Spanish world No.2 Rafael Nadal pulled out of his country’s ATP Cup tie against Australia with a stiff lower back but his teammates did not need him, beating the home side 2-0 at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday evening.
Our champ tweeted hours before his match with Alex de Minaur to say that he had a stiff back:
“Hi all, we have decided with Team Spain and my team, to not play today the first match of the ATP Cup here in Melbourne, since I have a stiff low back. Hopefully I’ll be better for Thursday (against Greece).”
Rafa’s unfortunate update late on Tuesday left his legion of fans understandably devastated and hopeful about his speedy recovery.
Rafa’s spokesman Benito Perez-Barbadillo told Reuters that the 34-year-old preferred “not to force too much”.
Rafa’s replacement Pablo Carreno Busta (the world No.16) trounced Australia’s world No.38 John Millman 6-2, 6-4 first, then world No.13 Roberto Bautista Agut defeated world No.23 Alex de Minaur 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Carreno Busta returned to the court alongside Marcel Granollers to complete a 3-0 victory for Spain.