how Nadal can become world number 1 again before the US Open

Roland-Garros winner Rafael Nadal is back on the courts this week in Cincinnati. After more than a month without playing, the Spaniard still has the opportunity to regain his place as world number one before the last Grand Slam tournament of the season.

His broad smile exhibited at a press conference speaks volumes about his satisfaction at being able to be on his feet again. Absent from the courts since July 8 and his package before facing Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals of Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal will resume competition in Cincinnati, during the Masters 1000, this Wednesday. It will be defeated to the winner of the match between Borna Coric and Lorenzo Musetti.

Recovered from his abdominal tear, the Spaniard hopes to get back on track before the last Grand Slam tournament of the season, the US Open, which begins in less than two weeks (August 29 to September 11). Especially since he will have a very specific objective during this week in Ohio.

Nadal back at the top of the ATP rankings before the US Open?

In 2008, it was in Cincinnati that the Majorcan became, for the first time in his career, world number one. 14 years later on the same courts, he has the opportunity to become one again. Because the throne of world tennis, currently occupied by Daniil Medvedev, is on borrowed time. Because if Nadal wins the tournament – which he has already won once, in 2013 – and the Russian does not reach the quarter-final stage, the winner of the last Roland-Garros tournament will return to the top of the hierarchy on Monday next.

Even if, he assured it in a press conference, that “was not a goal”: “I don’t play for that. If it happens because I play very well in each tournament I participate in, great, Of course. It’s an opportunity that I probably never could have imagined happening again. But I won’t be playing more than I think my body can handle.”

It may almost seem anecdotal for the record holder of the number of Grand Slam titles (22) but, nevertheless, it is starting to be a long time since “Rafa” has occupied the place of world number one: we have to go back to January 2020 to see the Spaniard top of the ATP ‘rankings’. An expectation to put into perspective, the Covid-19 epidemic having frozen the ATP and WTA rankings for many months.

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