Rafael Nadal says he’ll focus on the foes in front of him at the ATP Montreal Masters this week, and not on his chance to return to number one in the world.
A semi-final run in Montreal would see the Spaniard supplant Britain’s Andy Murray atop the rankings.
“I don’t even think about that now,” Nadal said of number one. “I’m trying to have the right preparation now and that’s it.
“I’m going to keep trying to play the way I did in the first part of the season, so if I’m able to make that happen, I hope to have a chance to do well.”
The top seed is expected to open his campaign for a fourth Canadian title on Wednesday with a second-round meeting against either Croatian Borna Coric or Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny.
Murray is among the notable absentees from this key US Open tuneup. Novak Djokovic is taking off the rest of the season to rehab an elbow injury and US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has ended his 2017 campaign with a knee problem.
Murray is trying to recover from a nagging hip injury in time for the final Grand Slam of the season that starts later this month in Flushing Meadows.
Nadal claimed his 10th French Open title this year but bowed out in the fourth round at Wimbledon — his fifth exit before the quarter-finals in his last five appearances at the All England Club.
Roger Federer, who seized his 19th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, is also slated to open on Wednesday.