World number two Rafael Nadal says his focus is on winning his second clay court title of the season in Barcelona rather than supplanting Novak Djokovic as world number one.
The Spaniard recorded a long-overdue win over the Serbian in the final of last week’s Monte-Carlo Masters.
However, he says Djokovic’s lead in the rankings list means assuming the mantle of best tennis player in the world is not a short-term ambition.
Nadal: “It was crucial to finally win a tournament again. But obviously beating Djokovic was mentally very important.”
Instead, his energies are trained on securing his seventh title at the Barcelona Open.
“My goal is to play well in Barcelona, not to become number one. I am closer to the number three ranking than to the number one. What counts now is the tournament in Barcelona,” he commented.
However, he did admit that beating Djokovic on Sunday – his first against the reigning Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon champion in eight attempts – had given him a boost ahead of the rest of the season.
“It was crucial to finally win a tournament again. But obviously beating Djokovic was mentally very important,” he confirmed.
Nadal is already through to the third round in Barcelona and faces Robert Farah for a place in the quarter-finals from 14:30 this afternoon.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting