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I think I will be there in IPTL next year too: Nadal

Refusing to call the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) an exhibition event, Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal says he would be back to compete in it next year too but conceded that tournaments like these don’t have a place in the ATP World Tour calendar.

Making his first appearance in the IPTL, which is in its second season, Nadal is turning up for the Micromax Indian Aces, which also has on its roster Indian tennis aces Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna among others.

“IPTL has been great so far and hopefully I will be back. I have liked the format, the team spirit is good, I think I am going to be back,” Nadal told reporters in a press conference after his team’s dominating win over Philippines Mavericks here.

“I don’t think these are exhibition matches, these games are very competitive. The intensity of competition is good. I feel the rules are perfect in the IPTL and it’s a great idea.

But obviously, in the (ATP) World Tour, it doesn’t have a place,” asserted the 29-year-old. In fact, Nadal went on to say that the IPTL is turning out to be perfect preparation for him ahead of the next season. The ‘King of Clay’ has struggled with his form this season, failing to win a single Major for the first time in 10 years.

“It is an unbelievable event. I have had a very good time so far and it’s a preparation for the next season. The format is quick and anything can happen. The matches can also become very close quickly,” he said. The affable Spaniard said he is glad to be back in India after a gap of two years and is looking forward to the much-awaited showdown with his Swiss rival Roger Federer, who would be turning up for the UAE Royals on Saturday. “He likes to play quick and this format suits him. Anything can happen but I am very excited to play that match on Saturday. I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I am very glad to be back in India after a gap of two years, fans here have always been great and I enjoy being in a place where my foundation is also there,” he said. Nadal got indulged with a group of tennis aspirants at a clinic in the national Capital. 

He conceded that he was no different from these youngsters when he started playing tennis. “When I was a kid, I dreamt about playing at the Roland Garros, at Wimbledon and other such professional tournaments. I am no different than most kids who have assembled here. My motivation and passion to try and realise that dream was the key to my success. If I can do it, they (pointing at the kids) too can do it,” Nadal said.

“The only thing I can advise is that try to have right people around you…people who know the sport. Thankfully, I was lucky to have my uncle Toni. I am lucky to have someone from my family coaching me. 

“We are passionate and concentrate on doing the right things to help me improve my game,” he explained.  Talking about the session he said,“To be honest, this has been not been a great season for me. However, there have been improvements in the last three months and I have looked in much better shape. I am happy with the way I am playing right now, and all I can add is that I need to keep improving.” he noted. He hoped to begin the year 2016 with an improved vigour. Over the last 12 months or so, a spate of injuries have taken a toll on the Spaniard, putting his future in the game in doubt.
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