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Rafa Eases Rankings Anxiety

Madrid, Spain

Nadal© Getty Images

Rafael Nadal at No. 25 or 30 in the Emirates ATP Rankings? It seems implausible. But the two-time year-end No. 1 said in Madrid Wednesday that he feared a ranking slide after a seven-month absence from the ATP World Tour, which began after Wimbledon last year. But after winning four titles and reaching finals in all six of his tournament appearances in 2013, Nadal is feeling a lot better about his game and ranking.

“If I hadn't had really good results in all of the tournaments that I had to defend like Monte-Carlo, Indian Wells [or] Rome next week, and [later] Roland Garros, I could maybe go down to [No.] 25 or 30 in the world. That could perhaps create some anxiety in me,” said Nadal. “Luckily I've [played] six tournaments and I've done really well… I’m going to take this year as a year of transition, and I will try to be as good as possible.”

With his great start, Nadal has put himself in prime position to challenge Novak Djokovic for the year-end No. 1 ranking. The Serbian was upstaged by Grigor Dimitrov Tuesday evening, as the Bulgarian ousted the top seed in a marathon three-set encounter. 

“[Dimitrov] won a set from me in Monte-Carlo. In Miami, he served for the set against Djokovic. When you see a player coming and doing really well, [at a] really high level, one of these days he will have to fly,” Nadal said. “He's a player that doesn't have a single reason not to do really good.  He has everything he needs to be a really good player. It doesn't make any sense that's he's not even more up there.

“Talking about the Djokovic defeat, those things can happen. When you're playing these kinds of tournaments, you've got the best players in the world. It happened. He was defeated.”

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