Nadal eager to leave 2015 behind after Mubadala success

World number five Rafael Nadal is refusing to dwell on last year’s struggles after taking out the exhibition Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Nadal – a 14-time grand slam champion – brought in the New Year in ideal fashion by accounting for Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 in Saturday’s final in Abu Dhabi.

The 29-year-old Spaniard’s success came after an inconsistent season in 2015, which saw him win three titles in Buenos Aires, Stuttgart and Hamburg but fail to reach a grand slam final for the first time since 2004.

But Nadal, who made quarter-final appearances at the Australian and French Opens, is just focused on the year ahead with a trip to Melbourne Park looming.

“It is a great way to start the new season, winning against two of the best players in the world, without a doubt,” Nadal told reporters as he turns his attention to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, where he will officially open his ATP Tour season.

“Playing at the right level, a very good level of tennis, so happy for that and happy to win the title here in Abu Dhabi again. I tried hard every year but I felt that this year I arrived in very good shape so it is good to start like this.

“I don’t work to be back, I work to be better than what I was, two months ago, three months ago, five months ago. I work to improve my level all the time and I don’t think about what has happened five or three years ago. I think about what happened yesterday to improve today and that is my philosophy and I work that way, with that mentality.

“I feel that last year was a tough year for me in terms of the mental part, in terms of tennis when my mentality…when I was able to fix my mental problems I started to play much better. I am feeling good now, I feel ready for the action, ready for the competition. Then we will see if I am able to keep doing it for the rest of the season.

“We don’t live about the past, and at the same time I am not talking about the titles I had in 2013 or 2010 so I don’t want to talk about 2015 anymore. We are in 2016 and I talked enough about 2015 during the past year and I want to talk about today and what’s going on tomorrow.”

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