World No 2 Rafael Nadal eager to kick-off 2012 campaign with a bang

Rafael Nadal yesterday reiterated that his passion for tennis is back as he attempts to make a flying start to 2012 at the Australian Open.

Super spaniard: Rafael Nadal trains at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne
yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

Nadal questioned his motivation after crashing out of the ATP World Tour Finals
in London in November although he promptly displayed plenty of heart in helping Spain beat Argentina in the Davis Cup final in Seville.

The World No 2 has frequently tried to downplay his comments, claiming they were exaggerated. He said: "What I said was that I played a few matches at the end of the season with less passion than usual. That's nothing crazy. That happens when you are a little bit more tired than usual.

"I'm here in Australia with big motivation, with big passion. I have tried to enjoy the past few weeks, which I did, and I am happy.  I am practicing well and enjoying everything. I will try to be ready for tomorrow."

Nadal plays his first-round clash with American qualifier Alex Kuznetsov today with the pick of the opening day's matches the clash between home hope Bernard Tomic and experienced Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.