Barcelona title a sign Nadal back on track
Spaniard nets eighth crown at Real Club de Tenis as he turns his focus on French Open
Associated Press in Barcelona
All those months of hard work and rehab are starting to pay off for Rafael Nadal. Yet he is still not sure what this means for the French Open.
Nadal won the Barcelona Open for the eighth time on Sunday, defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 for his fourth title of the year.
And with the French Open about a month down the road, this latest victory is a promising sign that Nadal is getting back to full strength after a knee injury sidelined him last summer. "I am very happy," he said. "It has been an important week for me to win here again and a great source of joy after everything I have been through."
He has made six straight finals since returning from the injury. This title, the 54th of his career, comes one week after his eight-year reign at Monte Carlo ended with a loss to top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
"With just these six tournaments since I have returned, I have managed to assure my place in the top 10 one more year, which is positive," said Nadal, who is ranked No5.
"These months of work have been worth it."
Even so, Nadal was hesitant to say how this might carry over to Roland Garros, where he has won a record seven times.
"This win doesn't mean much," he said. "Just that I am in good form since I have come back. The results are fantastic. I would never have imagined them and they are better than I had dreamed. I am back playing at a high level."
Nadal won the Barcelona Open from 2005 to 2009, but did not play in 2010 because of a knee injury. He has won every year since. He has won 39 straight matches on the red clay at Real Club de Tenis.