Rafa Nadal has been struggling with a back injury of late and the issue seemed to still be present on the eve of the Australian Open.
Nadal, however, maintains that he will be a part of the Grand slam even if he is not yet at 100 percent. The Australian Open 2021, which is the 109th edition of the Australian Open, the 53rd in the Open Era, and the first Grand Slam of the year, will start tomorrow in perhaps the most unprecedented manner in the tournament’s history with corona chaos still wreaking havoc in parts of Australia and the world.
The tournament will go on for two weeks with the finals scheduled to be held on 21st of February.
Rafa in a race against time-
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. The Spaniard couldn’t play for his country against Australia, Greece and Italy at the ATP Cup, instead staying on the practice court.
And, ahead of the competition kicking off, he’s suggested he’s in a race against time to be fit.
But,Rafa wants to play.
Play for a win,play for the records,play to win a record 21st Grand Slam title.
Asked about his fitness, 34-year-old told reporters on Sunday: ‘Not great, obviously, because if not I would have been playing at the ATP Cup,’ adding that he had been ‘suffering’ for 15 days.
‘I’m doing everything what’s possible to be ready for it. That’s the only thing that I can say. Today, I am still hoping to keep improving and hope to be ready for it.’
Nadal, who has suffered regularly from back injuries throughout his career, said he was not contemplating pulling out of the year’s first Grand Slam.
‘I don’t think about not playing,’ Rafa added. ‘The thing is about in which condition I going to start the tournament, no?
‘Is not serious, but the muscle is still tight, so is difficult to play with the freedom of movements today. Let’s hope the situation keeps improving.
‘We are doing everything. My physio is here, the doctors here, everybody is helping me in all possible ways.‘Rafa concluded.
Australian Open 2021-The favorites and the dark horses-
With Federer opting out due to knee surgery, the spotlight is firmly on Djokovic and Nadal who start out as firm favorites in the men’s event.
However, for the first time in a long long time, there are clear contenders outside the Big Three in the duo of Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.Without any major upsets,the title should come to one the four.
The women’s field on the other hand looks much more open even with the return of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka and these are the only two clear favorites ahead of the eyar’s first slam.