This early Rafael Nadal is already giving up the “best player” throne to tennis rival Novak Djokovic.
On Wednesday, the Spaniard who is currently ranked no. 2 in the world rankings admitted that “he is not favorite to be World No. 1 by the end of the tennis season this year” quoted by a report from Tennis Earth.
"I think that I am not the favorite in this case to be number one at the end of the year," said Nadal to the press after playing in a soccer friendly match.
Nadal’s lack of confidence can be owed to the fact that the Serbian has taken over the top spot after the Spaniard’s disappointing end in the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.
ATP Rankings – Current Top 5 (As of July 30, 2014) 1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) – 13,130 points 2. Rafael Nadal (Spain) – 12,670 points 3. Roger Federer (Switzerland) – 6,070 points 4. Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) – 5,770 points 5. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) – 4,410 points
At the All-England Club, Nadal was stunned by teener Nick Kyrgios in the Round of 16 in four sets, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 but like last season the performance in the latter half of the season could very well decide who ends up as number on in the tennis world rankings.
The Spaniard was crowned the world’s best in 2013 and also won the ATP World Tour Comeback Player of the Year award owing to 10 titles that year including the 2013 French Open and the 2013 US Open, where he convincingly beat Djokovic, 6–2, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1.
“It takes months or a year of study for trying to fight to be number one. So I’ll do it until the end of my career. When I'm number one I do not wake up happier than when I'm number two, however if it makes me happy to see that I am healthy."
Meanwhile, another reason why Nadal is not too confident is his history of injuries. He suffered another in a training session as he hurt his wrist and is now in danger of missing the 2014 US Open. The Spaniard has pulled out of the warm-up tournaments in Cincinnati and Toronto and is expected to be out for at least two weeks.
“Disappointed for not being able to compete in Toronto and Cincinnati due to a wrist injury on my right hand. Sad also for the fans in North America who always support me. I expect to be well for the US Open. Thanks all for your support,” posted Nadal in his official Facebook account.
Rafael Nadal’s mental toughness has taken a hit and now he’s physically hurt, this could pave way for an easy number one ranking for rival Novak Djokovic.