Tennis-Spanish team sprit provides perfect tonic for Nadal

BARCELONA Sun Dec 6, 2009 5:32pm GMT

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BARCELONA Dec 6 (Reuters) - Spain's Davis Cup final win over Czech Republic provided Rafael Nadal with the group therapy he craved at the end of a testing year.

"This was the end to the season I needed," Nadal said at a news conference after Spain completed a 5-0 whitewash of the Czechs to win the Davis Cup for the fourth time since 2000.

"Winning again is a great feeling and a major achievement, particularly considering the problems I've had.

"Being able to enjoy this with my team mates and receive all the support from the crowd has been terrific over the three days."

Victory marked a perfect end to a season that started in equally glorious fashion for Nadal, with his triumph at the Australian Open.

However, his season was spoiled by a knee injury which forced him to miss the defence of his Wimbledon crown and had commentators wondering if his career had already peaked.

Back on clay, there were signs in his win over Tomas Berdych on Friday that his confidence was returning. The winners were fizzing off his racket once again and he looked sharp in a 6-3 6-4 success against Jan Hajek on Sunday.

The six-times grand slam winner revelled in the warm support of the crowd at the Palau Sant Jordi and he even gave the silver salad bowl trophy a triumphant bite during the presentation.

"There have been great moments and not so great moments but I can't say this has been a bad year," the 23-year-old said.

"I won my first grand slam tournament on hardcourt, three Masters and Barcelona. At the start of the year I would have accepted that.

"Now we have the Davis Cup and we should keep in mind that it's going to be very difficult to win again.

"I've always said you have to savour the moment when you win things. One day you can just stop winning so you have to make the most of it. It's been a while since I won a trophy."

Nadal will take no more than a couple of days off before beginning his preparations for next season.

He said there were no plans to do anything differently this year and pledged to continue fighting to get back to peak form.

"You have to accept that in life there are always problems and work to overcome them," he said.

"It's what I've always done and I'm going to carry on."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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