Rafael Nadal trains with young gun in Cincinnati

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Rafael Nadal trains with young gun in Cincinnati

Rafael Nadal will compete at the next week's Cincinnati Masters, returning to action for the first time following the Wimbledon quarter-final. Nadal arrived in Cincinnati on Thursday and hit the practice court on Friday, training with the young gun Holger Rune.

Nadal will play in Cincinnati for the first time since 2017, seeking the second title following that famous run in 2013. The Spaniard will try to build the form in Ohio ahead of the US Open, where he will seek the 23rd Major crown.

Nadal leads the ATP Race to Turin after a 35-3 score in 2022, conquering two Major titles and hoping to become world no. 1 soon. It will happen if he wins Cincinnati and Daniil Medvedev loses before the quarter-final. Rafa's main concern at the moment is his serve, suffering an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and struggling to serve correctly during the practice runs.

Rafa skipped the second part of 2021 due to a foot injury and made a perfect comeback this year.

Rafael Nadal will compete in Cincinnati for the first time in five years.

He claimed three consecutive titles at the start of the season, including his first Australian Open crown in 13 years.

It pushed him in front of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and gave him a boost for the upcoming months. With momentum on his side, Nadal lifted the trophy in Acapulco and reached the Indian Wells final. He played it with a fractured rib and lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets.

Rafa missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona and did not play at his usual level in Madrid and Rome. Nadal raised shifted into a higher gear at the most significant scene and secured his 14th Roland Garros title after beating Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud.

Eager to maintain that run at Wimbledon, Nadal reached the third consecutive All England Club semi-final before withdrawing ahead of the Nick Kyrgios clash due to an abdominal injury. Rafa decided to skip Montreal and work on his game at home in Mallorca.

Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz lost in the second round in Canada, and Nadal will keep a healthy lead in front of them ahead of Cincinnati. As we already said, Rafa claimed his lone Cincinnati crown in 2013 and failed to reach the semi-final in the next three trips to Ohio. In his most recent match at this Masters 1000 event, Nadal lost to Nick Kyrgios in the 2017 quarter-final.