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Nalbandian injures back, in doubt for Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- David Nalbandian injured his back hitting with Marat Safin at Melbourne Park on Wednesday and is a doubtful starter for next week's Australian Open.

Nalbandian, a 26-year-old Argentine whose last two title wins came over No. 1-ranked Roger Federer and No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal at the Masters Series events in Madrid and Paris in October, said he would have medical scans later Wednesday to assess the damage.

"For sure I can't play. I can't even hit slowly with the ball," he said. "The best thing is to rest and get treatment. In two or three days, start hitting slowly again and see how it goes."

He said the pain came gradually in the middle of his back over an hour but became so intense he could not do anything.

"I felt fit, great and ready to go. It was just bad luck today, warming up," he said. "It's bad luck."

Nalbandian said he would try hitting again on Saturday or Sunday before making a decision on whether to play in the Australian Open, the season's first Grand Slam which starts on Monday.

Nalbandian, who reached the 2002 Wimbledon final but has never been beyond the semis at another major, will be replaced in the eight-man invitational Kooyong field by young Australian Brydan Klein.

"It would have been my first matches of the year, here, so it would have been good to get the feeling of the ball, the surface and everything," he said. "It's very disappointing but all I can do is wait and try and be ready for the Open with a good feeling by Monday."

He was the third high-profile player to withdraw from the Kooyong tournament, following Federer and Tommy Haas.

Federer, who uses this event usually to fine tune for the Australian Open, pulled out Monday because of a stomach virus.

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I was so stoked to see if nalby could beat them all again and win his first major.
This is not good news. Nalbandian is so great to watch when he's playing great. Everyone was going to be watching him because of his wins at the end of last season. He was technically the "real" #3. Ahh, I guess I need to rethink my bracket.

Yeah, I was dissapointed by this. I really had high hopes for Nalby, especially having heard how hard he was training. I thought that he was finally getting serious about his game and going out there to win. I really hope everything improves by Monday.
yeah, because I knew about this, I didn't pick Nalby past the first or second round.
I know I'm a youngin' and all that, but could anyone explain to me how you hurt your back that badly while just PRACTICING? Nothing against Nalby, but you'd think if he had back problems he'd be taking it easy right before a slam. He needs to get in the gym and get some durability.
a lot of it is when he serves. he tosses the ball almost behind his head instead of in front. that can put a lot of pressure on your spine. also the pounding that your body takes on the hardcourts can wear on you after a long period of time. look at lendl and edberg, they had to retire early at their prime because of back problems. have you seen these guys hit in practice? it almost like watching a tennis match. imagine doing that for a few hours a day.
i had nalby losing his first round match
So what is the latest update? Will he play?

Another "in doubt" player is Ancic. Exactly the same news: they will make a late decision to play or not. AO is already tomorrow, and I can't seem to find the official statements. Bummer indeed!
With all the uncertainty, I had him going less further than I had initially planned. I guess it's good my dear family member closed out my original bracket. Heh!

I've heard that he's had Xrays and his doctors were saying it's nothing serious. I'd be surprised if back spasms keep him out. He was suppossed to hit Sunday so I'm assuming that has already happened and there has been no word as to whether he has officially withdrawn as of yet.


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