Nadal hoping knee holds up at U.S. Open
NEW YORK - Ask Rafael Nadal how his famously troublesome left knee is feeling on the eve of the U.S. Open, and he'll balk a bit while formulating a response.
"I am . . . you know . . . I have to say that I am very well, because the results have been amazing since I came back," the 12-time major title winner said. "If I say something else, [it] will sound strange."
That's because when the year's last Grand Slam tournament begins today, none of the players setting foot on the blue hard courts of Flushing Meadows possesses as much momentum - or is in as fine form - as the No. 2-seeded Nadal. He's won his past 10 matches heading into the first round against the 97th-ranked Ryan Harrison of the United States.
Nadal won the Open in 2010 and was runner-up in '11 to Novak Djokovic, this year's top men's seed.
The biggest curiosity when it comes to Nadal these days is how his knees will hold up.
"I feel more comfortable now than 6 months ago, that's for sure," the 27 year-old Nadal said. "But I still have pain some days."
Another past U.S. Open champion on this afternoon's schedule is 2000-01 winner Venus Williams, a former No. 1 now ranked 60th who will be taking on recent Wimbledon semifinalist and 12th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.