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By Chris Oddo | Sunday, March 9, 2014


Rafael Nadal's serve wasn't quite there in his 2nd-round match against Radek Stepanek, but the defending Indian Wells champion is confident that it will improve.

Photo Source: Stephen Dunn: Getty

After his 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 nail biter victory over Radek Stepanek on Saturday evening, Rafael Nadal revealed that he took ten days off from the service stripe while continuing to rehabilitate his ailing back.

>>> Video: Fabio Fognini Goes Ballistic after Bad Call at Indian Wells

“I didn't serve for 10 days,” Nadal revealed after the match, according to Erwin Ong of, “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.”

The defending BNP Paribas Open champion served his all-time record of eight double-faults on Saturday:

He said that he still was holding back a bit while delivering his trademark lefty kick serve. But Nadal says that he's ready to ratchet it up a bit when he faces Alexandr Dolgopolov in his third-round match in the desert.

“[Saturday'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 said. “I have a better feeling than what I had in Rio, and that's the most important thing.”


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