Rafael Nadal to play Acapulco, but has eyes set on the clay season

by: Kamakshi Tandon | February 04, 2018

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Rafael Nadal. (AP Photo)

Rafael Nadal still plans to play at Acapulco as scheduled, but the Spaniard is also emphasizing that his priority is the clay-court season.

Nadal, who retired in the fourth round of the Australian Open with an upper leg muscle injury, will begin training again within a week. Speaking at a sponsor appearance in Spain, he confirmed that he should be fit again for his next stretch of events at Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami, starting in around three weeks.

But the No. 1 also has an eye on the clay-court season that follows those events.

"The injury in Australia, it was a shame, an accident," Nadal said in an interview on stage. "Because things were good, and I was playing good tennis. Now I just think about recuperating, because from my perspective the most important thing is to be good for the period between Monte Carlo and Roland Garros."

Before that, he will first be under some rankings pressure at Acapulco, where he can drop to No. 2 if he does not reach at least the semifinals. The current No. 2, Roger Federer, could also move in front if he plays and wins the ATP event in Dubai the same week. Nadal would still find himself in a good position to move back to No. 1 in the next few weeks.

While saying he was motivated to stay on top, Nadal insisted he would not do ''something excessive" to keep the No. 1 ranking.

"Logically, the clay season is central, and my big goal is to come back to being the best player in the world on clay," said the reigning and 10-time French Open champion.

Nadal is the defending finalist in Acapulco.

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