Rafael Nadal exulted as he hasn't in a long time. On Sunday he won his first hard court title in more than two years at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open, in a thrilling three-set match (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) with Argentine, Juan-Martin Del Potro.
After he lost the first set, Nadal got the benefit of a momentum swing as the tired Del Potro lacked enough fuel in his tank to win.
Juan-Martin had won a hard fought three-set semi against world's #1 Novak Djokovic only 24 hours prior, after also vanquishing #3 seed Andy Murray in the quarters.
But, the real test was passed with flying colors.
Rafa Nadal has a dedicated team that plotted his return, hoping the rest and rehab of his sore knees would succeed.
They didn't know how the knees would respond playing for 10 days on the dreaded hard courts in Indian Wells, California.
To demonstrate just how little they believed he would make it to the late stages of the tournament, Nadal had committed to play this week at the Sony Ericsson Open at the Miami Masters 1000, which for top seeds begins mid to late week.
He withdrew from the tourney when it became clear he was going far in Indian Wells.
Rafa now holds 22 Master 1000 event titles, one more than Roger Federer and the BNP Paribas Open was the 600th win of his career. It is the third time he's won the event, tying him with Roger.
What's next? Checking on the knee's condition after the big win and prepping for the clay court season that starts soon, leading up to the French Open at the end of May.