By Richard Pagliaro
The Happy Slam could provoke Slam suffering in Rafael Nadal.
Days before the 20-time Grand Slam champion is set to launch his Australian Open against Laslo Djere he concedes the back injury that forced him out of last week’s ATP Cup remains an issue.
The second-ranked Spaniard summed up his health as “not great obviously” because back problems continue to restrict his serving in practice.
“Well, not great obviously because if not I will be playing at the ATP Cup,” Nadal told the media in Melbourne. “It’s true that for the last 15 days I have been suffering with the back. So here we are.”
“I tried little bit today to serve again. Well, I’m doing everything what’s possible to be ready for it. That’s the only thing that I can say. Today I am still hoping to keep improving and hope to be ready for it.”
Melbourne can be a career milestone for Nadal who is playing for his first AO title since 2009 and a record-extending 21st Grand Slam singles title.
Asked if the muscle tightness in his back could prevent him from playing the season’s first major, Nadal declined to put a percentage on his status but spoke like a man committed to competing.
“I don’t know the percentage. I don’t think about that now,” Nadal said. “I think about we are on Sunday. I have tomorrow and then playing Tuesday, no? No, I don’t think about not playing.
“The thing is about in which conditions I going to start the tournament, no? I have been practicing great I think for lot of weeks, and I’m disappointed about what happened the last couple of weeks, of course.”
Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve