Johannesburg [South Africa], Dec.30 : Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal believes he can still be a strong contender at the majors for the next three years despite experiencing another injury-plagued season.
Nadal won the last of his 14 grand slam titles in 2014 when he claimed his ninth French Open title, but has suffered a string of injuries since that high point.
The world number nine also struggled this year, knocking out in the first round of the Australian Open and fourth round at the US Open.He was also forced to withdraw early from the French Open and was ruled of the Wimbledon due to the wrist injury earlier this year.
However, the Spaniard has now insisted that he is fit again and is all set to challenge a Grand Slam title.
"My idea is to stay here for a few more years and I feel enough motivation to be here. I believe that I can compete for important things in the next three years," Sport24 quoted Nadal as saying.
Nadal will kick off his 2017 season in Australia for the first time when he takes on field at the Brisbane International, a major lead-up tournament to the Australian Open.
Excited to make his first appearance at the Brisbane International, the 30-year-old said he is completely healthy and working hard to put up a competitive performance in the tournament.
"I'm ready to play in Brisbane - I hope to be 100 percent ready to play at a good level," Nadal said after beating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-4 at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
"I feel I'm healthy enough, and I'm very excited to be coming to Brisbane for the first time in my life.
I'm working hard enough to be competitive. That's my main thing, to be competitive," he added. Nadal will be the fifth seed in Brisbane, behind world number three and defending champion Milos Raonic of Canada, Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka, Japan tennis star Kei Nishikori and Australia's Dominic Thiem.
The Brisbane International is slated to be held from January 1 to January 8..