World No. 2 Rafael Nadal finished a COVID-19-curtailed 2020 tour season with a flourish. He won his 13th Roland Garros title, and also reached the semifinals of the two big events at Paris and London. But according to recent reports, Nadal has been facing a few niggles of late.
The Spaniard has started pre-season preparations for the next year, at his own academy, and he practiced with Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime a few days back. The Rafa Nadal Academy also recently offered its training facilities to Italy's Lorenzo Sonego, who famously beat World No.1 Novak Djokovic in Vienna.
Sonego's coach Gipo Arbino spoke to Ubitennis on the Italian's time at the famed academy, and also gave some mildly concerning news about Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal would be eager to better his 2020 Australian Open result, which saw him lose to Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. But he may have to get his fitness up to speed first, as Arbino revealed the Spaniard has had some minor issues lately.
"Rafa has had some physical problems in recent days," Arbino said.
I think tomorrow or Friday, Lorenzo could also train with Rafael Nadal: Gipo Arbino
While Rafael Nadal has had a long history of severe injuries, Sonego's coach believes the current ailment is not too serious.
"I think tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday Lorenzo could also train with him," Arbino said.
Rafael Nadal is expected to start his 2021 season in early February, at either the Australian Open or the ATP Cup. Having tied Roger Federer's record tally of most Grand Slams won, Rafael Nadal will push for a record-breaking 21st Major title in Melbourne next year.
Arbino also praised Rafael Nadal's academy, acknowledging that training there has been an enriching experience. The Italian noted that his ward was able to practice with a number of players.
"He practiced in the morning with Ruusuvuori, one of the emerging talents of the circuit. He also trained with Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is close to entering the top ten," Arbino said.
Arbino went on to laud the environment at the academy, which is based in Rafael Nadal's hometown of Mallorca. He even got to converse with Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's uncle and former coach.
"An enriching experience made even more noble by the presence and constant dialogue with Toni Nadal. Ideal conditions, with 20 degrees of temperature," the coach said.Published 16 Dec 2020, 23:22 IST