Rafael Nadal closes 2009 season with another title
Rafael Nadal closed out his most challenging season with another title, ending a four-match losing streak by earning two points for Spain in the Davis Cup final.
Nadal opened the best-of-five series on indoor clay with a victory over Tomas Berdych. He then beat Jan Hajek 6-3, 6-4 Sunday at Palau Sant Jordi to help Spain close out its 5-0 win over the Czech Republic.
``To finish the second half of the season with this ending is very important and nice, especially after all of the problems I had over those two months,'' the Australian Open champion said about the knee injuries that sidelined him for the middle part of the year. ``You have to be sure to enjoy these moments when they happen because you don't know when the next victory will come.''
Nadal started the season as the world's top-ranked player, but is now No. 2 after as his grueling style of play appeared to catch up with his body this season. His last ATP Tour win came in Rome in May.
It was at the Madrid Masters that everything seemed to unravel, with a four-hour semifinal win over Novak Djokovic taking its toll on his bothersome knees.
Nadal also had an abdominal injury this year, and said the busy schedule played a part in his struggles but there wasn't much he could do about that.
``I don't think I've made any errors with my planning. I'm playing the calendar I need to so that I get to the tournaments in good shape,'' said Nadal, who added that the only tournament he could consider dropping next year was in Madrid, but that he wouldn't.
``Could you imagine the reaction?'' he said. ``It was a tournament that didn't help my knee. It was the only mistake on my calendar.''
Nadal lost the Madrid final to Roger Federer and then was eliminated by Robin Soderling in the fourth round of the French Open, a tournament he had won the previous four years.
Although Nadal only reached one more tour final in 2009 - in Shanghai - a second Davis Cup win left him content.
``I feel great,'' said Nadal, who finished the season with a 66-14 record and $5.5 million in winnings. ``I don't have any problems.''