Following his 3-set win last night over Radek Stepanek at Indian Wells, top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal admitted that he’s still scared of serving at 100% out of fear of re-injuring his back.
“A little bit scared for the back,” Nadal said. “I am not feeling yet 100% confident with my serve. Even if my back is better than Rio, in Rio I was feeling the back not very well.”
Nadal first injured the back during the Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka, then he had to withdraw from Buenos Aires before returning to win Rio where he admits he couldn’t get his serve speeds to his normal levels.
“I have a better feeling than what I had in Rio, and that’s the most important thing. I have a day off tomorrow. I can practice my serve a little bit. I can try to serve the normal way again. I was serving very well before what happened to my back.”
Now it’s better and he’s encouraged, but last night he uncharacteristically served eight double faults because he doesn’t trust it mentally.
“I didn’t serve for 10 days, said Nadal. “So I only started serving a few days ago.
“I wasn’t serving badly during practice, but I was changing my service motion a little bit to protect my back.
“[Tonight’s] match will help me understand that I really can start to serve with my normal motion again, without limitations and without feeling scared about my back.”
Nadal will play Alexandr Dolgoplov in a Rio Open final rematch on Monday.
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