Rafael Nadal knows after five gruelling sets, Roger Federer will be no easy opponent
Roger Federer and I could barely play mini-tennis with kids three months ago
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have both been battling injury in the run-up to the first major of the year.
And Nadal revealed after an epic five-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-final that the pair had been unable to play an exhibition match against each other just three months ago.
"I was with him the opening of my tennis academy in Mallorca [in October]," Nadal said.
Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal rivalry in Grand Slam finals
Fri, January 27, 2017
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"We were talking there that we were supposed to play an exhibition match but he had his knee injury and I had my wrist so we just hit some shots with the kids.
"So both of us thought we would never be here in the final in Australia."
Nadal was on court for nearly five hours as Dimitrov produced the performance of his life in only his second Grand Slam semi-final.
Twice the Bulgarian was a set down but both times struck back before Nadal closed out a nail-biting final set.
And the Spaniard admitted that with less than 48 hours until facing Federer, the physical side would be a challenge.
"I hope to recover well," added Nadal.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer opened the Spaniard's tennis academy in October
"Then for me playing Roger is a privilege.
"It's a very very special thing for both of us to be in the final of a major again and have another chance to compete against each other after a couple of years having some problems.
"Last year was tough for me.
Rafael Nadal was pushed all the way by Grigor Dimitrov in a match that lasted nearly five hours
"It took a while to get back to the level I had before.
"When I had to [withdraw from the French Open] at Roland Garros was a tough moment.
"And I worked a lot during the last month-and-a-half at home and I never dreamed of being back in the final. I feel lucky but very very happy."