Toronto, Canada – By Kevin Fylan
BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal thanked his team mates for giving him the chance to end a troubled season on a sweet note after Spain sealed victory in the Davis Cup final against Czech Republic on Saturday.
Nadal was devastated to miss last season's final, when Spain pulled off a heroic win in Argentina, and injury kept him out of this season's quarter-finals and semi-finals.
He returned to beat Tomas Berdych in straight sets for the first point of the final, and with David Ferrer making it 2-0 Spain sealed the win on Saturday when Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco beat Radek Stepanek and Berdych 7-6 7-5 6-2.
"Last year was so disappointing for me personally not to be there but for the team it was better, considering the way they played without me," Nadal told a news conference.
"This year it was just a pleasure to be back on the team, and playing the final at home is always special.
"So I just want to say thanks very much to the team for making it through the quarters and semis. They gave me the opportunity to be here."
Spain's fourth Davis Cup triumph means Nadal's season has been bookended rather nicely.
He started the year winning the Australian Open before problems with his knees contributed to his four-year reign at the French Open coming to an end and prevented him playing at Wimbledon.
He did reach the semi-finals at the U.S. Open but failed to win so much as a set at the ATP World Tour Finals in London and was unable to reclaim the world number one ranking he started the year with.
Despite those poor results, he has felt his fitness and form coming back together this week and he said he was ending the year in good shape.
"I feel great now," he said. "I had a very good practice week coming into the final and the feeling was very good.
"I don't have any problems any more."
(Editing by Sonia Oxley)