World No.2 Rafa Nadal on Thursday said doubts remain over his fitness ahead of next week’s Australian Open.
Nadal pulled out of Spain’s ATP Cup tie against Australia on Tuesday with a lower back problem and, despite some improvement, said he was still far away from the level required to play at the year’s first Grand Slam.
Nadal told Spanish television channel Movistar+: “It’s not that I’m in a really bad way, but I’m also not alright in the sense that I can’t play either.
“I’ve improved a little but I’m not in a position where I can go and play a game at full intensity.”
Nadal’s name was also absent from Spain’s ATP Cup tie today against Greece at Melbourne Park’s John Cain Arena with Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta leading the challenge in the singles matches for last year’s finalists.
The 34-year-old, however, practised for an hour yesterday at the Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal sits level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles and, with the Swiss not taking part in Melbourne after knee surgery, the Spaniard would have the chance to become the all-time major record holder in the men’s game for the first time.
But with just one title Down Under and Aussie Open record title holders Novak Djokovic in the mix, Nadal insists, however, that that was not something he was focused on.
The 13-time French Open winner says: “First things first, and that’s to play the Australian Open, and if that doesn’t go well, the season goes on.
“I’ve never been obsessed with Grand Slams, truth be told.”