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Nadal unfazed by rankings race ahead of injury return

ANI | Updated: Feb 27, 2018 16:17 IST

Johannesburg [South Africa], Feb 27 (ANI):Spanish tennis maestro Rafael Nadal, who is all set to make a return at this week's Mexico Open after recovering from a thigh injury, has insisted that he is no longer concerned with the world rankings.

Last week, Nadal was dethroned by his long-time rival Roger Federer at the top of the ATP rankings, after the latter became the oldest player to claim the numero-uno spot en route to winning his 97th title at the Rotterdam Open title.

While a victory in Mexico would not be enough for Nadal to retain the pinnacle spot in the men's rankings, the current world number two could replace Federer at Indian Wells or Miami next month.

However, Nadal was no longer concerned about rankings as he said that `being number one, three or five hardly make any difference`.

"I've been in the top 2 for many years. Being No 1, 3, 5 doesn't make much difference," Sport24 quoted Nadal, as saying.

Insisting that he is not motivated by a desire to reclaim the position from his long-time rival, the 31-year-old said that feeling competitive and managing to win tournaments is what makes him happy.

"What makes me happy is feeling competitive and able to win tournaments. I won't fight to be back at No 1. I'll fight to have my best possible season. If that means later in the season I have a chance to be back at it, OK," Nadal said.

"I only fight to be happy and competitive in every tournament I play. That's my goal. We'll see where I'm at the end of season. I started the season at a good level," he added.

Nadal was forced to retire from season-opening Grand Slam--Australian Open-in the quarter-final clash against Croatia's Marin Cilic due to the injury.

However, Nadal will aim to make a winning return when he locks horns with his fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez in the opening round of the men's singles event at Mexico Open. (ANI)