Nadal eyes gradual improvement -
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Nadal eyes gradual improvement

Posted 02-20-2013 at 12:53 PM by

Rafael Nadal was determined to savour the moment after lifting the Brazil Open on Sunday, putting thoughts of a return to the top of the men's game on the back burner.

The Spaniard won his first title in only his second tournament since making his comeback from a serious knee injury. He went one better than his final appearance in Chile, beating Argentine David Nalbandian in straight sets in the Sao Paulo showpiece.

While the South American success will boost Nadal's confidence after a seven-month absence, he has a long way to go to compete with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray once again, with tennis betting news writers suggesting 2013 should just be a year of steady fitness building.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion, who claimed victory at the same event in 2005, hopes the tournament win will act as a springboard for further success in 2013.

"I'll definitely enjoy this one because of all the problems that I've gone through with the knee. When I won for the first time here I was just starting and hopefully this will mark a new beginning," said Nadal to sports betting news reporters.

"When the knee is feeling better like today I feel like that I can do more of the things that I used to do my entire life. If the pain is bearable like it was today, then it's fine."

The 26-year-old intends to see how his knee responds to recent exertions before making plans. He insisted he is only interested in getting matches under his belt at this stage of his rehabilitation, with lofty ambitions shelved for now.

"I don't have any problem playing against better rivals because I accept that I can lose. Losing is not a problem for me. I just need time to continue improving and return to a more competitive level," added Nadal.
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