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Nadal says back is bothering him at French Open

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PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal says his back is bothering him and forcing him to hit slower serves.

The eight-time French Open champion says after his third-round victory that his back has been aching since the start of the tournament and he’s been wearing tape on it.

Nadal averaged only 102 mph (165 kph) on first serves with a top speed of 114 mph (184 kph) while beating 65th-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday for a 31st consecutive win at Roland Garros.

That was down from an average of 111 mph (179 kph) and top of (197 kph) 122 mph in the first round against Robby Ginepri last Monday.