Rafa Roundup: How worried should fans be about Rafael Nadal’s foot injury?

Rafa Nadal of Spain receives medical treatment on his foot during the men's singles final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the China Open Tennis Tournament in Beijing, China, October 11, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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If it’s possible to experience a win within a loss, Rafael Nadal did it as he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the China Open.

“After the match I’m more happy than before the match,” Nadal declared following world No.1 Djokovic’s straight-sets victory in the duo’s 45th professional encounter.

“Even if I lost the match 6-2 6-2. It’s strange, but that’s my true feeling.”

“I’m very happy the way that I played this week, especially because I was able to improve every single match,” said Nadal. “Especially in the quarter-finals after that first set against Sock, I changed that dynamic. I played closer to the baseline. Yesterday I played a good match and today I played a good match.”

The 14-time Grand Slam-winner called for the trainer during the second set and he faded towards the end of the match as Djokovic strode towards his sixth title in Beijing.

“I have to wait until tomorrow. I felt something, but hopefully it’s fine. I don’t know,” Nadal said.

“My schedule is go to Shanghai tomorrow and practice tomorrow afternoon. For the moment, still the same.”

The very first point of the match, with Nadal serving, produced a medium-length rally featuring great defense by Nadal, but penetrating, persistent stroking by Djokovic — until the latter pulled the trigger on a sharp cross-court backhand that Nadal, at full stretch, barely ticked with his racket.

It was just a taste of things to come.

Nadal sometimes looked convincing, running east and west along the baseline, swinging his racket like a bolo, but he was mostly chasing and feeding. His shots too often lacked the critical, requisite degree of penetration. His return never really hurt Djokovic (credit Djokovic’s underrated serve as well on that one), nor did the Nadal serve.

PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal loses China Open final to Novak Djokovic

Photo: Osports
Photo: Osports

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