Rafael Nadal made his first ATP Tour US tournament appearance in 2004 Indian Wells (l. To Calleri in 3R). This Wednesday he will do it again: the current No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings will play the first game of his career at the Citi Open in Washington, where this week he is the top favorite of his.
It will be a new circumstance for the 88-time touring champion. But before an old acquaintance in front of the network. He will face local Jack Sock, against whom he is 4-0 in ATP HeadToHead between them. This encounter will mark the beginning of Nadal's 55th participation in ATP Tour tournaments in the United States.
In competitions in this country, Nadal has 180 games won and 226 played. In addition, he has eight ATP titles, all on fast tracks. A defeat by Nadal on Wednesday would mean losing the No. 3 position in the rankings to Stefanos Tsitsipas (without participation this week) for not being able to defend the 500 points that he must defend this week by calendar if he does not want to go down the ladder.
However, the 34-year-old southpaw only thinks about enjoying a new tournament in his career. “I love being here in Washington because it is not just a new event for me, it is a new city. I can visit one of the most important cities in the world.
And honestly, it is a very beautiful one," said Rafa, who has not competed in the United States since winning the US Open 2019." I am excited to play in this country again, especially playing in front of crowds, in full stadiums."
Nadal is bidding for his fifth title in New York
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer will head into this month's US Open on 20 Grand Slams each, with each player looking to make the record their own by the end of the event.
"Honestly, it's the same as always (on how important it is for him to win the US Open)," Nadal said. "The fact that Novak has 20, Roger has 20, I have 20 don't increase the motivation for me, or the pressure.
My approach will not change. I always stay the same. I play my way. If Novak or Roger plays there and win, okay, well done for them. I will not be frustrated for that. I know I achieve something that I never dreamed about, and I'm gonna keep fighting, keep doing things."
The Spaniard 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."