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NEW YORK (AP) — A little after 3 p.m. Tuesday, Rafael Nadal settled in at a table in the U.S. Open players' cafeteria and sprinkled some salt on his lunch of salmon and rice.
The day's work for the defending champion was complete, consisting of a 1½-hour practice session indoors at Flushing Meadows instead of his scheduled fourth-round match outdoors, because steady rain washed out all of Tuesday's action.
Sitting a couple of seats away, Toni Nadal — Rafael's uncle and coach — laughed at a question about the scary scene during a post-match news conference over the weekend, when his nephew grimaced and called for a trainer's help for right leg cramps, then slid out of his chair to the floor.
"He's perfectly healthy, with no problems at all," Uncle Toni said. "He's good. Practice was normal yesterday, and normal today."
During last year's run to his first U.S. Open title, which completed a career Grand Slam, Nadal served superbly — "His best serving in one tournament," Uncle Toni called it — regularly hitting aces at more than 130 mph and getting broken a total of five times in seven matches.
This year, Nadal already was broken nine times in three matches, and six in his opener alone.
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