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New dad Rafael Nadal said he found it “tough to leave home” for Paris Masters
The world No. 2 has had to take a “different approach” in his first tournament since the birth of his son with wife Maria Perello.
Published Nov 01, 2022
WATCH: Rafael Nadal's pre-tournament press conference before the Rolex Paris Masters.
His first match as a new dad is still on the horizon at the Rolex Paris Masters, but Rafael Nadal says he’s finding it “tough” to be so far from home and away from his family.
The world No. 2 is back in action this week for the first time since the US Open, with only a one-day stint as a retiring Roger Federer’s Laver Cup doubles partner in between.
But while Nadal is happy to be injury-free and back on court at the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season, he said he’s had to take a “different approach” in his first tournament since the birth of his son with wife Maria Perello.
“Different approach [than] usual,” Nadal told press, adding, “[It] always have been tough to leave home, honestly.
“It's quite interesting how, even after two or three weeks, leaving your son at home and not be able to see him… even with this, after only three weeks knowing him, you start missing him."
“Yeah, new experience,” he continued. “All the changes are difficult in this life, and you need to adapt to it.
“But at the same time, it’s true that we are lucky today that with technology, everything, we can do video calls any time that you want, so [that] always helps.”
When asked to describe what his interactions have been like with baby Rafael during the Spanish-language portion of press, the 36-year-old’s comedic timing kicked in:
“With him... well, he still doesn't talk much, almost,” he joked. “After three weeks it’s difficult to interact with a baby.”
With the Nitto ATP Finals less than two weeks away in Turin, Nadal is aiming to get plenty of matches and reps under his belt in the last push of the season in Paris-Bercy. The Spaniard has never won the ATP’s season ending event, a notable omission from his glittering trophy cabinet.
One thing is clear—the world No. 2 is not going to fight Carlos Alcaraz for the top spot in the ATP Rankings, with just under 1,000 points separating Nadal (5,820) from his 19-year-old countryman (6,650).
“I don't fight to be No. 1," Nadal said. "Something that I said since long time ago: I will not fight anymore to be No. 1. I did in the past.
“I achieved that goal a couple of times in my career that I have been very, very happy and proud about. But I am in a moment of my tennis career that I don't fight to be No. 1."
After receiving a bye, No. 2 seed Nadal will kick off his Paris campaign on Wednesday against Tommy Paul in the second round.