• World rankings

Refreshed Nadal ready for French Open

ESPN staff
May 20, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Rafael Nadal admits that he has exceeded his own expectations since his return to the ATP Tour following his demolition of Roger Federer in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia final.

Having reached an eighth consecutive final since his return from a seven-month injury lay-off, Nadal claimed his sixth title of the season in Rome, a result that has returned him to the world's top four in the ATP rankings just in time for the French Open.

And while the Spaniard admits that he cannot train as intensively as he did in the past, he believes his reduced regime has left him feeling fresher during tournaments.

Even so, his 38-2 win-loss record in 2013 has taken him by surprise.

"If you tell me that four months ago, five months ago, I would tell you you are crazy," said Nadal, who also leads the season-long race to the ATP World Tour Finals. "It's just more than a dream for me. I am enjoying very emotional days and today was one of those days.

"It's true that I am not practicing as much as I did and I am not able to do it," he added. "But that doesn't mean that I don't have the chance to play at the very high level, and I am doing it. At the end the mental part is more important than the other things. I am fresh mentally."

Nadal now heads to Paris for the defence of his French Open title, his first taste of five-set tennis since his shock defeat by Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon in 2012.

The world No. 4 didn't play again on tour until February to recover from tendinitis in his left knee, but is adamant that talk about the injury must stop.

"I said before the tournament, during the tournament, I don't want to talk about health," Nadal said. "I want to talk about tennis. I am what I am and how I am today is that I was able to compete against the best players in the world and have great success - so happy about my performance today and happy about everything."

Men's rankings: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Roger Federer (SUI), 3. Andy Murray (GBR), 4. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 5. David Ferrer (ESP), 6. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 7. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), 8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), 9. Richard Gasquet (FRA), 10. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB).

Women's rankings: 1. Serena Williams (USA), 2. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 3. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 4. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 5. Sara Errani (ITA), 6. Li Na (CHN), 7. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 8. Angelique Kerber (GER), 9. Samantha Stosur (AUS), 10. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN).

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