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Nadal draws inspiration from former Brazilian star Ronaldo in recovery from injured knee

  • 541f1d48cf26ca05290f6a7067005340.jpg

    Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates at the end of the Brazil Open ATP tournament final tennis match against Argentina's David Nalbandian in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Nadal won 6-2, 6-3. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)The Associated Press

  • 0a33f4c4cf2eca05290f6a70670043cd.jpg

    Spain's Rafael Nadal holds up the Brazil Open ATP tennis tournament trophy after defeating Argentina's David Nalbandian in the final match in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Nadal won 6-2, 6-3. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)The Associated Press

  • 3003f3b5cf3bca05290f6a706700466c.jpg

    Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates at the end of the Brazil Open ATP tournament final tennis match against Argentina's David Nalbandian in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Nadal won 6-2, 6-3. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)The Associated Press

  • de5a2116b116b605290f6a706700d813.jpg

    Spain's Rafael Nadal sends a ball to fans after defeating Argentina's Martin Alund in a Brazil Open ATP tournament semifinal tennis match in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)The Associated Press

Rafael Nadal is drawing inspiration from the Brazilian soccer great Ronaldo as he returns from an injury.

With Ronaldo watching, Nadal won the Brazil Open on Sunday for his first title after a seven-month layoff caused by treatment of his left knee. Nadal said Ronaldo is "an example" to be followed because of his determination to rebound from a series of career-threating knee injuries.

Despite winning again, the Spaniard is still bothered by his knee and said he is far from fully recovered, although he hopes the victory will mark a new beginning in his career.