Rafael Nadal has put concerns about his lingering abdomen injury to bed, saying that he is happy with the way he has been able to practice in the days leading up to the 2022 US Open.
The Spaniard, who had to pull out of his Wimbledon semifinals due to an abdominal tear and hasn’t won a match since then, declared during his pre-tournament press conference that he hopes to be ready for action in New York.
The Mallorcan hopes the weapons he has in his arsenal at the moment will help him be competitive at the tournament, where he comes in with an unbeaten 19-0 record in Grand Slams for the year.
“I am practicing. I am doing things the best way that I can. I hope to be ready for the action, no? That’s the only thing that I can say. I have what I have,” Nadal said. “With the tools that I have today, I hope to be competitive enough to give myself a chance.”
The World No. 3 admitted that it has been a difficult injury to deal with, especially since it impeded his ability to be flexible on the tennis court. With the risk of opening up the scar once again looming on the horizon, the southpaw had to consciously ensure that he did not overwork himself too soon.
“It’s been tough dealing with tear in abdomen. Is a tough injury because it’s dangerous, it’s risky. When you have a scar, it’s a place that you put lot of effort when you are serving,” Nadal said. “You need to find flexibility again because when you have a scar there, beginning is not flexible, is very easy to understand. The risk of breaking when you are doing an important movement back there on a thing that is not flexible like before, the risk is higher.”
That was one of the reasons for his loss in his Cincinnati Open opener against Borna Coric as well, with the former World No. 1 revealing that he did not put his full effort into serving during the match.
“I take it very easy in the Cincinnati, too, in the practices. The match, I try my best without putting all the effort there on the serve. I fight until the end. I had my chances,” Nadal said.
“I’m taking care with the serve, being honest, but in general terms, I am practicing at high level of intensity” – Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal further added that he is taking special care of his serve, despite which he has been practicing at high intensity. Even though he has played only one competitive match in the meantime, the World No. 3 is of the opinion that two weeks of training is enough to get back into rhythm.
“I’m taking care with the serve, being honest. But in general terms, yes, I am practicing at high level of intensity. I’m quite happy the way that I am playing. Of course, we need to compete later, “he said. “But is already two weeks on the tour, even if only one match professional, official.”
Unlike Cincinnati, the 36-year-old was glad that he has been playing more sets with his practice partners in New York, which will help him get better prepared for the showing at Flushing Meadows.
“But practicing every day with the guys help me, without a doubt. I played sets every day for the last five days. That helps, of course. Before Cincinnati I just played two sets there before the tournament start, so it’s difficult,” Nadal said.
“Let’s try here again, no, with a better preparation. From my perspective, I am practicing quite well. Let’s see what can happen, but I am happy with the practices,” he added.