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Rafa Nadel struggling with ear infection at Madrid Open

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Rafael Nadal is optimistic that his performance in the Madrid Open tennis championships this week will not be affected by an ear infection he has been suffering since Friday.

Speaking to the press on Monday, two days ahead of his debut against Fabio Fognini in the second round of the competition, the Spaniard, who comes to Madrid fresh from success in Barcelona and Monti Carlo, explained he had woken up, "at three in the morning with pain".

"It's an unpleasant sensation and it is with you all day and has even given me headaches and dizzy spells. However, I have been able to train for a couple of hours today and I am better than yesterday and the doctor has told me it is nothing serious," said Nadal, who admitted he had "never had anything like this before".

"I wanted to play on Tuesday, but it will be better to leave it until Wednesday," commented the Spaniard, who is currently World Number 4 and happy with his recent form.

"I think I have been playing well, not just on beaten clay, but all year. I have felt good and I have had a few decent months, although I needed to win a title and that is what happened in Monte Carlo and Barcelona."

"Now I am in a different tournament and it is special for me in Madrid, because I am playing at home once again," he said.

Asked about Novak Djokovic's decision to change his coaches in an attempt to end a poor run of form, he said: "I have never done that, although I have started working with Carlos Moya, who is well known to me and we are all happy working together. I don't know how the decision will affect Djokovic."

He also added that Djokovic and top seed Andy Murray were "two of the best players in the world and we have to expect good things from them".