Nadal 'very excited' about year ahead

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Rafael Nadal is very excited about his prospects for the year despite his loss in the Australian Open final.

The Spaniard, whose 2016 was hampered by a wrist injury, almost claimed a 15th grand slam title before going down to Roger Federer in a five-set epic in the decider at Melbourne Park.

But Nadal's run at the year's first major has him upbeat over what is to come in 2017.

"Mentally, I'm very excited, started the year well," he said, via El Mundo.

"I've competed against the best in the world with a chance of winning. If I keep working this way, I have the conviction that it can be a good year."

Nadal was on track to win the Australian Open before losing the last five games of the match against a red-hot Federer.

But the 30-year-old refused to get downbeat over the loss, focusing instead on his performances.

"I ended up happy because I know that I have taken a very important step," Nadal said.

The decider marked the ninth grand slam final between Nadal and Federer and first since 2011, and they put on a show.

Nadal said: "We had a few years without being able to compete against each other and it was a nice experience.

"Nicer for him, but something special."