Rafa Nadal has concerned tennis fans after admitting he hasn’t been able to properly train for the Australian Open after an ongoing back injury.
Despite taking part in the Adelaide exhibition event, the 34-year-old withdrew from Spain’s ATP Cup after feeling stiffness in his back after emerging from two weeks quarantine.
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But in a further twist, Nadal has admitted he hasn’t been able to train properly over the last week after attempting to serve during training.
"It's true that for the last 15 days I have been suffering with the back," the World No.2 told reporters.
"I'm doing everything what's possible to be ready for (the Open).
"I have (Monday) and then playing Tuesday. I don't think about not playing.
"My physio is here, the doctors (are) here, everybody is helping me in all possible ways."
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While Nadal has entered tournaments before under and injury cloud, he admitted this one isn’t ideal considering it is best-of-five-sets.
"But it's not the ideal situation to start a tournament with problems, especially a demanding tournament like this one playing best-of-five sets," Nadal said.
The question marks surrounding Nadal's fitness means Novak Djokovic is in the box-seat to clinch a ninth Australian Open crown - and 18th major.
The world No.1's dominance at Melbourne Park gives him a psychological edge over opponents before even stepping on court.
Djokovic has a "love affair" with the Australian Open like nowhere else in the world.
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