By MIKE DICKSON and HUGO GYE
In pain: Rafa Nadal slid off his chair and on to the floor
His opponents will testify to his seemingly super-human fitness levels, but Rafael Nadal has shown that his body is fallible with a dramatic collapse during a press conference at the U.S.Open.
Very publicly and without warning, he went into seizure while answering questions in his post-match interview, and while there is no lasting damage the incident vividly showed the physical demands of professional sport.
Nadal was answering questions after his victory in the third round of the U.S. Open.
Concern: Nadal later returned to announce he felt cramp in his thigh
Suddenly, the 25-year-old clutched at his right leg and then put his hands to his head as his discomfort grew with the threat that he could go into full body spasm.
He slipped back into his leather chair and gently slid down, finally allowing himself to fall to the floor behind the desk.
The room was cleared as a physio and doctor were swiftly sought and, within minutes of being given the correct stretches and liquids he was walking around as if nothing had happened.
As the cramp takes hold Nadal heads for the floor
A similar thing happened to British No 1 Elena Baltacha's opponent Jamie Hampton on court last week and, again, while that looked dramatic it was quickly remedied.
A grinning Nadal, who went on to do his round of TV interviews, made light of the whole episode, saying: 'It was just unfortunate that it happened in the front and back of my leg at once
'It's just bad luck that it happened in public. It was really hot, I ran a lot and you sweat a lot in these conditions.'
Pleasure and pain: Rafa celebrates his victory against David Nalbandian before succumbing to the pain of cramp in the post-match interview
Andy Murray thought it was not that unusual an occurrence.
'I don't think it's odd that someone's cramping,' he said.
'I'm sure a lot of people were surprised because it was him that was cramping, but Rafa's human. I think some people forget that sometimes.
'I think around midday loads of people were struggling with the heat. He very rarely plays that early.
'So if you mess up like your eating or get it wrong or you're drinking wrong before the match - and from the parts of the match I saw today he did quite a lot of running, as well - you can get yourself in a bad way in these conditions.
'I'm glad he's all right, but I'm sure it was a bit of a shock for him.'
Andy Roddick also played down Nadal's drama, saying: 'Not to put a dampener on the story, which I know you guys think is really big, but people cramp after matches when you're cold. It's just something that happens.
'It's just unfortunate it happened in front of you all. Every single player in there has had that happen before. Every single one.
'What we do, we run around, run miles and miles and miles and miles on the tennis court in nasty weather. You throw nerves in there, I mean, it happens. As long as it doesn't happen during a match, you're fine.
'I heard about it. They were telling me it was like this whole thing and people were surrounding him. I started laughing. I saw Rafa and he was laughing about it later on.'
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