Rafael Nadal, the former top-ranked player in the world, on Sunday won his… (Andre Penner / Associated…)
Rafael Nadal's comeback now includes a victory in the Brazil Open.
When last we saw a healthy Nadal, he was carving up the competition, as per usual, on the clay courts of Roland Garros for his seventh French Open title in June. Since then, the former top-ranked Spaniard has struggled through injury and illness.
On Sunday, the 26-year-old now ranked No. 5 in the world routed No. 93 David Nalbandian of Argentina, 6-2, 6-3, to claim his 51st singles title on Sunday in Sao Paolo.
Nadal missed seven months of competition with an injured left knee and then a stomach virus that derailed his training this winter.
"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," Nadal said Sunday. "If the pain is bearable like it was today, then it's fine."
The 11-time Grand Slam singles champion finally returned to play earlier this month at the VTR Open in Chile, losing in the finals of both the singles and doubles competition.
Nadal had to leave the tour last year after losing to Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon. A torn tendon in his knee prevented Nadal from defending his singles gold at the Olympics in London and forced him to withdraw from the U.S. Open and Spain's Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic.
His victory in the Brazil Open reminded Nadal of when he began to make his mark in the sport.
"I'll definitely enjoy this one because of all the problems that I've gone through with the knee," Nadal said. "When I won for the first time here I was just starting and hopefully this will mark a new beginning."
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