Rafael Nadal cautious but excited ahead of ATP Tour return

Rafael Nadal in action

Rafael Nadal says that he is excited to play tennis again ahead of his return to ATP Tour action at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Nadal hopes to continue to get good results in a season that has brought great success but also tremendous tribulation with multiple injury worries.

The Spaniard could reclaim the World No 1 ranking if he goes all the way in Ohio but he says he has to be careful with his abdominal injury.

Nadal insists that life is good despite his problems, and beemed as he reflected on the impending arrival of his first child.

“The abdominal is the place that is dangerous because in every service you put a lot of effort there, so I need to take things a little bit easier and do the highs the proper way,” Nadal explained.

“Because at the end of the day it’s more than one month without serving and without playing any set.

“So I need to analyze after every day that the abdominal is still OK with no feeling because, as I said, it’s a dangerous thing.

“But things are going well for the moment, so hopefully, I can manage to be ready, and I’m excited.

“I want to play tennis again on the tour.

“I’m having a good season and I’m going to have a baby too so I’m enjoying.

“I want to enjoy this week in Cincinatti.”

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Nadal battled through a recurrence of Muller-Weiss disease earlier this season to add a second Australian Open and 14th Roland Garros title to his Major collection.

At Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic pulled one back in the all-time Grand Slam race, but at Flushing Meadows, Nadal will hope to win the US Open for the fifth time and become a 23-time Slam-winner.

He isn’t getting ahead of himself though and is savouring a return to Mason.

“One year ago, I didn’t know if I would ever have a chance to come back to Cincinnati,” said Nadal.

“Here I am. I’m excited for that.”

Nadal isn’t sure what ‘weapons’ will be available to him when he hits the court but hopes to find a good level and first get beyond Borna Ćorić.

“You need to know that when you come back after a while things aren’t going to be better,” Nadal said.

“You can’t expect to play at an amazing level from the beginning.

“Knowing that, accepting that, you have to be able to be humble enough to fight with the tools that you have at the beginning to win the first match. In the Masters 1000s, the opponents are very demanding from the beginning.”

Nadal’s Round of 32 opponent Ćorić has had his own injury worries this season but looked close to his best as he upset Lorenzo Musetti to book his date with the Spaniard.

Tennis fans in the UK hoping to take in Nadal’s opening match in Cincinatti will have to wait until just after midnight on Thursday morning, when the clash is set to take place at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.