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Nadal ready to compete again : excitement rising in Washington
As Rafael Nadal prepares to open his North American hard court swing at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., the 20-time major champion tips Novak Djokovic as the US Open favourite.
Rafael Nadal is getting ready to dive into the US Open Series at the Citi Open this week, where the Spaniard is slated to face either Jack Sock or Yoshihito Nishioka in second-round action (after a bye).
Citi Open: Men’s Singles Draw
Before Nadal takes the the match court, he held his pre-tournament press conference in Washington, D.C. and gave his thoughts on several topics, including Novak Djokovic’s quest to become the first male player to win the calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
Nadal on Djokovic’s US Open hopes: “When you win three, you can win four”
Nadal hopes to get himself in shape for a run at a fifth US Open title, but he understands that his quest will be overshadowed by Djokovic’s, as the World No 1 aims to become the first male player to win the coveted calendar Slam in 52 years.
Nadal thinks that Djokovic has a good shot of making it on his best surface.
“Well, he already won three,” the 20-time major champion said. “So when you win three, you can win four, without a doubt, no? He did 75 percent of the way. He going to be playing on hard court, probably his best surface. So why not? Of course is something difficult. Going to be another guys that wanted to achieve the last slam of the season. But, yeah, of course he’s one of the clear favourites, probably the most favourite player to achieve that.
“Yeah, what he achieved this year is something, well, amazing. Let’s see. I don’t know. I definitely believe that he can do it, without a doubt.”
Nadal on missing Wimbledon and Olympics: My body decided
Nadal has been out of action since falling to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at Roland-Garros. And there was nothing he could have done to have it any other way, he said, adding that a foot issue kept him off the courts for 20 days.
“My body decided for myself, of course,” the 35-year-old said. “If I had to choose, I will never miss Wimbledon and Olympics. But I was not able to compete in these events after the clay court season. I had some issues in my foot, so I had to stop playing tennis for around 20 days, not touching a racquet for 20 days. I started slowly, practicing half an hour, then little bit more. So I went through the whole process.”
The Spaniard says he was practicing well at home before he left for the United States, and now his main goal is to have more competitive practice time with top-level talent.
Of course, I have been practicing well at home, but I need some competitive practices, no?
“I still have couple of more days practicing here with the guys,” he said. “That’s what I need today, play some sets, practice with the professional-level guys. That going to help me, no? I don’t know how long it will take to recover everything, but the only thing I can say is I’m here just to try my best in every single moment. I hope the last couple of days of practices keep helping me to be competitive enough for the first round.”