World number two Rafael Nadal lost to Kevin Anderson at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Friday yet said he was “fulfilled” with his first match back after lower leg medical surgery. The Spaniard lost a tight three-setter 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and thusly pulled back from his third-put play-off match so as not to push his body too awfully soon.
“Intense match, three-set match, I didn’t play sets before here,” said Nadal who had not played since a knee issue constrained him to resign amid his US Open semi-last against Juan Martin del Potro in September.
“In the meantime, I get torments after quite a while without playing, so most likely tomorrow (Saturday) I won’t play. I will take several days off. The season just began for me, it was an objective to be here.”