Rafael Nadal registered a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1) win over American tennis Jack Sock in the second round of the Citi Open. It was a gruelling encounter for the Spanish legend as the game lasted more than 3 three hours and it tested his fitness.
The 35-year-old now progresses to the second round of the ATP 500 event and he will face young South African tennis star Llyod Harris. Nadal played really well but he was in visible discomfort with his foot. It did affect his movement so it will be interesting to see how he will turn out against Harris in the next match.
The Spaniard claimed that he is satisfied with his fitness but is also concerned with the pain in his foot.
“My fitness is fine,” Rafael Nadal said. “I just need to be a little bit – I need to have a little bit less pain in the foot, honestly. That’s the truth. But physically I feel more or less okay.”
Nadal claimed that he was looking to play long strenuous matches after coming back from a break. This is something he has been advised to do after returning back in action.
The Spaniard feels that he is well versed with his training programme and believes that he is in good stead. However, he is still concerned with his foot issues.
“Of course, you need matches like this to be fitter after a month without competing,” Rafael Nadal explained. “But that’s part of the process, and I know the process. I went through all this stuff many times in my career. So it’s something I am not worried about.”
“So it is about winning these kinds of matches,” he added. “That helps you to be better. Then, if I’m able to improve with my foot, I think the rest of the things are going to come step by step.”
The 35-year-old finished with 41 winners, the same as Jack Sock but at some stage of the match, it felt like the 20-time Grand Slam winner had lost it all away. Sock led the deciding set 3-1 but then Nadal unleashed his real game to take it all away. He forced the tiebreaker and then finished it all with great dominance.