Nadal pleased by winning return to hardcourt
Indian Wells, California (dpa) - Rafael Nadal fought through his return to hardcourts after nearly a year away from the surface, with the fifth seed pleased by an opening win over American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 at the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday.
Nadal was the question mark of the sport after missing seven months with a knee injury and then returning last month on clay to win two titles from three tournaments.
He knew nothing would be easy, even against an American whose temper has often lost him matches.
"After seven months I’m not gonna take crazy risks," said the fifth seed. "But I am here. When I am playing a tournament, if you know me, my mentality is try my best in every moment.
"I really don’t think about my knee, but is true that for me today after seven months out of competition is easier to start and play on clay more than grass."
Nadal, never one to duck controversy, has tried to contain his constant calls for more clay events, the surface upon which he rules and which does the least damage to his dodgy knees.
"Hard courts are aggressive for the body. If the next generations wants to have longer careers and want to finish his careers with better conditions physically, that’s my humble opinion, the ATP has to find a solution and not continue playing more and more tournaments on this surface that is the harder one for the joints and for the knees, for the foot, for the back, for everything," he said.
The 26-year-old Spaniard won two titles from three events as he returned to tennis last month, wrapping up with the Acapulco title last weekend.
"I’m very happy about what I did in Latin American clay court season. It was very important for me. "But for the first tournament on hard and with the conditions, I don’t expect big results, I’m just here to practise with the other players, compete like tonight I did, have another chance the day after tomorrow.
"That’s very positive for me. I’m happy, and I don’t expect a lot. I take everything as positive. For me, today, every victory playing great, playing bad, has a lot of value."