Healthy and confident Nadal hoping for resurgent season

2017-02-01 16:00:05 by T4N
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Healthy and confident Nadal hoping for resurgent season Posted: Updated: (AP Photo/Kin Cheung). Spain's Rafael Nadal answers question at press conference following his loss to Switzerland's Roger Federer in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, early Monday, Jan. 30, 20... (AP Photo/Aaron Favila). Switzerland's Roger Federer, right, Spain's Rafael Nadal, left, and Rod Laver pose for photographers after Federer won the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29... (AP Photo/Aaron Favila). Switzerland's Roger Federer, center, Spain's Rafael Nadal, left, and Rod Laver chat during the trophy presentation after Federer won their men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia,... Updated: Sunday, January 29 2017 9:53 AM EST 2017-01-29 14:53:50 GMT President Donald Trump plans to turn to local police for help in cracking down on illegal immigration and building his so-called deportation force More >> President Donald Trump plans to turn to local police for help in cracking down on illegal immigration and building his so-called deportation force More >> Updated: Sunday, January 29 2017 9:03 AM EST 2017-01-29 14:03:54 GMT British Prime Minister Theresa May has criticized President Donald Trump's order temporarily banning refugees from entering the United States More >> Iraqis say they are shocked and disappointed with U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning citizens from Iraq and six other Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States More >> Updated: Sunday, January 29 2017 2:43 AM EST 2017-01-29 07:43:39 GMT President Donald Trump bars all refugees from entering the United States for four months _ and those from war-ravaged Syria indefinitely _ declaring the ban necessary to prevent "radical Islamic terrorists" from... More >> A federal judge in New York has issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people from nations subject to President Donald Trump's travel ban More >> Updated: Sunday, January 29 2017 1:13 AM EST 2017-01-29 06:13:30 GMT A family spokeswoman says that Barbara Hale, the actress who played steadfast secretary Della Street on "Perry Mason," has died at the age of 94. Hale appeared in the courtroom drama on CBS from 1957 to 1966 and... More >> A family spokeswoman says that Barbara Hale, who played steadfast secretary Della Street on "Perry Mason," has died at the age of 94 More >> Updated: Sunday, January 29 2017 12:33 AM EST 2017-01-29 05:33:34 GMT Environmentalists are bracing for court battles over what they fear will be an unprecedented wave of rollbacks on policies concerning climate change, wildlife protection, federal lands and pollution under a Trump... More >> Environmentalists are bracing for court battles over what they fear will be an unprecedented wave of rollbacks on policies concerning climate change, wildlife protection, federal lands and pollution under a Trump administration and Republican-led Congress More >> Updated: Saturday, January 28 2017 11:33 PM EST 2017-01-29 04:33:28 GMT President Donald Trump says his ban on refugees from Muslim-majority nations is being done in the name of national security More >> President Donald Trump says his ban on refugees from Muslim-majority nations is being done in the name of national security More >> Updated: Saturday, January 28 2017 11:24 PM EST 2017-01-29 04:24:18 GMT New York City's Kennedy airport became a scene of anguish Saturday for relatives of people detained after arriving in the U.S. from nations subject to President Donald Trump's travel ban More >> New York City's Kennedy airport became a scene of anguish Saturday for relatives of people detained after arriving in the U.S. from nations subject to President Donald Trump's travel ban More >> Saturday, January 28 2017 6:13 PM EST 2017-01-28 23:13:18 GMT California Gov. Jerry Brown will undergo further radiation treatment for prostate cancer More >> California Gov. Jerry Brown will undergo further radiation treatment for prostate cancer More >> Updated: Saturday, January 28 2017 5:13 PM EST 2017-01-28 22:13:47 GMT The federal trial of the South Carolina man who slaughtered nine Bible study participants has come and gone, with Dylann Roof's death sentence assuring he will spend the rest of his limited days in prison More >> The federal trial of the South Carolina man who slaughtered nine Bible study participants has come and gone, with Dylann Roof's death sentence assuring he will spend the rest of his limited days in prison More >> Updated: Saturday, January 28 2017 4:53 PM EST 2017-01-28 21:53:18 GMT The woman at the center of the trial of Emmett Till's alleged killers has acknowledged that she falsely testified he made physical and verbal threats, according to a new book More >> The woman at the center of the trial of Emmett Till's alleged killers has acknowledged that she falsely testified he made physical and verbal threats, according to a new book More >> Trump to address GOP House, Senate members at retreat President Donald Trump on Thursday rallied fellow Republicans who control the White House and Congress for the first time in nearly a decade, telling lawmakers they will be busier than they have been in decades helping him implement a broad agenda More >> President Donald Trump on Thursday rallied fellow Republicans who control the White House and Congress for the first time in nearly a decade, telling lawmakers they will be busier than they have been in decades helping him implement a broad agenda By JUSTIN BERGMANAssociated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Rafael Nadal has become used to making comebacks in an injury-ravaged career. This last one, though, may be the most unexpected - and satisfying. Sidelined by a wrist injury for two long stretches last year, Nadal didn't believe he'd be playing at his top level and contending again for titles until later this spring, when the tour moves to his beloved clay. Then he came to Melbourne and somehow kept grinding out win after win. He made it all the way to the Australian Open final, where he fell just short in his bid to win his 15th major by losing to long-time rival Roger Federer, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. It had been a lean couple of years for Nadal, but he believes he's back now and feeling confident he can pull out grueling five-set matches at majors again after struggling at times with self-doubt. This is a good sign heading into his favorite major, the French Open, where Nadal can try to round off his trophy collection with an improbable No. 10. "I believe that playing like this, good things can happen. Can happen here in this surface, but especially can happen on clay," he said. "On clay can be special." Nadal has been searching for this kind of run since winning his last major at the French Open in 2014. Since then, his body has broken down time and again, perhaps most frustratingly at last year's French Open, where he was forced to withdraw before his third-round match against Marcel Granollers with a left wrist injury. The injury flared up again at the end of the year and Nadal shut down his season early to rest and allow himself to fully heal. It looks like a wise decision now. Feeling refreshed and looking sharp, the Spaniard rallied twice to pull out five-set matches in Melbourne. He showed his superior fitness by outlasting a cramping Alexander Zverev to come back from a two-set-to-one deficit in the third round, and he narrowly edged Grigor Dimitrov in a five-hour thriller in the semifinals. Given the fact he only had one fully day off to recover following the Dimitrov match, Nadal could have come out flat against Federer. But he showed the same fighting spirit from the first point to the last, saving an incredible nine of 11 break points in the fifth set before finally cracking under Federer's unrelenting pressure. "I cannot say that I am sad. I wanted to win, yes, but I am not very sad. I did all the things that I could. I worked a lot during all these months," he said. "I enjoyed the competition. I won against the best players of the world, and I competed well against everybody." And Nadal feels if he stays healthy, he could be on the verge of a resurgent season. "The real thing is what makes me more happy, more than the titles, is go on the court and feel that I can enjoy the sport," he said. "Today I am enjoying the sport." Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 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