Nadal looking for 'healthy, happy' 2019

  • Tennis Australia

Rafael Nadal said he hopes to "stay healthy, stay happy and try to play as long as possible" when asked his goals for 2019.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion will begin his Australian campaign against Thanasi Kokkinakis or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Brisbane on Thursday, as he looks to put an injury-ravaged 2018 behind him.

Among the low points was having to retire from his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.

"I really feel that I had more or less a good off season - short, but good," confirmed Nadal, speaking on New Year's Day in Brisbane.

"I really believe that I keep having tennis to play in my career, and I really feel that my body is not going worse every year.

"It just sometimes happens, accidents like happened last year in Australia. And then I had the problem with my knees in the US Open.

"The knees is out there, always. It's something that's not new for me. Of course, it's tough to miss such an important tournament for me, like last year here in Australia, Brisbane last year, the US Open and Indian Wells, Miami, Acapulco, a lot of ones.

"But at the same time I always think that, on the other hand, I enjoy a lot of fantastic moments in my career.

"So it will be not fair if I only talk about the injuries, no, because I had the chance to create a lot of opportunities to enjoy, a lot of opportunities to play in front of the best crowds of the world and to achieve much more than what I have dreamed."

The 32-year-old withdrew from an exhibition match before flying to Australia, but he fully intends to line up for his opening match at the Brisbane International on Thursday. 

"That's why I am here," said the Spaniard.

"If I really thought that I will not play here, it will be difficult for me to be here and to be around, to be in front of you today.

"But as I said, I don't want to make step backs. I want to make step forwards. And for me the main thing is do the things the better way possible to stay healthy. So that's the answer. My goal is, of course, to be on court on Thursday and to be on court with a positive feeling."