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Nadal Looks To Build Off Strong Season Opener

Doha, Qatar

Nadal© AFP/Getty ImagesRafael Nadal passed Andre Agassi for eighth place on the Open Era title-leaders list.

Rafael Nadal opened his 2014 ATP World Tour campaign in style, claiming his maiden Qatar ExxonMobil Open title on Saturday. It was his first crown in the opening week of a season in his career and 61st overall. An elated Nadal was pleased with his performance in Doha, but the World No. 1 finds himself hungry for more moving forward.

“If I am playing the way that I played in the first set, I think I will be very competitive [in Australia],” Nadal said following a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over Gael Monfils. “Between here and Australia the good thing is I am going to have one week, and I don’t go there thinking about the adaptation of my game. I go in there thinking about the things that I want to keep practising to be very competitive. I want to keep practising in the same way that I played today. I think that’s the right way.”

Despite being pushed to three sets in three of his five matches this week, Nadal believes it was an important week for him, especially at the start of a new season. The Spaniard hopes the momentum will drive him to greater heights in the coming weeks. 

“In the end, the important thing is I was able to play five matches and win all five. That’s positive [for my] confidence. That doesn’t mean I’m going to play well in Australia, but it’s true that I prefer to arrive to Australia without feeling a loss.

“I hope to have a good week of preparation there in Melbourne and try to adapt my game to that quick surface and hope to be ready for next Monday.”

Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion, missed last year's tournament with a knee injury. He returns to Melbourne as the top seed.

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