Rafael Nadal told reporters on Sunday that he'd injured his back whilst warming up for his Australian Open showdown against Stanislas Wawrinka.
Wawrinka started the Melbourne final by producing some breathtaking tennis, going for broke on his first serve and making it clear that Nadal wouldn't be able to bully his backhand with the trademark topspin forehand. Regardless of this there are many wondering how the final would have panned out under different circumstances, as Nadal needed a medical timeout at the start of the second set. The World No.1's back injury played havoc with his game from thereon in, helping Wawrinka to secure a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 success.
Although Nadal appeared to be playing with few limitations in the first set, he later told reporters that he'd first experienced the back pain during the warm-up. This incident was to become just the latest in a long line of Nadal injury woes at the Australian Open. He missed last year's tournament due to his well-documented knee problems and missed the 2006 edition with a foot injury. In 2011 a hamstring injury sent him on his way to a quarter-final loss against David Ferrer, and in 2010 he had to retire in the third set of the quarter-finals against Andy Murray, with knee issues once again being the cause.
“Is true that I was not very lucky and this is a tournament that is painful for me,” said Nadal on Sunday. “Is a tournament that I love so much. Is a tournament that I feel the conditions are good for me, warm conditions that I like, good crowd. Court, is true that is faster than the previous ones. Normally we play in normal speed conditions that I like to play."
“So, yeah, is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. But that's part of life. That's part of sport. Is not the end of the world. Is just another tough moment. Is not the first. I feel very lucky that I was able to enjoy much more happy moments than tough moments."
"At the end is a sport of victories. People remember the victories, don't remember the losses. For me is a tough one [against Wawrinka] because I felt that I was ready to compete well. But in a few weeks that's going to pass. I'm going to keep playing, going to keep training hard. A lot of people in the world have lot of very tough days. I am not this kind of person, so I feel very lucky.”