SAO PAULO - Agence France-Presse
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal returns the ball during the doubles match with Argentinian David Nalbandian against Spanish Pablo Andujar in Brazil. AFP photo
Rafael Nadal said on Feb. 12 that he felt a bit tired after a hard but positive tournament in Chile but vowed to do his best at this week’s Brazil
“I am happy to be here in Brazil
for the second time,” the 26-year-old Spanish tennis star told a press conference. “My knee is OK. There are days when it hurts, this limits me but I have confidence it will improve.”
The 11-time Grand Slam champion, who lost the singles and doubles finals on Feb. 10 at his comeback event in Vina del Mar, Chile following a seven-month knee injury absence, is the top seed at the Brazil
Open, an event he won in 2005.
“I am a bit tired after a hard week in Chile. But it was positive. The process of recovery follows its course. As always I come here to do the best possible and hope that things turn out all right,” Nadal told a press conference.
He said it was impossible for him to change his style of play because of his left knee injury.
“I hope to continue with my style of play and I am confident that my body will respond,” he noted.
Asked when he expected to be 100 percent fit, he responded: “I cannot know the future. If my knee allows, I will do everything possible to be at my best.”
“I am a player who plays with a lot passion, a lot of energy. I suppose that does not help the knee.”
He said his worst moment during his seven-month absence was when he realized he could not compete for Spain and defend his title at the London Olympics.
“My long-term objective is to be in Brazil
in 2016 [for the Rio Summer Olympics]. I am going to work to arrive in good conditions at what are likely to be my last Olympics,” he said.
Considered my many to be the best ever clay-court player, Nadal was back in Chile last week for the first time since a surprise second-round exit at Wimbledon
Since then he has been sidelined by a torn tendon and inflammation in his left knee, with his return this year further delayed by a stomach virus.
Nadal, ranked number five in the world, is helping boost the prestige of the $455,775 Brazil
Open, part of the Latin American
clay court circuit that also includes Vina del Mar and the Mexico Open in Acapulco in which he will compete later this month.