Published December 28, 2016
Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal stretched his French Open winning streak to 31 matches, equaling his longest run at the tournament, with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 victory over 65th-ranked Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in the third round Saturday.
Yet after the game, the 27-year-old Spaniard said his back is bothering him and forcing him to hit slower serves.
The eight-time French Open champion said his back has been aching since the start of the tournament and he's been wearing tape on it.
Nadal averaged only 102 mph 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 and top of 122 mph in the first round against Robby Ginepri last Monday.
The last time Nadal won 31 in a row at Roland Garros, he failed to make it 32, losing in the fourth round in 2009 to Robin Soderling.
That remains the Spaniard's only defeat in 63 matches at the tournament.
Nadal has reached the fourth round all 10 times he has entered the French Open. Roger Federer, who won his third-round match Friday, is the only other man to make it to the final 16 in Paris that many times in a row.
The top-seeded Nadal made only 10 unforced errors against Mayer.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.