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RAF PLAN: Rafael Nadal reveals plan for 2020 is just to stay fit as he hunts down Roger Federer record after injury nightmares



Rafael Nadal

The world No2, 33, has been plagued with injuries throughout his time on ATP Tour, especially with knee problems.

And as he nears the twilight of his trophy-laden career, he is desperate to just be in a position where he can begin to challenge for titles in 2020.

Nadal won his 85th career crown at the Mexico Open last weekend but knows if he wants to add to that tally, he needs to keep his body in shape.

Asked about his goals for this season, he said: “We don’t have to think about the future at the moment, only to enjoy the title.

Rafa in action

“Winning Acapulco doesn’t guarantee a great year. It means it’s a good start that will give me confidence ahead of the next tournaments.

“This triumph allows me to gain places in the ATP Race for London, which is one of the goals of the season.

“In addition to that, I want to stay healthy and chase as many titles as possible.

“I’m still competing at the highest level, eager to produce more weeks like the one in Acapulco.”

The Acapulco win – where he beat close friend and fishing buddy Grigor Dimitrov in the semis – ensured Nadal had won at least one title for the 17th season in a row.

But despite finishing the year as the world No1 five times including in 2019, the Spaniard has never won the ATP Finals.

He has qualified for the tournament that concludes the season with the world’s top-eight tennis stars for the last 15 years but often finds his body has already given up on him by that time of the year.

Before that showpiece event at London’s O2 Arena in November, though, Nadal will be hoping to add to his tally for the year.

He is set to feature at the ‘Sunshine Double’ of the Masters 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami this month.

World No1 Novak Djokovic will be the favourite going into both events before the European clay-court swing which favours the Spaniard.

Rafa knows if he can win the French Open once again this year, it will be a case of lucky No13.

His tally of 19 Grand Slams places him just one behind fellow legend Roger Federer and with the Swiss great recovering from knee surgery, Nadal will be confident he can draw level at the top of the pile in the history of the men’s game.

But while they may be long-standing rivals on the court, Nadal opened up about their friendship off it.

The Spaniard revealed they get on really well after sharing the limelight for so many years.

He said: “It’s a rivalry, of course, but it’s also a friendship. We’re having a great story together. We have had long careers.

“Facing each other in the most important tournaments for such a very, very long time.

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