| 15°C Dublin

Nadal: Oz decider is a dream

WHEN Rafael Nadal lines up in tomorrow's Australian Open final it will be exactly two weeks since he sat weeping in a hotel room because he thought injury had ruled him out of the year's first grand slam in Australia.

A pinched tendon nearly ended Nadal's Melbourne involvement before it began, but now he finds himself on the eve of another titanic battle with world number one Novak Djokovic.

"I felt a crack on the knee, but (it) is nothing really strange," he recalled. "During the evening, I wasn't 100 per cent sure I would have (a) chance to play, because with the movement of that knee I felt that I will not be able to play.


"Sunday afternoon, 24 hours to play to my first match, I was in my room crying because I believe I didn't have the chance to play Melbourne," Nadal said.

"Two weeks later I am here in the final, so it's a dream for me because I had very bad expectations 24 hours before the first match, and now two weeks later I am playing well.

"The last four grand slams, I have been in the finals, so is a great effort."

Nadal will bid for his second Australian Open crown to add to six French Opens, two Wimbledons and one US Open trophy.

Nadal will have to end a six-game losing streak against Djokovic, which includes last year's Wimbledon and US Open finals, if he is to be crowned the champion in Australia.