Photo: Tennis Canada
Montreal (AFP): Rafael Nadal will focus only on the challenge in front of him as he defends his title at the Montreal Masters, where Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are conspicuous absentees.
"I cannot think if they are here or not," the top-seeded Spaniard said Sunday. "Anyway, tennis is more than just a few players".
"I need to prepare myself as well as possible and be ready to play".
"I would only face them in a semi-final or final anyway, so it's not worth worrying about."
Rafa about the effect of hardcourts on his knees:
“If I’m thinking about this stuff when I play tennis, I cannot play tennis,” said Nadal. “I’m thinking about the ball, the opponent and what I have to do to play my best. I’m not worried. If something happens, then I will accept it and that’s it. I’m not putting more emphasis on it because when you think negatively, there’s more of a chance that things can happen.”
Photo: Tennis Canada
“I’m able to understand how to enjoy more and relax between tournaments,” said Nadal. “Before when I was losing a match, I wanted to be back home as quick as possible. If I’m in Europe, yes, I will [go home], but if I am here, I will not go back if I have to play in two weeks. This is something that would be impossible for me 15 years ago, but I have changed my approach.”
Cincinnati 'still an option' :
Nadal wasn't sure he'd go to Cincinnati, saying it depends on what happens in Montreal and how his troublesome knees hold up to an intense week on hardcourts.
"Cincinnati is still an option," he said, but added that he has to be careful on the punishing hardcourts.
"It is tougher on the cement than grass or clay," he said. "We are the only sport that regularly plays on such a hard surface. This one can be dangerous for the body."
Rafa on Felix Auger-Aliassime:
“I like his character,” said Nadal. "He’s a very well-educated and nice guy. He’s very passionate about the sport. He’s one of the players that I would love to see at the top position and winning trophies because I think he deserves it.”