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MELBOURNE (AFP) – Rafael Nadal says the emergence of a new generation is just what tennis needs, while welcoming back old foe Roger Federer to help him keep them at bay.
The Spanish great, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, is on the comeback trail after his 2016 season was ruined by a wrist problem which has seen him slip to nine in the world.
Fellow warrior and Swiss great Federer is also easing his way back after six months out with a knee injury, with both of them keen to return to winning ways at the big tournaments.
They will have their work cut out at the opening Grand Slam of the year at Melbourne Park next week with not just Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic to contend with but an emerging new breed.
Leading the pack are the likes of Austria’s Dominic Thiem, Germany’s Alex Zverev and Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal, 30, said it was good for the game to see younger players starting to make their mark.
“These guys are doing well,’’ he said in The Australian newspaper Wednesday.
“It’s great to have a new generation of fantastic players there and that’s good for tennis. Tennis needs it.”