Nadal bothered by back soreness before Australian Open

The Spaniard is tied on 20 Grand Slams titles with Roger Federer and is trying to go past him by winning the Australian open, for only the second time in his career

Back soreness is still bothering Rafael Nadal as he prepares for the Australian Open.

The World No.2 likes everything to line up perfectly, and he admitted on the eve of the year's first major "the whole positive feelings that I had" last week after coming out of 14-day quarantine “now disappeared a little bit."

Nadal, trying to win his 21st Grand Slam singles title, was sidelined for the ATP Cup at Melbourne Park, where he was little more than a spectator as Spain lost in the semifinals.

"It's true that for the last 15 days I have been suffering with the back," Nadal, appearing slightly dejected, told a pre-tournament news conference Sunday.

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"So here we are. I tried little bit today to serve again. I'm doing everything what's possible to be ready for it. Today I am still hoping to keep improving and hope to be ready for it."

The Australian Open starts Monday and Nadal is in the bottom half of the men's draw,  scheduled to play his first-round match against Laslo Djere of Serbia on Tuesday. A win there and he could face either Viktor Troicki or Michael Mhom in the second round.

He's not thinking that far ahead, having been in the situation before of taking injuries and niggles into a major.

"I think about (how) we are on Sunday, I have tomorrow and then playing Tuesday, no?" he said. "I don't think about not playing — the thing is about in which conditions I'm going to start the tournament.

"It's not serious, but the muscle is still tight, so is difficult to play with freedom of movements. Let's hope (the) situation keeps improving," he added.

His entourage and the medical team are doing everything to help, he said, and "I know sometimes things change quick. I'm going to keep staying positive."