Rafael Nadal can return to the top of the world rankings this week if results go his way. But the 33-year-old insists he is not concerned about his battle with Novak Djokovic for the No 1 spot.
Nadal got his Mexican Open campaign off to a perfect start as he defeated fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-2.
Across the globe Djokovic is hoping to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title and he breezed past Malek Jaziri dropping just three games.
If the Serbian fails to reach the semi-finals in the Middle East then he could fall to second in the rankings.
But for that to happen Nadal would have to win the title in Acapulco – a feat which was made much easier by Nick Kyrgios’ injury retirement last night.
However, Nadal claims he is not concerned about the world rankings as he is solely focussed on building form ahead of his preferred clay season.
“I have not thought about that for a long time,” Nadal said. “My goal cannot be number one.
“If the opportunity presents itself later, like last year, very happy about it.
“But my priorities are to be competitive as long as possible and try to extend my career as much as possible.
“For this, the calendar must be conservative, according to the needs of my body, my personal life and happiness.
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“I play where it makes me happy and I have the best options to enjoy and play well.”
Nadal has won all four of his matches against world No 54 Andujar but this was their first meeting since 2014.
“It was an awkward first round, as always when I have not competed for a while,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner said.
“And the temperature change here is drastic and you have to adapt to the conditions.
“I am happy with the victory, I did important things and others not so much, but it is an important step to have another opportunity tomorrow to look forward and improve.
“The weather conditions are heavy, because there is a lot of humidity. Difficult according to what long points.
“But I love this court, the ball takes the effects very well, I enjoy hitting the ball here. Then sometimes things go well, others don’t, but the feeling is always good.”
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