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Nalbandian doubt for Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — David Nalbandian is a major injury doubt for the Australian Open next week after injuring his back in practice and withdrawing from the Kooyong Classic warm-up tournament.

Argentine star Nalbandian ended the 2007 season by claiming the Masters Series events in Madrid and Paris, beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the process, and was tipped to be a major contender at Melbourne Park.

But the 26-year-old is struggling to be fit in time for the first grand slam of the season and will be having scans to assess the extent of the injury.

For sure I can’t play. I can’t even hit slowly with the ball, he said.

This 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 as he practiced with Russian star Marat Safin, 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.

He was the third high-profile player to withdraw from the Kooyong exhibition tournament, after Federer, who has a stomach virus, and Germany’s Tommy Haas.

In play on Wednesday, Andy Roddick of the United States saw off Ivan Ljubiic of Croatia 6-3 6-0, Marcos Baghdatis, Federer’s replacement at Kooyong, beat Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and Safin saw off Andy Murray 6-1 6-4.

British number one Murray, who won the Qatar Open on Saturday, complained of jet lag and feeling ill after his match with Safin was hastily rescheduled following Nalbandian’s injury. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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January 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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