Shanghai - Rafael Nadal on Tuesday said he
had shaken off his foot problem from the China Open final - and added that he
was also recovering from the "mental injury" he blames for his
struggles on court this year.
Nadal, speaking ahead of the Shanghai
Masters, said the foot injury which gave him a "scary moment" during
Sunday's 6-2, 6-2 loss to Novak Djokovic had disappeared by Monday morning.
And he also said he was finally getting to
grips with the loss of confidence which unnerved him this year as he failed to
win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2004.
"Sometimes I recover from injuries.
This time what I had, with my not having the control of my nerves or my
emotion, is like coming back from an injury, too," he told reporters.
"It's not a physical injury, but it's
a mental injury. And this for me is another challenge."
Despite the lopsided score line in Sunday's
final against the world number one, seventh-ranked Nadal enjoyed a positive
tournament in Beijing as he reached his first hard-court title match all year.
And the 29-year-old maintained he was
heading in the right direction to return to the sort of level which has brought
him 14 Grand Slam titles.
"I am working hard. I've never had
such a long period of time without playing at the level that I wanted,"
"I lost the matches that I should win,
close matches, third-set matches. None of these important matches, I won none
of those ones. So sometimes it's like a restart," he added.
"I believe that I am much better. I
don't know what the results are going to be till the end of the season. But I
really believe if I continue with the same quality of practices, the same
health of my body, I really hope and I believe that I can start the next year
with (more) energy and I believe another level."