‘The rib is a problem that limits your game’ says Rafael Nadal as he wins Madrid opener

Rafael Nadal made a winning comeback to the ATP tour in Madrid after recovering from a rib injury but admitted his preparation had been like a ‘rollercoaster’.

The Spaniard returned to action with a 6-1, 7-6 win over Miomir Kecmanovic yesterday following the injury he picked up at Indian Wells in March.

Nadal had previously said the tournament might come a bit too soon for his recovery, but the lure of playing in front of his home crowd, in a tournament he has previously won five times, had been the deciding factor.

The Australian Open champion was delighted to come through the match, particularly after having no preparation.

“I leave the match very, very happy,” said Nadal.

“You have to be sincere with yourself, my preparation has not existed. You cannot expect great things at the beginning.

“All trainings have had some up-and-downs, it’s been a roller coaster. I have had better days, worse days.

Nadal said it was the nature of the injury that had made training difficult but that he was just happy to be getting time on court ahead of the French Open, where he will be going for a record extending 14th title.

“At the end of the day, the rib is a problem that limits your game a lot.

“There are injuries that allow you to do physical work, aerobic work. The rib has not allowed me to do anything … but I’m not worried. I just think that every minute that I am out there on the court is something positive,” said Nadal.

“I don’t have any pain in my rib. I had a little bit of pain at the beginning of the week, and then I went to get a MRI so they could check it, Friday or Saturday when I came here, and the image on the machine was good.”

Nadal will take on Belgium’s David Goffin in the next round of the Madrid Open.

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