Nadal wary of improved Murray
Rafael Nadal is expecting to come up against a much improved Andy Murray at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this week.
The Spanish former world number one, who has been absent with a chronic knee problem, is set to make his long-awaited return from a six-month injury lay-off at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Complex.
And, after confirming that he will be easing himself back to full fitness at the event, Nadal admitted that the prospect of possibly facing British number one Murray is something that he will relish.
Since Nadal was ruled out after an early exit at Wimbledon in the summer, Murray went on to reach the final at SW19, before winning an Olympic gold medal at the same venue and then breaking his grand slam duck at the fifth attempt with victory at the US Open.
The Olympics was a big change and with the calm of winning that at home, you go to a Grand Slam final and you feel that Andy, before the match, believed he was favourite.Rafael Nadal
Therefore the 11-time grand slam winner feels Murray might be a different proposition on the court if the Scot defeats Janko Tipsarevic in his opening match on Thursday to set up a second round meeting.
Nadal, who lost to Murray in a three-set classic in the UAE capital in 2009, told Sport360: "I really thought Andy would win because the tennis owed him something.
"That was my feeling. The Olympics was a big change and with the calm of winning that at home, you go to a Grand Slam final and you feel that Andy, before the match, believed he was 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."
Nadal is 500/1 to win at the Australian Open in the first grand slam of 2013, Murray is 5/2 and Novak Djokovic can be backed at 1/1.
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