“Feel an Improvement”: Rafael Nadal Gives Back Injury Update After Third-Round Victory at Australian Open 2021

Published 02/13/2021, 1:10 PM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Michael Mmoh of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


World No.2 Rafael Nadal stayed on course for an elusive 2nd title at the Australian Open. Nadal defeated Cameron Norrie in straight sets in the third round at Melbourne Park and made his way into the second week of the Grand Slam event in emphatic fashion.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Michael Mmoh of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

However, apart from the victory, Nadal felt better about his minor back injury, which hampered his service game over the last week and also forced him to withdraw from the 2021 ATP Cup prior to the Australian Open.

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Rafael Nadal gives back injury update

During the post-match conference, the reporter asked Nadal an update on his back problem and whether he felt more comfortable in terms of movement. Unlike two days back, when Nadal talked about the back issue not being in control yet, the Spaniard admitted he felt an improvement on his back.

In fact, the 2009 champion went a step ahead and declared that ease in discomfort on his back was the most important news for him.

“The back was not getting better each day. It was getting better today. Today is better. First day I feel an improvement, and that’s the most important thing for me today, more than any other thing,” said Nadal.

Nadal returned to his old service movement, which he had tweaked slightly because of his lower-back tightness. The change in service motion reflected in the numbers, with Nadal winning an impressive 77% points of his first serve.

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Up next, Nadal will play against arch-rival Fabio Fognini in the fourth round. Fognini has been in excellent form, having defeated Alex de Minaur in straights sets in the third round.

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Nadal has faced Fognini 16 times in his career, leading 12-4 in the head-to-head meetings. The duo last played against each other in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Canadian Open, with Nadal winning the match in three sets.

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Kshitij Tayal

368 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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