Rafa fighting again drawback

MADRID, February 4

World No. 2 Rafa Nadal today said doubts remain over his fitness ahead of next week’s Australian Open.

Nadal pulled out of Spain’s ATP Cup tie against Australia on Tuesday with a lower-back problem and, despite some improvement, said he was still far away from the level required to play at the year’s first Grand Slam. “It’s not that I’m in a really bad way, but I’m also not alright in the sense that I can’t play either,” Nadal told a Spanish television channel. “I’ve improved a little but I’m not in a position where I can go and play a game at full intensity.”

Nadal’s name was also absent from Spain’s ATP Cup tie on Friday against Greece at Melbourne Park’s John Cain Arena.

The 34-year-old practised for an hour today evening at the Rod Laver Arena and his fitness was improving “little by little, step by step”, sources close to Nadal told Reuters. — Reuters

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