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17 August 2012

Nadal aiming for Davis Cup comeback


Photo: Sergio LlameraRafael Nadal (ESP)

Rafael Nadal, who has been forced to withdraw from the US Open with an ongoing knee injury, is hoping to be fit for the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinals next month, according to his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal.

The Spaniard suffered a shock exit at Wimbledon in the second round, losing to the lowly ranked Lukas Rosol, and hasn’t played a match since. He subsequently pulled out of the Olympics and the ATP World Tour events in Toronto and Cincinnati, before announcing that he still isn’t fit enough to compete at the final Grand Slam of the year in New York.

“It was the right decision. This pause will further prolong his career and, possibly, he will have no more problems in the future," Toni Nadal told Spanish radio, adding the goal is to work for a “full recovery”.

Spain, the defending Davis Cup champions, are hosting USA in the semifinals on 14-16 September, with a place in the final against either Argentina or Czech Republic at stake. The tie is being held at Parque Hermanos Castro, a temporary clay court venue with a capacity of over 15,000 seats, in the city of Gijon on Spain’s north coast.

“There is a month to go and we hope that he will be fine, if not technically, at least physically,” said Nadal’s coach. “After Wimbledon we decided to rest a few days and then work on strengthening his quadriceps, but it was difficult.

“We eventually managed to boost a bit of his strength, but at the end of the training sessions he continued to feel discomfort and his recovery was not enough to face such a hard competition as the US Open. Now we are training normally, but it is not the same as competing four hours a day during a tournament.”

Nadal helped Spain win their fifth Davis Cup crown in 2011, although he hasn’t played yet in this year’s campaign. The Spanish team have reached the semifinals with routine home victories over Kazakhstan 5-0 and Austria 4-1, while USA have impressively come through tricky away fixtures against Switzerland 5-0 and France 3-2.

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