CHINA OPEN 2013
Nadal Begins No. 1 Bid In Beijing
by ATP Staff|
Who is the greatest, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer? It is a question that has dominated the past 10 years on the ATP World Tour and one that the Spaniard was asked after his first-round win at the China Open on Tuesday in Beijing.
If Nadal reaches the final in Beijing this week, he will reclaim the No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking for the first time since 3rd July 2011. It would cap one of the best seasons of the Spaniard’s career; one which has seen him come back from a left knee injury to win Roland Garros (d. Ferrer) and the US Open (d. Djokovic) as well as five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns.
Nadal opened his Beijing bid with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Santiago Giraldo to set a second-round clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber. Afterwards he was asked if he thought he could eventually surpass Federer’s tally of 17 major titles.
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“Here we are, 27 years old, and it's much more than what I ever dreamed,” said Nadal. “So I'm going to try to keep working hard. If I'm able to do it, if I am able to be healthy and to compete well for the next four years, I am going to try to create opportunities to keep winning in important tournaments.
“If that happens, I will have the chance to keep being at the top. If I am at the top, I will have a chance to win more tournaments. But to overtake Roger is something that nobody did in I don't know how many years of history. So it’s going to be a big coincidence if that happens in a period of ten years.
"[Whether it happens or not], the only thing I am sure of is when I am going to leave this tour, I am going to be very happy about what I did. I tried everything in every practice, in every match. I gave everything."
Nadal is competing in Beijing for the third time. He won the title on his debut in 2005 (d. Coria) and reached the semi-finals in 2009 (l. to Cilic). The left-hander is on an 18-match winning streak since a shock first-round exit at Wimbledon (l. to Darcis) and is chasing his 11th title of a season that he only began in February.
“It's true that the things went unbelievable so I had the motivation to finish the season well,” said Nadal. “That's what I am going to try. I have an opportunity to finish the season with good feelings. There are important tournaments left to play, and here is one of those tournaments. Every match means a lot for me today.
“Today is an important victory for me against an important opponent like Giraldo,” added Nadal, who broke serve five times to prevail in 89 minutes. “If I'm able to keep playing well every day and at the same level I played the last couple of months, I will have the chance to be there, to be No. 1 in the future.”