(AFP) – Rafael Nadal said on Sunday that he “is not worried” about his history of injury withdrawals at the Paris Masters ahead of his latest bid to win the event for the first time, just three weeks after his 13th French Open title.
This will only be Nadal’s eighth appearance in the tournament at Bercy Arena, situated less than 14km across Paris from Roland Garros, and he has reached the final just once.
His last two visits have ended in injury, last year before a semi-final against Denis Shapovalov, and in 2017 ahead of a quarter-final with Filip Krajinovic.
“I am here to play my best and not to think about injuries, hopefully not,” said the 34-year-old.
“When I go to a tournament, I just focus on trying to play my best tennis. Not worry about if I got injured in the past that can happen again.
“It’s true that we are in different circumstances than previous years. But always you need to take care about the situation and you need to be ready to accept any inconvenience.”
Nadal’s one-sided French Open final victory over Novak Djokovic last month drew him level at the top of the all-time list with Roger Federer with a 20th men’s Grand Slam singles title.
But he often struggles for form and fitness at the end of the year and has also never won the season-ending ATP Tour Finals.
After his 13th Roland Garros triumph, Nadal suggested he may skip the indoor hardcourt tournaments.
But he now says that he also plans to play in the last edition of the Tour Finals to be staged in London later this month, before it moves to Turin.
“Yes. If nothing happens here, yes,” the Spaniard said.
“(It) is part of the history of our game. It’s an important event and is a party of the best players of the season.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nadal has only played two tournaments in the last seven months.
But he does not plan to play with a reduced schedule like the one adopted by his long-time rival Roger Federer in recent years.
“I like to play tennis, so I like to play a little bit more than two tournaments every six or seven months, no?” he added.
“I like to play a little bit more before important tournaments but not because of the important tournament going there… It’s because I like to play tennis, I like competition and that’s what I do.
“So it’s nothing new that I played well after a while without playing tennis.
“I did it in the past. So that confirms that I can do it. But I hope next year we can have a more usual calendar and I can play some more tennis.”
The top seed gets his tournament under way with a second-round match against either former runner-up Krajinovic or his veteran compatriot Feliciano Lopez.