Teething problems for Nadal


MIAMI, March 25 – A troublesome wisdom tooth inflammation that began this week had Rafael Nadal on edge as the Spaniard waited Wednesday to learn the name of his first-round opponent at the WTA and ATP Miami Masters.The fourth seed said that he was unable to train for two days after arriving in Florida from Indian Wells, where he and Marc Lopez won the doubles title after he exited in the singles semi-finals to eventual champion Ivan Ljubicic.

"I started to practice yesterday afternoon. I’m hoping it will better today and tomorrow," he said of his inflammation.

The 23-year-old said dentists tell him he will have to have the tooth removed "but not now".

The timeframe for any dental surgery could be tight for Nadal, who will start his all-important clay season in April at Monte Carlo and carry on for the next two months before moving directly onto the grass.

Nadal will start in the second round at Miami after his bye against either German qualifier Rainer Schuettler or American Taylor Dent.

Even with his teething troubles, Nadal insists that his form is optimal.

"I’m feeling great," he said. "I was fast (at Indian Wells). I was aggressive. I was moving very good. I was very happy how I played. I was playing at my best level during that tournament."

Men began first-round play Wednesday with two Frenchmen the first ousted.

Argentine Eduardo Schwank advanced 4-3 as Marc Gicquel quit with a right leg injury while Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated French veteran Arnaud Clement 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

On the women’s side, Alize Cornet of France opened by beating Swiss Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.