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 in Spain’s 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, who started the season as the world’s top-ranked player

but is now No. 2, often faced questions over his health as his

grueling style of play appeared to catch up with his body this

season, with his last ATP tour win coming 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, who also had an abdominal injury this year, 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 (?3.7 million) in winnings. “I don’t

have any problems.”