Photo: Rafael Nadal
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said he did not feel “right now” like he could be the winner of the Mutua Madrid Open, the Masters 1000 event in the Spanish capital.
Nadal, who has won the title in Madrid twice, said he was taking his return to competition one step at a time after being off the tour for seven months due to a knee injury.
The 26-year-old Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam champion, has taken the titles this year in Sao Paulo, Acapulco and Indian Wells, and he made the finals in Viña del Mar and Monte Carlo in his first five tournaments since returning to action.
“I don’t see myself as the winner. Before starting a tournament, I never feel like the winner of anything. I fell like I need to give myself an opportunity to fight in all the rounds until the final,” the Spanish star, who has won 54 career titles, said.
“There is a long way to go. The favorites are the ones who always are in position to win. This is a sport and anything can happen,” Nadal said in a press conference Sunday.
Nadal could meet countrymen Nicolas Almagro, who he defeated in the final of the Barcelona Open last month, and David Ferrer if he goes deep into the tournament.
The tennis season’s nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events rank only below the four Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in terms of ranking points and prestige.