Photo: Rafael Nadal
Spanish star Rafael Nadal, who just regained the No. 2 spot in the ATP rankings, said he had the “right attitude” going into the U.S. Open, which begins on Monday.
“Last year, I watched this event on television, this year I have the opportunity to play and that is unbelievable,” Nadal said during a press conference Saturday marking Arthur Ashe Kids Day, the kickoff event for the year’s last Grand Slam tournament.
The 27-year-old Nadal, who won his 8th French Open title on June 9, was off the ATP Tour for seven months due to a knee injury that plagued him after his loss at the 2012 Wimbledon tournament.
“It was not a strange feeling because the majority of the times that I’ve watched the finals of a Grand Slam it’s been on TV,” Nadal said in response to a question from reporters.
Nadal’s first opponent at the U.S. Open will be American Ryan Harrison on Monday and he could meet longtime rival Roger Federer of Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
“I don’t think about that stuff, at Wimbledon we were also supposedly going to meet (in the quarterfinals),” Nadal said, referring to the fact that both he and Federer made early exits at the All England Club.
Nadal has been on a tear since returning to action in February, playing in 11 finals and winning nine titles.
The Spaniard’s only setback came at Wimbledon, where Belgium’s Steve Darcis knocked him off 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, marking the first time Nadal lost in the first round of a Grand Slam event.
A win in New York will bring Nadal a total of $3.6 million, with $2.6 million coming from prize money and $1 million from the US Open Series bonus.