Rafael Nadal will be back on the pitch tonight in Washington in front of host Jack Sock. There is great curiosity about the conditions of the Spanish phenomenon, who has not played an official match since the semifinal of Roland Garros about two months ago.
The former world number 1 has won all five precedents with the American, but will have to shake off some rust in the first rounds. The season of the 35-year-old from Manacor was quite fluctuating, as well as seasoned with frequent stops linked to the need to preserve his physique.
Having failed to win his 21st Major in Paris, Rafa has targeted the US Open, a tournament that has seen him triumph four times (the last in 2019 in the final over Daniil Medvedev). The Iberian veteran has repeatedly reiterated that he wants to enjoy this last part of his career as much as possible, without having to chase further records.
During an interview with CBS News, Nadal confided that he was at peace with himself.
Nadal is the top seed at the Citi Open
Rafael Nadal highlighted that crowds are an integral part of sport and help older players such as himself by boosting their morale on court.
"Of course, I think that sport, in general, needs a crowd," Nadal said. "I think it's tougher for the more older players than for the younger players because the younger players, they have the energy for everything."
Nadal explained that the competitiveness of sport brings with it plenty of stress, but, in the same breath, pointed out that people who pursue sport as a career are fortunate to be able to make a living out of their passion.
"Everybody approaches the issues in a different way," the 35-year-old said. "We are under pressure because the competition makes you feel more stress. But, at the same time, we are super lucky, you know, because we are able to work on one of our hobbies."
For Nadal, being happy is the "most important thing in life" "The most important thing in this life, in my opinion, is be happy, more than anything else, (but) sometimes you feel a little bit anxious," Nadal explained.
Nadal is the top seed at the Citi Open and will be preparing for the US Open later this month. The Spaniard missed out on the Wimbledon Championships and the Olympic Games due to an injury. He has been playing through a tired and weary body in 2021 and his body gave an indication to take a break. His last match was the Roland Garros semifinals against Novak Djokovic in June.