(AP) – Rafael Nadal is a different man. He’s losing sleep over his newborn baby and not so much the No. 1 ranking.
Even with all of his absences, Nadal has a shot at finishing the season as the world No. 1. He has racked up 5,820 points, trailing only the top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, who has 6,650. But Nadal made clear on Tuesday what his priorities were when he was peppered with questions about fighting for the year-end No. 1 spot.
There will be no fight.
Nadal has achieved the coveted year-end No. 1 ranking five times, tied with Roger Federer, and trailing only Novak Djokovic (7) and Pete Sampras (6).
“I don’t fight to be No. 1,” Nadal said at a Paris Masters news conference. “Something that I said since long time ago: I will not fight anymore to be No. 1. I did in the past. I achieved that goal a couple of times in my career that I have been very, very happy and proud about. But I am in a moment of my tennis career that I don’t fight to be No. 1.”
For now, he wants to be a No. 1 dad.
He has come to Paris for his first tournament since his wife Maria Francisca Perello gave birth to their first child — a boy — in early October. Nadal admitted he’s approaching things differently now that he’s a father.
“It’s quite interesting how, even after [knowing him only] two or three weeks, leave your son at home and not be able to see him … you start missing him,” Nadal said. “We are lucky today that, with the technology, everything, we can do video calls any time that you want.”
“It’s obvious that when I was No. 1 for the first time in my career in 2008, I really wanted to be there,” Nadal said, “because I felt that 2005, ’06, ’07, including ’08, I was doing amazing results, winning a lot of tournaments, having a lot of points on the ranking system.
“Today is a different story for me. I don’t know how many events I played, like 10, and I finished eight. Difficult to be No. 1 like this. But happy to be in that position that says when I was playing, I was playing well.”
Source: Associated Press