Murray defeats injury-stricken Nadal in Rotterdam
Scotland’s Andy Murray beat the 2009 Australian Open winner Rafael Nadal at the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday. Nadal came into the finals suffering from a knee injury that aggravated in the second half of the match. Murray, however, was not injury-free either, having ankle problems. Despite Murray’s win, both players were disappointed in the game as injuries hampered the match and took from the entertainment value of it. Nadal has acknowledged the good game of his opponent and said his loss should not just be attributed to his injuries.
Both players went into yesterday's final with injury doubts. Murray has been suffering from an ankle problem – he has withdrawn from this week's tournament in Marseilles, where he was due to defend his title – while Nadal has had trouble with his right knee.
Yesterday's match will underline the fears of those who believe that Nadal may become increasingly troubled by knee problems. The world No 1 missed the end of last season, including Spain's historic Davis Cup victory over Argentina, with a knee injury and routinely plays with both legs strapped.
However, he refused to blame his injury for his second successive loss to Murray, who ended a run of five successive defeats to the Spaniard when he won their US Open semi-final last year.
''Murray just played better today,'' Nadal said. ''I tried but couldn't give anything more in the third set. I don't think that this injury will be a serious problem. For sure it is not the same as last year. It was an option not to finish the match, but that is not a good way to finish a final, not for me, not for Andy and not for the crowd.''
Murray is the first British winner of the Rotterdam tournament, Tim Henman having finished runner-up in 1999, 2000 and 2002. It was the 10th title of the Scot's career. He has won seven times in the last 13 months, including Masters Series tournaments in Cincinnati and Madrid.
Rafael Nadal has backed Andy Murray's bid to break into the world top three and possibly even replace him as No 1.
"Andy deserves this triumph and I congratulate him, he is playing very well this year and has already won two titles," Nadal said. "He could become the No 1, two or three in the world," Nadal, who won his opening five major meetings with Murray but has seen the tables turned recently, was quoted as saying by Marca.
"It was not my best day. I had problems but I don't want to talk too much about these. Andy played very well. These things happen in sport.
Nadal was scheduled to play in Dubai next week, but with the latest injury, there are rumours Nadal might not be able to compete in Dubai after all. He may instead focus on recovering to compete at the Davis Cup to be held in March.
A leg injury could force Rafael Nadal to skip the next ATP tournament in Dubai, but the top-ranked Spaniard said Monday he should be back in time to play for Spain next month in the first round of the Davis Cup.