Rafael Nadal is ready to make his first appearance in the 2022 North-American Hard Courts season as he reaches Cincinnati to play in the Western and Southern Open for the first time in five years.
Nadal has been out of the court since his withdrawal from the 2022 Wimbledon Championship semi-finals game against Nick Kyrgios. After missing several hard court tournaments, including the Canadian Open, the 22-time grand slam champion is set to make his much-awaited return in the Cincinnati Masters 2022 this week on Wednesday.
The Cincinnati Masters (also known as the Western and Southern Open) is currently underway with the rounds of 64 being played right now. Nadal, seeded 2nd in the tournament, has gotten a bye in the first round. The Spaniard will play either Lorenzo Musseti or Borna Coric in the round of 32.
Earlier this week, Nadal talked about how he feels about coming back to Cincinnati and also his chance of regaining the no. 1 spot in the ATP rankings in the pre-tournament press conference. When asked to reflect on how he feels about his return to Cincinnati, the 36-year-old replied, “I am happy to be back in Cincinnati after a couple of years. I am having a good season and I am enjoying it. I want to enjoy this week in Cincinnati.”
With the current world no. 1, Daniil Medvedev getting knocked out in the first round of the Canadian Open last week, Nadal is presented with a chance to climb back to the world no. 1 in the ATP rankings. “It means a lot to me to have that opportunity (to regain no. 1). Something that I didn’t expect could happen again. The main thing is to stay healthy and play the events that I want to play,” stated Nadal
“I am going to put all my efforts into every single event I play. It is something that doesn’t matter if I have the chance to be No. 1, but I am happy to be in this position and if it happens, I will be very happy.” added the world no. 2.
Rafael Nadal won the Cincinnati Masters trophy only once in his career in 2013. Considering how incredible a year he is having in 2022, it is likely that we see Nadal win his fifth title of the year in Cincinnati.