He jiggled his left leg, unable to sit still on the sideline. He even bopped around during the prematch coin toss. When it was finally time to start warming up, he zigzagged to the baseline in a full sprint.
And when it ended, Nadal marked his victory with a celebratory somersault. That endless energy, and so many superb strokes, allowed the No. 2-seeded Nadal to outclass No. 12 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 Sunday for his second Wimbledon trophy and eighth Grand Slam title overall.
A year ago, sidelined by painful knees, 2008 Wimbledon champion Nadal was planted on his couch at home in Spain and watched the final on television, only the fifth man in the history of a tournament that dates to 1877 who couldn't defend his championship because of injury.
"It was probably one of the toughest moments in my career," Nadal said. "To return and win again here represents such personal satisfaction -- everything I did to be here, all the work I put in to get back."
What a journey, too. His 31-match French Open winning streak ended, he missed Wimbledon, went more than eight months without a title anywhere, lost the No. 1 ranking and, hardest of all, dealt with his parents' separation.
"Not easy," he said.
As of Sunday, Nadal is 47-5 with five titles in 2010, both tour highs. He won 24 matches in a row in one stretch, regained his Roland Garros title and the No. 1 ranking last month, and managed the tricky transition from clay to grass by winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year for the second time.
There is no doubt he's the best player in tennis today.
"He's showing in the last few months," Berdych said, "that he's really the champion."
Nadal won his 14th match in a row at Wimbledon, essentially, because he saved all four break points he faced and broke the big-serving Berdych four times. Give Nadal the tiniest opening, and the left-hander barges through. It's no accident he has a silhouette of a bull's horns stamped on the back of his left sneaker's heel.
"The biggest difference between us," Berdych said, "was that when he (got) a chance, he just took it."