Monday, August 7, 2017

Nadal eyes number one in Montreal

Nadal eyes number one in Montreal

Rafael Nadal says he'll focus on the foes in front of him at the ATP Montreal Masters this week, and not on his chance to return to number one in the world.

A semi-final run in Montreal would see the Spaniard supplant Andy Murray atop the rankings.

"I don't even think about that now," Nadal said of number one. "I'm trying to have the right preparation now and that's it.

"I'm going to keep trying to play the way I did in the first part of the season, so if I'm able to make that happen, I hope to have a chance to do well."

“Early in my career there was Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, a lot of good players. Roger Federer was there, and Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray came a little later. That was a long time ago already, too,” joked Nadal. “The only difference is that we’re older. In the past year-and-a-half, there’s been a good new generation that increased the number of top players, but that’s sport in general.”

The top seed is expected to open his campaign for a fourth Canadian title on Wednesday with a second-round meeting against either Croatian Borna Coric or Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny.

Murray is among the notable absentees from this key US Open tuneup. Novak Djokovic is taking off the rest of the season to rehab an elbow injury and US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has ended his 2017 campaign with a knee problem.

Murray is trying to recover from a nagging hip injury in time for the final Grand Slam of the season that starts later this month in Flushing Meadows.

Rafa, who i 31 years old, believes that the reason he and 35-year-old Federer are continuing to rack up titles this year is not only because they're fully healthy again, but also that their passion for the sport has never wavered.

“We love what we are doing. We have the passion to compete and play tennis, so that helps us to be professional and do the right things on and off the court. If you are healthy, it’s much easier to keep playing longer,” said Nadal. “The mental aspect isn’t difficult if you love the sport. We’re privileged to work for a living at one of our hobbies.”