Rafael Nadal admits he has had a lack of practice ahead of his return to tennis at this week’s Cincinnati Masters due to his abdominal tear.
Nadal will play his first competitive tennis match, since withdrawing from his semi-final with Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon last month, on Wednesday.
The Spaniard suffered a 7mm tear to his abdominal muscle and admits he will be cautious after his latest injury.
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“I need to go step by step, stay calm and do things the proper way,” said Nadal.
“It’s going to be the first week after a while and always abdominal strains, or tears, are dangerous.”
Nadal has a chance to become world No. 1 if he wins the Cincinnati Masters and Daniil Medvedev has an early exit in the tournament.
However, the 22-time Grand Slam champion has no thoughts about that possibility and will be conservative this week.
“I’m here just to start my professional matches again but I didn’t play a lot at home in terms of matches,” continued Nadal.
“I practiced yes, but I have not played any sets before here. I hope I can be competitive at the beginning of the tournament but I’ll be taking care about everything.”

How Rafael Nadal can return to world No. 1

Due to Medvedev’s second-round loss to Nick Kyrgios in Montreal last week, Nadal has an opportunity to become world No.1 for the first time since February 2020.
Medvedev enters the tournament on 6885 points, with Nadal 1265 points behind. However, the Russian will be defending 360 points, because he made the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters last year, whilst Nadal won’t lose anything since he didn’t play in the second half of last season.
It means, Medvedev will need to win two matches to ensure he keeps his status as world No. 1.
For Nadal to usurp his rival, he will need to win the tournament, which would give him 1000 points, and hope Medvedev fails to reach the quarter-finals.
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