Rafael Nadal says Andy Murray fully deserves to be a Grand Slam champion

Last Updated: 23/12/12 11:32am

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Rafa Nadal: Says Andy Murray is a true champion

Rafa Nadal: Says Andy Murray is a true champion

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Rafael Nadal has hailed Andy Murray saying he thoroughly deserved to make his Grand Slam breakthrough at the US Open in September.

After suffering four Grand Slam final defeats, it was fifth time lucky for the 25-year-old Scot at Flushing Meadows in September when he beat Novak Djokovic over five sets in New York.

The Spaniard said: "I really thought Andy would win the US Open because tennis owed him something. That was my feeling.

"The Olympics was a big change and with the calm of winning that gold medal at home, you go to a Grand Slam final and you feel that Andy, before the match, believed he was the favourite.

"If you really believe in yourself, it doesn't matter if you were leading by two sets to love and the opponent comes back."

As for his own comeback, planned for Abu Dhabi next week, Nadal is not expecting any miracles in the early stages.

The 26-year-old from Mallorca told The Times: "It doesn't matter how I play tennis in the next month or month and a half.

"For me my goal is not Abu Dhabi, it is not Doha, it is not the Australian Open.

"My goal is to try to be fit, to be 100% recovered with my knee and 100% fit in my personal performance by Indian Wells and Miami in March, and to try to arrive at Monte Carlo for the clay-court season in good shape.

"It will take time. The people have to know when you are outside of the competitions and haven't played for a long time, you will have problems."

Nadal has not played a competitive match since losing to world No 100 Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon in June.

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