Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the US Open due to injury, said Friday his sole focus now was on getting back to full fitness again and not worrying about his world ranking.
The world number three on Wednesday withdrew from the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the season, which starts in New York on August 27, because of his continuing battle with knee tendinitis.
“Now I'm not bothered if I'm third or fourth in the ATP. The most important thing is to be physically fit,” said Nadal. “I've missed too many important tournaments to continue taking risks. I'll return when my knee is better.
“I'm saddened not to be able to compete in the US Open because it's a tournament in which I've always felt great support but I can't take risks.”
Nadal won a record seventh French Open title in June but he crashed out in the second round at Wimbledon in a shock upset against Czech Lukas Rosol.
Shortly after the 26-year-old pulled out of the Olympics and subsequently withdrew from ATP Tour events in Toronto and Cincinnati.
The tennis ace's coach and uncle said on Thursday that Nadal should be ready for the Davis Cup semi-final between Spain and the United States next month.
“It was the right decision. This pause will further prolong his career and, possibly, he will have no more problems in the future,” Toni Nadal told Spanish radio, adding the goal is to work for a “full recovery”.