Rafael Nadal: 'I'm not at 100% but will try to play. I don't like excuses'

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Rafael Nadal: 'I'm not at 100% but will try to play. I don't like excuses'

The 2009 Australian Open champion will kick off the official season at the Australian Open on Tuesday, facing Laslo Djere in the first round. Still, the 20-time Major winner can't focus entirely on his rival, struggling with a back injury for the past two weeks and feeling a bit worried ahead of the season's first Major.

Rafa felt the pain in Adelaide during the quarantine, beating Dominic Thiem on January 29 in straight sets but struggling to solve the issue after arriving in Melbourne. Rafa couldn't play for his country against Australia, Greece and Italy at the ATP Cup, staying on the practice court and doing his best to recover and be competitive next week.

Rafael Nadal is dealing with a back injury ahead of the Australian Open.

Chasing the 21st Major title at the Australian Open, Nadal doesn't think about withdrawal at the moment, staying positive and hoping that everything will be fine with his physio and doctors' help.

Last year, Nadal lost a thrilling quarter-final match in Melbourne to Dominic Thiem, missing another opportunity to add the second Down Under trophy to his tally following the first and only that came in 2009. "For the last 15 days, I have indeed been suffering with my back.

I'm doing everything possible to get ready for the Australian Open. I have another day off on Monday before my first match on Tuesday; I'm not thinking about withdrawing. In the beginning, the muscle was just a little bit tired, but I feel now a bit more stiff than usual.

The muscle is still tight, so it is difficult to play with the freedom of movement. We are doing everything. My physio is here; the doctors are around me; everybody helps me in all possible ways. I hope to be ready; I know sometimes things change quickly.

I'm not a big fan of finding excuses. When things happen, you need to find a way to get through. The only thing that I can do is stay positive, work on recovery and do all the things I can. Then I hope the situation will improve.

It's never an ideal situation to kick off the action with problems, especially with the best-of-five sets format," Rafael Nadal said.