Nadal's pre-season hit by switch to heavy racket


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The Independent Online

The world No 2 Rafael Nadal said yesterday that his preparations for the new season had not been ideal as he adjusted to using a heavier racket. The Spaniard, who plays Germany's Philip Kohlschreiber in the first round of the Qatar Open today, believes his game may suffer in the short term after making the switch but would improve in the months ahead.

"My preparation is not the perfect one, and I'm trying to play with a little bit heavier racket, to get a little bit more power," Nadal said. "[With the new racket] I'm losing a little bit of control now, sometimes I don't feel the forehand as good as before. But it's something that I believe can help me in the future."

Nadal said he had first considered switching to a heavier racket after the US Open in September but would not have had time to adapt because of his playing schedule. "After the Davis Cup final I had all the rackets prepared at home to change," the 10-times Grand Slam winner added. "In theory I'm supposed to practise almost a month or at least three weeks with the [new] racket, but finally I practised only one week, and I'm here now, so probably it's not good enough.

"You can't think that everything will be perfect from the beginning, but you make the change thinking it'll be better in the future. There's no magic, but the new racket can help a little bit to improve my game."

Serena Williams beat Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Brisbane International yesterday and Elena Baltacha had a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over New Zealand's Sacha Jones in the opening round of the ASB Classic in Auckland.