Rafael Nadal delayed his return to official competition for a week but he is already in Cincinnati after missing the Masters 1,000 in Montreal due to a recurrence of his abdominal pain.
The Spaniard has not played an official match since he beat Taylor Fritz in the Wimbledon quarterfinals on July 6 with a seven-milometer tear in his abdomen and which later forced him to withdraw before playing the semifinal with Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal, who will debut this Wednesday in Cincinnati with the winner of the match between the “qualy” Lorenzo Musetti and Borna Coric (152 and who plays with a protected ranking), has the incentive of being able to return to world number one.
To find the last time he led the ATP lists, you have to go back to February 2, 2020. “It means a lot to me to have the option to be number one. It´s something I did not expect and it can happen again”, he explains.
The accounts are very clear: Rafa need to win the tittle and Daniil Medvedev does not advance to the quarterfinals. The Russian, a semifinalist in 2021, will debut with the Dutchman Botic Van de Zandschulp.
“My priority at this point in my career is to be healthy and play the tournaments I want to play. I will not play more than I think is good for my body. I am happy to have the option to return to number one”, said the Spaniard legend.
Nadal also opts in Ohio, a tournament he won in the 2013 edition, to match the 37 Masters 1,000 wins of the absent Novak Djokovic. The Serbian is still waiting for the approval of the United States health authorities to travel to the country, with his sights set on the US Open, despite not being vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Rafa is aware that he has to go from less to more because of his recent abdominal tear that has not allowed him to take off until just seven days ago. He started with 10 serves per session and increased the loads.