Paris: Spanish tennis ace and World No.3 Rafael Nadal has admitted that his body no longer responds the way it did when he was 20 years old and that he wasn't optimistic about winning the forthcoming Australian Open tennis tournament.
Insisting that he is still on the road to recovery after suffering crippling injuries last year, the tennis ace maintained that he still had the same determination and the same desire to win titles.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner won the Australian Open in 2009 but his prospects in the new season's first Major suffered a setback afer enduring an operation to remove his appendix in November, also suffering wrist and back injuries last year.
To make matters worse, Nadal lost to Germany's Michael Berrer in the first round of the Qatar Open earlier this month, that left him crucially short of match practice.
"It will be difficult but I'm working as much as I can to be competitive," he was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald Thursday.
"It would be better if I had a few more matches (approaching the Australian Open), but in the end that's what there is and the important thing for me is that I am back and healthy and competitive again."
Nadal said he will be taking a match-by-match approach and is targeting to win the first round match.
"I've got to try my best in the first round, if I am able to win a couple of matches then you don't know," he said.
In an interview with the French sports newspaper L'Equipe Wednesday, the Spaniard, 28, admitted that the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to deliver a high performance.
Nadal, who Jan 9 won the doubles championship in Doha alongside Juan Monaco of Argentina, pointed out that he worked out at a very high rate to keep his performance at the highest level.
"I do what I have to do to restore my best performance. I want to do so," Nadal said, voicing confidence in his ability to do just that.
Nadal acknowledged that in his career he has at times been lucky, because despite facing disappointments, he has experienced a lot of positive moments.
The Spaniard, at the same time, considered himself less fortunate than other competitors like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.