Rafael Nadal puts fitness at the top of his Cincinnati priority list
Rafael Nadal is keeping expectations high while preparing for the Cincinnati Masters. The world number three, who gave a walkover with Nick Kyrgios in his Wimbledon semi-final with an abdominal injury, is seeded second only to Daniil Medvedev in the American Midwest in the combined ATP and WTA tournaments. With Novak Djokovic missing due to refusal of a Covid-19 vaccination, the 36-year-old Spaniard has a less dangerous opponent to deal with in the US Open tuneup.
Nadal could return to the top rankings for the first time since January 2020, which would mean taking the top seed at the US Open, starting August 29.
This could happen if he wins the Cincinnati title and Medvedev fails to reach the quarterfinals.
But for Nadal, it’s about staying healthy, letting the consequences fall where they can.
“Number one is good but staying healthy is the most important thing,” Nadal said on Sunday. “I don’t aim to return to number one.
“If it’s because I play so well, it means a lot to get a chance.”
The 2013 Cincinnati champion said his goal would be to “stay healthy and finish the season where I want to play.”
“I won’t play more than I think will work for my body.”
The Spaniard said that with a child on the way, his play schedule may need to be moderated.
“I am happy to be in this position – if for some reason I return to number one, I will be very happy.”
Nadal, who has put in a brutal training schedule since arriving in Cincinnati in the middle of the week, said his injury still hurts.
But he said obstacles are part of any comeback.
“You can’t expect to play at an amazing level right away. You have to be humble and use the tools you have to win the first match,” Nadal said.
“Once you win something, things change. I don’t always have some good feelings on the court. You have to accept that things will be difficult at first.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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