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'I can't honestly remember playing tennis without pain,' admits Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pain Australian Open

Rafael Nadal says he can't remember playing tennis without plain, although he admits it has got worse in recent years.

Nadal has been forced to fight through injury many times during his career, and he played the Australian Open last month with a back injury.

That injury has ruled him our of both Acapulco and Rotterdam since the end of the tournament, as well as the ATP Cup before it.

That, though, is something he says has simply become a way of life for him.

"Honestly, I don't remember ever playing without pain," Nadal told Veja.

"In the past few years, I have been experiencing pain more often, and you need to learn to live with it, as long as it doesn't stop you from playing.

"I had to change a lot in my game and in my training. I changed routines, trained less hours than I would like, improved my serve and my positioning. Everything evolves, one way or the other."

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Nadal was also asked what he believes sets him apart from other athletes, many of whom may not be able to deal with the pain he talks about.

He, though, issued a typically humble response.

"I don't know how to answer that," he said. "Maybe someone else should speak for me.

"I just know that I always try to do my best, either during training or during the match.

"I love competition, I have a passion for the sport and I believe in its values."

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