Rafael Nadal will fight his first official match in 2021, meeting Laslo Djere in the first round of the Australian Open today February 9.
Nadal has completely abandoned the ATP Cup – a teammate tournament that took place before the Australian Open, because of back pain. The 15-day pain makes the owner of the 20 Grand Slam somewhat cautious before the opening match is judged not too difficult.
“I can not practice the way I want to in a week and a half,” the Spanish player told ATP on 8/2. “I still don’t have the best feeling in my back, but am doing a lot of things to recover my condition. The problem is not serious, but I am not really comfortable yet. Hope everything improves in the coming days.
Before the match against Djere at about 10:00 today, according to Hanoi time, Nadal has not played a single official match of the year. He won Dominic Thiem at a performance while quarantine in Adelaide, but the injury level worsened when he moved to Melbourne.
The pain made Nadal difficult in the journey to conquer the second title in Melbourne, as well as the record 21 Grand Slam. If crowned in Australia, Nadal will overtake Roger Federer in the Grand Slam race, and become the first person to double crown in all four Grand Slams during the Open Era.
“The only thing I can do is give myself a chance to compete in the tournament, to win the first round against Djere,” added Nadal. “After that, you will have more time for your body to recover.”
Also on the Rod Laver Arena, Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet Gilles Simon in the latest match of the day. Most of the best moments in the Greek tennis player’s career have come to Australia, where he once defeated Roger Federer on his way to the semi-finals in 2019.
Two Russian players who have just played sublimation at the ATP Cup, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev also joined today. Fourth seed Medvedev encounters Vasek Pospisil, and seventh seed Rublev faces Yannick Hanfmann. Medvedev has won 14 consecutive games before the tournament, and has won the last 10 games against competitors in the top 10.