Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his match for the third place against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi January 3, 2015. Reuters

Rafael Nadal’s return to top form and to full health has been slow and disappointing making fans and critics wonder if the Spanish star still has what it takes for him to become one of the elite players in the men’s singles competition in the ATP tour.

Nadal struggled with various injuries in the second half of the 2014 ATP season and then the start of the 2015 ATP season but the World no. 3 remains confident that he can regain form to contend in the 2015 Australian Open, the first tennis grand slam event of the year.

"The way Rafa has been training this week is just impressing. His intensity, the way he hit every single ball have been just incredible. He would always stay focused. The truth is that not many players like to practice with Rafael Nadal, because at the end of the practice session they feel incredibly tired,” Juan Monaco, one of Nadal’s training partners, said on Tuesday to tennis.as.com. “We didn't stay in Doha to just waste our time, but rather in order to get ready for the Australian Open. A good thing would be if the debut in Melbourne was a little easier, in order to start to get confidence. Here in Qatar the first-round loss has been hard for Rafael to deal with in a first moment, but then he accepted it with great spirit and got back on court to work and practice even harder”.

According to his practice partner Monaco, Nadal chose to train under the heat of the sun for three hours as the Spaniard prepares for what is coming in the grand slam tournament in Melbourne, Australia. The 2015 Australian Open is scheduled from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1, 2015 and Nadal is seeded third in the draw after top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia and no. 2 seed Roger Federer.

Nadal, who suffered various injuries to his his wrist, back and appendix, is motivated to prove that he’s still one of the favourites in the tournament in Melbourne, Australia. He had disappointing results in 2015 thus far losing to unknown German Michael Berrer, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6 in the first round of the 2015 Qatar Open.

To contact author of this article email j.gloria@IBTimes.com.au