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Nadal: "I Tried Everything"

Melbourne, Australia

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal made an emotional speech at the end of the match.

One thing Rafael Nadal will never lack is heart. Despite feeling his back initially trouble him in the warm-up and build into a major issue by the start of the second set, the Spaniard continued to give it his all against Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open final. 

And if there is one thing Nadal wouldn’t blame the defeat on, it was his back. Instead, he only had credit for Wawrinka, who found his composure in the fourth set to claim the victory and win his first major title. The Swiss had never even won a set in 12 previous meetings against Nadal. 

“At the beginning of the second was the key moment that I felt it, during a serve in a bad movement, it was very stiff, very bad,” lamented Nadal. “This is not the moment to talk about that. It is the moment to congratulate Stan. He's playing unbelievable. He really deserved to win that title. I am very happy for him. 

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“The last thing that I wanted to do was retire. No, I hate to do that, especially in a final. At the same time, it is tough to see yourself [in that situation]. During the whole year you are working for a moment like this, it arrives and you feel that you are not able to play at your best. 

“I tried hard until the end, trying to finish the match as well as I could for the crowd, for the opponent, for myself. I tried everything until the last moment, but it was impossible to win this way. My opponent was too good. I am proud about my attitude today on court. When somebody's giving everything every day on court, nobody can say anything. I go home with the [knowledge] that I did as much as I could.”

As well as heart, Nadal also has perspective. In bucket loads. He may have endured some of the most painful moments of his career on Rod Laver Arena, having to retire from his 2010 quarter-final against Andy Murray and suffering injury a year later against David Ferrer, but it has also been a stage for some of his greatest triumphs, not least against Roger Federer in the 2009 final. 

As he remarked on court, it has been an emotional tournament all round for Nadal, who, 12 months ago, was still weeks away from a comeback to the ATP World Tour after being sidelined for seven months with a left knee injury. Since his return, the Mallorcan has enjoyed one of the best spells of his career, returning to World No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, winning two more majors at Roland Garros and the US Open, and claiming five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies in 2013.

“I'm obviously disappointed and very sad about what happened. But that's life, that's sport,” said Nadal. “I really had a lot of great moments in my career. This is a tough one. I just accept it and try to keep working hard for what's coming. 

“It’s true that I was not very lucky. It’s a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. But that's part of life. That's part of sport. It is not the end of the world. It’s just another tough moment.  

“I feel very lucky that I was able to enjoy many more happy moments than tough moments. In the end, people remember the victories, they don't remember the losses. For me, it is a tough one tonight because I felt that I was ready to compete well. But in a few weeks that's going to pass.  

“I feel very lucky to be able to work in something that I really love to do. Not everybody's able to do that. I just had a bad day, tough day. But a lot of people in the world have a lot of very tough days. I am not this kind of person, so I feel very lucky.”

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