Rafael Nadal admitted Thursday that he has learned to enjoy suffering the pain of constantly battling the knee injuries which have threatened to derail his career.
The Spanish world number two moved comfortably into the US Open third round with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 win over Brazilian journeyman Rogerio Dutra Silva and has been the form player of 2013, claiming nine titles and building a 55-3 winning record. But the 27-year-old spent seven months on the sidelines until February this year because of a knee injury that had caused him to miss the Olympics, last year’s US Open as well as the Australian Open in January.
It was a familiar story of misery for Nadal, who was out of action for nine weeks in 2009 after he suffered his only career loss at the French Open and was forced to walk away from his Wimbledon title defense.
Nadal insists that the pain has only made him stronger. “When you are coming back after a hard times, after an injury, after moments that you are not well, so when you are having the chance to be back, is true to be back you need to work hard,” he said.
“You need to work with the right attitude every day. You need to be ready to suffer, to enjoy the suffering, and to be able to change the situation.” It’s a philosophy which has served him well as he has collected 12 Grand Slam titles and 59 tournament triumphs in total in between the injury heartaches.
“When you are in a low situation, you still feel the love for sport, the passion for sport,” he added. “After overcoming a tough situation, then you are ready to compete better than before. All my life I played with lot of passion. I love the sport.”