"My physical problems prevented me from finishing a few more years as World No. 1" - Rafael Nadal

Nadal was grounded when asked about his year-end World No. 1 chances this season
Nadal was grounded when asked about his year-end World No. 1 chances this season

Rafael Nadal made his return to Latin America in excellent fashion earlier on Tuesday, beating Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the second round in Acapulco. With his win, Nadal extended his winning streak to 11 matches.

In his post-match interview, Nadal was asked whether he felt he could end the 2022 season as World No. 1. The 21-time Major winner replied in typical fashion, insisting that he no longer pines for the year-end No. 1 spot.

The Spaniard has finished the season as World No. 1 five times, with 209 weeks spent as World No. 1. He pointed out that his physical problems over the years prevented him from accomplishing the feat more often.

“That time is over for me, unfortunately. My physical problems prevented me from finishing a few more years as number one," Nadal said. "I say this from the humility of one who never knows what can happen, but that's how I felt for a few years when my physique didn't allow it."

He further elaborated on the sentiment by asserting that he has different goals nowadays, while also seemingly talking up his rivals like Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"Today my goals are other, I'm not going to pursue them because it would be a mistake. Then, if that situation comes up with whatever I can play with, I'll be incredibly happy," he added. "Right now there are a lot of youngsters who are prepared to play all the events they need to fight for it; I have to select much more. I'm not going to make a different calendar to get more points.”

Nadal gave an even more grounded answer to whether he felt he was the favorite to win the tournament. He claimed that he "never considered himself a favorite for anything," before stating that he tries to remain grounded before each match and take each day as it comes.

“Normally I never considered myself a favorite for anything," the Spaniard said. "I always tried to make my way respecting each rival as much as possible. Today I played against Kudla and that was my goal, tomorrow I will play against Kozlov and that will be my goal."
"From there I have to build things day by day, be better in this event in each round that passes. I am aware that this is one of the toughest ATP 500 events of the year, so I will try to do my best to give myself the chance to achieve it.”

"I like to compete" - Rafael Nadal on his decision to play in Acapulco

The Spaniard at the 2022 Mexican Open
The Spaniard at the 2022 Mexican Open

In the interview, Nadal revealed the reason behind his decision to play the 500-level tournament in Acapulco, saying that he enjoyed the prospect of competing. He also pointed out that people forget how little he has played in the last few years.

“I come because I feel like coming and because I can. I like to compete, another thing is that my physique during my career has not allowed me to do so on certain occasions. People may have the memory of the beginning of my career, where I played many tournaments, but for several years I have played quite little," the Spaniard concluded.

The Spaniard, meanwhile, will face Stefan Kozlov in his next match. Kozlov lost in the qualifying rounds but was given a lucky-loser spot at the last moment. He has since made good use of it by beating Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Quick Links