Rafael Nadal admitted his back problems have persisted at the Australian Open, but the men’s second seed is hoping to play his way out of trouble after reaching the second round on Tuesday.
The 2009 champion skipped last week’s ATP Cup due to the lingering back injury, but the Spaniard adapted to his issues in his first-round match to see off Laslo Djere 6-3 6-4 6-1.
Nadal altered the movement on his serve, and the 34-year-old said he will be taking the tournament day by day with a second-round match against Michael Mmoh on Thursday next up.
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“I don't know, my back is not perfect, as I said a couple of days ago,” Nadal said. “Every day that I am able to go through, probably there are more chances to get better. That's the thing now.

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“So there is always a chance to improve. And that's why I'm here, playing and fighting to try to get better and then give myself a chance. So, today is not great - I needed to change a little bit of movement on my serve. That's what I tried to survive with the conditions today.
“Tomorrow, a day off. After tomorrow, another match. So I need to go day by day to day and just try to stay positive.”

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Nadal added: “I was able to win in straight sets so it's always a positive start for me. Always difficult to play tennis after a while, you know, play in a competition match after a while. Good start. I'm happy.”
Eurosport expert Alex Corretja said he was impressed with Nadal’s level of performance.
"I wasn’t sure which Rafa to expect because we haven’t seen him play for so long,” he said.

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"I was very impressed by the fact he was playing very aggressive from the very beginning, trying to shorten the points and rallies. He played flatter than normally, the court is playing quite fast and that’s why he is trying to play flatter.
"It was a good match for Rafa to have to get that feeling of being back on court – he hasn’t played any official match this year, he didn’t play the ATP Cup last week due to the back injury so he needed this kind of feeling on court. I think he should be very pleased with this performance."

Highlights | Laslo Djere - Rafael Nadal

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26/09/2022 AT 19:27