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Rafael Nadal withdraws from ATP Cup opener with 'stiff lower back'

Rafael Nadal looking glum

Rafael Nadal caused an injury scare on Tuesday ahead of the Australian Open after he withdrew from Spain's ATP tie against hosts Australia.

Nadal was due to face Alex de Minaur in the match between the highest ranked players in each team, but a 'stiff low back' saw him decide to pull out.

However, he also assured fans he could be back on court as early as Thursday in Spain's second match, hinting that the problem is not a serious one and he is simply erring on the side of caution instead.

"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," Nadal said via his Twitter account.

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"Hopefully i’ll be better for Thursday (against Greece).”

Roberto Bautista Agut will step into Nadal's shoes against de Minaur now, with Pablo Carreno Busta taking on John Millman in the other singles rubber.

If required, Carreno Busta is also initially scheduled to play doubles with Marcel Granollers, but that is subject to change.

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