Rafael Nadal is confident the worst of his troubles from last season are behind him and is targeting a strong start to 2016.
Spaniard Nadal failed to win a grand slam title in a year for the first time since 2004 as he struggled with form and fitness issues.
Nadal slipped to 10th in the world rankings in June, but enjoyed a solid end to the season to claw his way back to fifth.
And after putting in the hard yards on the practice court during the close-season, the 14-time grand slam winner is hopeful he can compete for the game’s biggest prizes once again.
“The off season has been great. In Mallorca we had unbelievable weather and we were able to practise as much as we wanted,” he told reporters ahead of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event.
“I had the chance to enjoy it. I’m happy for everything. I feel that I worked well enough, I finished the 2015 season with good feelings and I just keep practising with these positive feelings.
“I’m excited to start another new season. I feel myself well and I hope to be ready for what’s coming. I don’t know if I’ll start well from the beginning but I feel ready.
“Then the results you never know what’s going on. But I feel that I’m doing the right things, I’m playing well and I hope to start with good feelings.
“I’m going to be passionate. I’m confident that I’m going to be very competitive.”
Nadal has been blighted by injury throughout his career, but he stated that it should not be considered a huge comeback if he were to challenge the elite of tennis again in 2016.
“I am number five in the world actually,” he added. “It seems like I’m number 50 or something like this. I didn’t have the best season possible last year.
“But without having the best season possible, to be able to finish number five is actually not bad news.
“I’m happy the way I finished the season. I don’t expect an amazing comeback, I expect an improvement of my level of tennis and my level of competition and if I made that happen I hope to be competing for the good things.”