll see what happens.”

Speaking about Alcaraz earlier at the event, Nadal said: “Firstly, I think he’s young, he’s new and all the new things are much more interesting than the old ones.

“Without a doubt, when you see a new car, it always looks better,” he said of his compatriot.

“When you see a new phone, it always looks better than the old ones.

“So, it’s something normal in this life. I can’t complain about it at all. At the same time, I’m happy that someone like him from my country achieves everything he achieves.”

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