Rafael Nadal, fresh off winning his second U.S. Open title, was back on court here Wednesday evening in preparation for Spain's Davis Cup tie this weekend against Ukraine.
The world No. 2 landed in Madrid at around 7:00 a.m. and went directly to a hotel, where he had breakfast and then received treatment for three hours from Spanish Tennis Federation physiotherapist Julian Casanova.
Nadal then slept for nearly three hours, had lunch and finally got in a practice session at Manolo Santana Stadium, where Spain and Ukraine will square off with a spot in next year's Davis Cup World Group at stake.
Nadal trained for just over an hour with countryman Pablo Carreño, a 22-year-old who has made a big jump in the rankings from No. 654 at the start of the season to No. 67 this week.
"I've changed time zones and after two weeks playing at a high level of intensity the important thing was to keep moving my body a little and get the right feel," Nadal said after the practice session.
"The captain will decide, I won't decide that," Nadal said about the possibility of competing in Friday's singles. "If I say something, I'll put the captain in an awkward spot."
The teams will have their traditional pre-event dinner on Wednesday night, after which Spanish captain Alex Corretja and Ukrainian skipper Mikhail Filima will unveil the players they have selected to compete in Friday's singles, Saturday's doubles and Sunday's reverse singles.
"After winning three tournaments in a row (the Montreal Masters, Cincinnati Masters and the U.S. Open) I couldn't feel any better. It's very little time, coming off such a huge effort, but I'm going to do everything I can to help the team," Nadal said.
"I'm here and that means I'm going to try to play," he added.
Assuming Nadal takes the court, it will be his first match on clay since winning his eighth French Open title in early June.
He followed up that result with a disappointing first-round defeat at Wimbledon, but got his season back on track with an undefeated run in the North American hard-court season. EFE