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Nadal: Happy with Level, Wary of Abdominal

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, August 27, 2022

Rafael Nadal’s US Open title hopes may just hinge on the power of healing.

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If the abdominal injury that knocked him out of the Wimbledon semifinals does not rear its ugly head during the New York fortnight, the four-time champion is a favorite to win it all.

If not, there could be trouble.

So how is Nadal coming along? He says good, but not necessarily perfect. The 22-time Grand Slam champion is still cautious and playing it safe as the US Open approaches.

“It has been a tough deal with a tear in my abdominal,” Nadal said. “Is a tough injury because it's dangerous, it's risky. When you have a scar, it's a place that you put a lot of effort when you are serving.”

Nadal says he’s trying to increase the range of motion in that area gradually, and he says he took it easy at Cincinnati, treading carefully so as not to set himself back.

“You need to find flexibility again because when you have a scar there, the beginning is not flexible,” he said. “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.”

Nadal admitted that he was not pushing on serve very hard during his loss to Borna Coric in Cincinnati. Still, he won 42 of 50 first-serve points and was only broken once.

“I took it very easy in Cincinnati, too, in the practices. The match, I try my best without putting all the effort there on the serve,” he said.

Nadal says he is still taking it easy in New York as well, so it isn’t clear if he’ll be limited while serving or if he intends to start hitting at maximum intensity when his first match with Australia’s Rinky Hijikata is played on Tuesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Taking care with the serve, being honest,” he said. “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. But is already two weeks on the tour, even if only one match professional, official. But practicing every day with the guys helps me, without a doubt. I played sets every day for the last five days. That helps, of course.

“I have what I have. With the tools that I have today, I hope to be competitive enough to give myself a chance.”

Photo credit: Elsa/Getty