2/12/13 4:19 PM | Johan Lindahl
Rafael Nadal takes his still-questionable knees onto a second straight week of clay, with the Spaniard continuing his comeback to tennis after well over half a year away as he plays this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The world No. 5 lost in a shock at the Vina del Mar final in Chile to unheralded Argentine Horacio Zeballos, and he also went down in doubles with partner Juan Monaco. The strain of nine matches in six days evidently weighed on the Nadal, with the 11-time Grand Slam winner complaining of knee pain.
"The knee is still bothering me, but you have to face adversity with the best possible face and look forward to keep working and enjoy what I like the most, to play tennis," Nadal told the ATP website.
But the Spaniard tried to put a positive spin on the worrying situation: "A week ago we didn't know how the body would respond. At least now I know we can compete at a certain level. I think that was a positive week.
"I will try to keep improving my physical sensations day by day, which is the most important thing because I don't feel that my tennis level is bad. I need more time on court."
Nadal's loss in a clay final was only his fifth out of 41 played, with Zeballos joining elite company in Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the only men to have beaten Nadal in a clay final.
"I was two points away from winning the title, but I said from first day that the result was not the most important thing, although I would've liked to win," he said. "To win four matches in a row is good news for me."
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