• Tennis

Nadal: Playing with pain part of my career

ESPN staff
February 12, 2014
Rafael Nadal suffered a back injury in the Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal has revealed that battling injuries is something that has become a part of his career, as he prepares to make his comeback to the circuit in Rio next week.

The world No.1 returned to action in February 2013 after spending seven months on the sidelines with a career-threatening knee injury, but went on to record one of his strongest seasons by lifting two Grand Slams, a record five Masters 1000 titles and regaining top spot in the world rankings from Novak Djokovic.

But Nadal, who has been forced to miss tournaments due to his troublesome knees in the past, has come to the conclusion that playing with pain is something he has had to get used to over the years.

"The physical demands come from the matches I win, the more you win, the more demands you have. I prefer to have more demands and win more than to have a really bad year," Nadal told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

"When I'm done with all of this, there will be time for the body to recover. An athlete's life, I think, is about playing with pain."

Nadal, who suffered a back injury in the Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka last month, was due to play in Buenos Aires this week.

However, the 13-time major winner withdrew with a stomach virus, and is heading to Rio de Janeiro on the back of returning to the practice court for the first time since the defeat to Wawrinka.

"I started training a bit to see if the thing is going well and I can play in Rio. I bought tickets," Nadal said, adding that it was "not pleasant" to pull out of Buenos Aires.

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