Rafael Nadal's decision to participate in the ABN-AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam has prompted numerous speculations among Big 3 fans. The Spanish phenomenon confirmed its presence at the Dutch ATP 500 last week, implementing a strategy that has surprised almost everyone given that the former world number 1 has not played the Rotterdam tournament since the 2009 season.
What made the announcement particularly intriguing is the fact that the 34-year-old Majorcan could have the chance to return to the top of the ATP ranking all beginning of March. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will also have at his disposal the ATP Cup and the Australian Open - where he triumphed only once back in 2009 - to try to close the gap that separates him from Novak Djokovic.
The veteran from Belgrade, for his part, has the gluttonous chance to break Roger Federer's all-time record by weeks at the top of the world rankings. In a recent interview with ESPN, Nadal confessed that he only signed up for Rotterdam due to the cancellation of the Indian Wells Masters 1000.
Nadal on the record for most Majors in men's tennis
"I swear to you I didn't know that in Rotterdam I could be No. 1 in the world," Rafael Nadal said. "I don't believe in destiny, each one forges it.
Years ago, maybe I thought about it, now I don't. It is never the objective directly, if the results are good to get there , fantastic and super happy, but I signed up in Rotterdam because Indian Wells is not played."
During the interview, Rafael Nadal also claimed that one of his biggest goals right now is the record for most Grand Slam singles titles in men' tennis. Nadal and Roger Federer are currently tied at 20 Grand Slams each, followed closely by current World No.
1 Novak Djokovic who has won 17 Majors. The Spaniard could take sole possession of the record if he wins either the upcoming Australian Open or the French Open. "If I have to choose a record now, it would be that one," Nadal said.
"But I don't continually think about it. It is not a cliche or a pose. I would love to but I have always worked in a different way. Not just because I'm 20 does my motivation change. I'm always looking forward to it."
The Spaniard would be eyeing his sixth Australian Open title as he heads to Melbourne Park this year. He equaled Federer’s career Grand Slam tally after clinching his 13th French Open title last year. However, his bid to end his prolonged title drought at the elite ATP Finals ended in disappointment yet again as he went out in the semi-final after losing to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev.