Nadal: I’ll fight my way back to the top

BEIJING—A defiant Rafael Nadal warned Sunday his career was not over yet as he pledged that “sooner or later” he will be back at the very top of men’s tennis.

A tough 2015 has left many wondering whether the only thing left for the 29-year-old was retirement, but Nadal said he was prepared to scrap his way back into contention.

Nadal has cut a doleful figure for much of the season but the fire was back in his eyes and the old snarl was on his face as he described how his mental composure was returning.

“In the US Open I did better, even if I lost the match (to Fabio Fognini in the round of 32). Tough loss, but I did better. Let’s try here to do better again,” Nadal, wearing a matador logo on his cap and T-shirt, said at the China Open.

“I think I am working well. I am very motivated to go for that challenge that brings me the chance to overcome a tough situation for me. I love that feeling, and I am going to fight to make that happen.”

Nadal has not got further than the quarter-finals in Grand Slams this year, even on his beloved Roland Garros clay, and he has slipped to seventh in the world from second a year ago.

But the Spaniard has confounded expectations more than once by rebounding from seemingly insurmountable injury problems to reclaim his place at tennis’s top table.

Now he said the old confidence was coming back and he pledged to use his final tournaments of the year as preparation for next season, which includes the Australian Open in January.

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