SportNadal: "The time to fight for number one is...

Nadal: "The time to fight for number one is over for me"

Rafa Nadal debuted with victory at the Mexican Open in Acapulco against Denis Kudla (6-3 and 6-2). The Spanish tennis player assured at a press conference that one of his objectives is not to recover the number one ranking and even considers that it would be “a mistake” to pursue that goal. After the ordeal of recent months, the man from Manacor is enjoying his return to the track, a situation that he faces “day by day” and that could not go better: there are already eleven consecutive victories in this start of the season for the Balearic Islands, which remains undefeated.

Rafa Nadal has never paid much attention to numbers, he has limited himself to trying to improve every day and the records have ended up coming by themselves . After his triumphant start to the season with the Australian tour, from which he emerged champion of the Melbourne tournament and the Australian Open, Nadal has reappeared this week in Acapulco . There he got off to a good start after beating Denis Kudla (6-3 and 6-2) to advance to the round of 16 in a week in which number one is at stake with a pulse between Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic and at that Nadal claims to resign.

Questioned at a press conference about his chances of fighting for number one, Rafa Nadal is clear, it is a battle that is not in his plans. «The time of fighting for number 1 passed for me. Physical problems prevented me from ever finishing more than number 1. My goals are other and I’m not going to pursue it because it would be a mistake to pursue it. There are a lot of young guys who are prepared to play all the events they need to fight for it. I have to select more and I am not going to make a different calendar to look for more points, “said the Spaniard.

Nadal explained what finally led him to participate in Acapulco , after weeks ago he had raised doubts about his presence in the Mexican tournament of which he has already been champion three times. “I’m here because I feel like it and because I can. I like to compete, I’ve played quite a bit for many years. This is the reality. If I reduce the calendar more, I stop being a tennis player. We dedicate ourselves to playing tennis and we play where we like. In Acapulco I have historically had good feelings. My dream was to be here if my body recovered well from Australia,” he said.

In his debut in Mexico, Nadal had to face the high humidity of the environment and even bandaged his wrists to prevent sweat from reaching his hands and causing problems in gripping the racket. The man from Manacor explained his feelings. “It is not something new here. The humidity is very demanding and I am a player who sweats a lot. It is true that at night the conditions to play are good. The problem is that we have to go for the towel and you have to know how to choose when you go for the stopwatch, “he explained.

His path is paved with several ‘lucky losers’

There have been several casualties before the tournament – Carlos Alcaraz, Reilly Opelka and Maxime Cressy- , some of them in Nadal’s way, which has led the Spaniard to finally face several ‘lucky losers’, that is, those players who they fell in the previous phase but thanks to the drop in the final table of some tennis players, they have finally managed to enter to play the tournament. It was the condition of Denis Kudla and also that of his next rival, Sebastian Kozlov .

«There is a ranking and then there is the level of play that a player gives in the match. And in that a tennis ranking is not mathematical. One day the 100 can play like the 20. And the 10 can play at the level of 80. I, as a five, can play as number one or as number 20. A priori, the draw was the worst possible and for various reasons I don’t know. if you can talk about luck or not luck. Things happen like this. Dimitrov lost yesterday and it’s Kozlov’s turn,” Nadal analyzed.

In the round of 16, the Spaniard faces Kozlov, who starred in an anecdote with the Balearic. The 24-year-old American was training Monday afternoon with Nadal when he received the news that he was finally entering the draw and would face Grigor Dimitrov. The American had to stand him up and ended up beating the Bulgarian in three sets, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3. At the end of the meeting, he left a dedication to the Balearic in the camera. “Rafa, sorry for stopping today’s training,” he wrote.

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