• ATP Tour

Nadal 'light years' from Federer's trophy haul

ESPN staff
June 11, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rafael Nadal's eight French Open title moves him up to joint-third on the all-time grand slam champions list © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal has ruled out targeting Roger Federer's grand slam haul despite moving up to joint-third on the all-time champions list.

Nadal's straight-sets victory over compatriot David Ferrer at the French Open made him the first man to win eight grand slam singles titles at the same tournament, while his form since returning from a seven-month injury lay-off has been staggering, reaching the final in all nine tournaments he has played and winning seven titles.

But while the Spaniard now ranks alongside Roy Emerson with 12 grand slam titles to his name, two behind Pete Sampras and five behind Federer, he insists he is just happy to be back on court.

"It is something that right now I see as light years away," Nadal told Marca. "It is not something I am planning."

The world No. 5 has pulled out of this week's Gerry Weber Open in Halle, meaning he will return to Wimbledon - the scene of his shock second-round exit at the hands of Lukas Rosol - without having played a competitive match on grass.

But the Spaniard is convinced that listening to his body has been crucial to his success since returning to action in 2013, and hopes a lengthy clay court season has not caught up with him.

"Three months ago I was limp. At the start I was very sore but with the competition the feelings didn't get worse but better and this is great news," Nadal added.

"In the next few days I will have the knee checked after many consecutive weeks without doing so. I hope that the results are satisfactory because it has held up very well."

Nadal echoed Roger Federer's sentiments that matches at Wimbledon can quickly slip away if a player struggles to adjust to the grass surface in time, and admitted that he would prefer to avoid another heavy hitter in the mould of Rosol early on.

But while not playing a warm-up tournament is far from ideal, the two-time former Wimbledon champion believes he can play himself into form in time to challenge for the title.

"To start with it will [be difficult]," Nadal said. "Afterwards you never know. We will see if I can have good training sessions there and manage to get through the first few rounds.

"What I want are players that give you rhythm and that help you to be able to win. Not those that end the point with one stroke."

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