Following his superb Australian Open quarter-final win over Milos Raonic, Rafael Nadal revealed that he doubted his ability on court even when he was at the top of his game.
The Spaniard earned a superlative straight set win over the third seed to reach his first grand slam semi-final since 2014.
Prior to this dry spell, Nadal was a regular in the final four of the slams, winning one every year since 2005. It was clear to all that the victory meant the world to Nadal, as he sank to his knees in his moment of triumph.
"Even when I was winning a lot I had doubts, you can imagine I had more when I had injuries," the 30-year-old told his post-match press conference.
"I think I had a great career, but at the same time I had a lot of tough moments. That makes me enjoy even more the good moments I'm having today."
Nadal will face a motivated Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-final on Friday and is under no illusions at the challenge facing him.
"Grigor is a great player," continued the 14-time major winner.
"Everybody thought he was gonna be a very top, top player before today, and finally he started the season unbelievable.
"He's playing so, so good. He's very confident, he's playing very well, and I'm going to have a very tough match. I know I'm going to have to play my best tennis if I'm going to have a chance."
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Meanwhile, a confident Dimitrov – who defeated Nadal in straight sets in their last meeting at the China Open – told his press conference that he feels he is just warming up.
"I feel like I have all the tools to go further, and my job isn't over yet," quipped the five-time ATP winner.
"I'm looking forward to my match on Friday. I think I'm prepared. I think I'm ready to go the distance.
"I'm confident enough to say that I feel good physically, and overall on the court. Just going forward with the confidence that I have built up also from the previous tournament. Now with each match I've been feeling better and better. It just all comes pretty natural right now."