Rafael Nadal is aware that he along with Roger Federer are the main contenders to finish the 2017 campaign as the world number one player if they continue the form they have displayed in the first-half of the season.
Nadal and Federer were ranked number eight and 17 respectively at the start of the season, but after a combined nine titles they are now ranked number two and three in the ATP men's singles ranking. The former has won four titles including the 10th French Open title, while the latter has five titles, which include the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.
Nadal is now just 285 points behind world number one Andy Murray and has to defend just 405 points until the end of the season. The Scot on the other hand has to defend 5,560 points. Federer, meanwhile, is 1,205 points behind the leader, but is defending no points after missing the last five months of the 2016 campaign with a knee injury.
The Swiss ace and the Spaniard are two in-form players at the moment and following the former's triumph at SW19, he will be the favourite at the US Open that starts on 28 August. Nadal also had a good run on the hard courts earlier in the season, and is guaranteed to pick up a good number of points.
Federer has already made it clear that becoming number one will be special, but Nadal remained humble and indicated that there are others also in the mix to join them for the fight for number one. He is keen to maintain his form until the end of the campaign without focusing too much on the race for the top spot in men's tennis.
"The truth is, I always follow my own path," Nadal said on Argentine talk show, Con Amigos Asi, as quoted by Sport24. "It's true that we (Roger and I) are better prepared to compete for nice things at the end of the year but it depends on what we're able to do from now until the end of the year. We'll have to wait and see."
"The person who will be able to keep his high level for a longer period of time will have more options to fight for the world No 1 ranking.
"But the same can be said of Murray... and many others who are up there. Maybe they haven't had the best six months this year but they are also candidates," the 15-time men's singles Grand Slam champion added.
The Spanish tennis legend also addressed the reasons he has not started a family similar to his other rivals Federer, Murray and Djokovic. The aforementioned trio are all fathers and married to their respective partners.
Nadal, on the other hand, is in a committed relationship but is yet to tie the knot or start a family. The 31-year-old made it clear that it was not because he did not like children, but it was because he does not think he can give his kids enough time as his "sporting life" takes up most of the year.
"I would love to have children — boys, girls — I'm a person who loves kids and I'm a family guy," Nadal added.
"But also I tell you that the reality is the years keep passing... I would like to start to do all of this when my sporting life determines it.
"I think it's also above all about looking after the kids. I don't know if it (traveling the whole year round and playing tennis) is ideal," the 10-time French Open champion explained.