Former world number one Rafael Nadal says the enjoyment of playing tennis has come back after a fantastic start to the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
The Spaniard defeated French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the opening round-robin match and followed that up with an impressive 6-4 6-1 success over Andy Murray on Wednesday to secure his place in the semi-finals with one game to spare.
His performances have been receiving rave reviews and the 29-year-old looks to be close to the kind of form that has helped him clinch 14 Grand Slam titles during his career.
The return to form has been a welcome one for the 2008 Olympic gold medallist, who failed to make the last-four stage of any of the ‘big four’ events this year for the first time since 2004.
Numerous injuries and bouts of anxiety have been behind Nadal’s troubles and many doubted whether the Spanish ace could ever get to the level required to once again challenge Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Nadal has proved the critics wrong, though, and he says he has a fantastic feeling at the moment, revealing that he of being able to make further improvements to his game.
“I feel free. I feel I am enjoying it on court. That doesn’t mean I am going to play well in every match,” he said. “That means I am happy. I go day-by-day. I am playing much better, practising very well, practising a lot.
“But it is just the beginning. I need to keep working so hard to try to keep going the same way.”
Nadal takes on compatriot David Ferrer in the final group match on Friday and the table-topper is favourite at 1.22 while his opponent is a 4.00 outsider.