Rafael Nadal has set his sights on overtaking Roger Federer to number four in the ATP world rankings and is aware that he can achieve it by winning one of the upcoming Masters Series events in Madrid or Rome.
The Spaniard is currently ranked number five in the world but is just 390 points behind his long-time rival, who is not playing in either of the tournaments. And a good run in Madrid and Rome will put him comfortably ahead of Federer going into the French Open beginning on 28 May.
Nadal will be favourite going into the Madrid Masters that starts on Sunday (7 May) following his back-to-back wins in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in the last two weeks. However the 14-time men's singles Grand Slam champion is aware that things can change quickly after his experiences from 2016, when he was going into the event as the favourite after back-to-back wins before being struck down by injury.
The 30-year-old is ensuring that he is in the best possible shape by taking a break. He has confirmed that he will be staying away from the court leading up to the tournament in the Spanish capital.
'I know what I have to do, it means winning one of the next two events," Nadal said about catching Federer for the number four ranking, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
"I am heading well to Madrid. This is clear, but also last year it was the same and then I hurt my wrist. You have to think with tranquility and humility, knowing that things are going well but that can change quickly. This is the sport," the former world number one explained.
"Now I will disappear. I will go to the sea which is one of my passions. I will not touch the ground. I will be calm and enjoy the moment."