Rafael Nadal (Bio) is potentially six days away from regaining the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings, a spot he has longed for since July, 2011.
The 27-year-old knows he is close to his goal yet refuses to allow the thought to disturb his focus on the tournament and his performances throughout the upcoming week.
“I don’t know what I need to do to become No. 1, but the only way I can do it is playing my best,” said Nadal. “[It] will be very tough to become No. 1. But if I am still playing the same way that I have the past couple of months, I hope to have my chance here or in the next few weeks.”
Nadal has had an incredible hard court season, culminating in his second Grand Slam title of the year when he defeated Novak Djokovic (Bio) in Flushing Meadows. He has compiled a 61-3 record this season and accumulated a record 5 Masters 1000 titles this season. With a current lead in the “Race to London” ranking table, Nadal only has to reach the final at Beijing to secure the No.1 ranking. Djokovic, the defending champion, needs to retain his 500 points to remain competitive with Nadal in the race to the World Tour Finals.
“This year, even if I started a little bit later [in early February], I am completing a great season. I’m playing one of the best seasons of my career. That’s why I’m in a good position in the Rankings and I had great successes in the important tournaments.”
The Spanish No. 1 believes his recent improvements on hard courts is due to his new-found aggression on court.
“The serve helps a little bit. It’s true that I served well in important points. [But] what makes a difference is [that] I’m playing more aggressively, with very good rhythm in my legs and I am able to play with the right concentration most of the time. That makes me solid on my serve.”
Djokovic, who finished the last two year in the top spot in the ATP rankings, is aware that Nadal is closing in on him yet believes that “As long as there is a chance, I will fight for that top spot.”
“But, again, with no doubt [Nadal] has had the best results this year.” Djokovic continued on the matter. “This year, he’s been the best player in the world. I have been having ups and downs throughout this year. But still it was quite a good season for me. But it’s not over.”