World no. 2 Rafael Nadal couldn't play for Spain at the ATP Cup on Tuesday, experiencing a minor back injury and not feeling 100% ready to compete. The 20-time Major champion arrived in Melbourne from Adelaide, where he served a two-week quarantine, and hit the practice court a couple of days ago.
Nadal should have kicked off the season against Alex de Minaur on Tuesday, but he had to skip the tie following back issues. On Thursday, Spain should have played against Greece for the semi-final spot, and Nadal wouldn't be in the squad had the match went on (the entire Melbourne Park action was canceled due to one positive coronavirus case).
Rafael Nadal feels back issues ahead of the season's opening matches.
Rafa is hoping to get back at 100% soon and compete in the rest of the ATP Cup and get ready for the Australian Open that starts next week. In his only test so far in 2021 at A day at the Drive in Adelaide, Nadal defeated world no.
3 Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes. Nadal served well and closed the opening set with a break at 5-5 following Thiem's wild forehand. The Spaniard earned another break at 4-4 in set number two and sealed the deal a couple of minutes later.
"I'm not in a terrible shape, but I'm not well enough to play. At the end of one of the practice sessions, I felt it was getting stiff. I have the daily treatment, and I believe things will improve in the next couple of days.
I think I'm a bit better now, but I'm not yet ready to play a match at the highest intensity because I'm not at my 100%, and we need to see how things evolve day by day. Today I've rested. Yesterday, I warmed up to see if I could play against Australia, but I didn't feel ready, letting Pablo entering the team.
He did it wonderfully, and Bautista Agut too. They're among the world's best players, and they go on court with the same motivation as me, trying to play as best as possible and win. There is no drama in the team if I don't play," Rafael Nadal said.