Thu, August 07, 2008
Sports > Tennis

Nadal looks to recover from tiredness in time for Olympics

2008-08-07 10:07:32 GMT2008-08-07 18:07:32 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Rafael Nadal, who is set to become the world number one after the Olympic Games, told a Wednesday night press conference that he hopes to recover from the tiredness just in time for the upcoming Olympic tennis event.

"I have played so many matches this season and it is great feeling to win so many titles, including the French Open, Wimbledon and some tournaments in north America," said the Spaniard, who is still suffering the jet-lag.

"The calendar is kind of busy this year, and it is very difficult for me to play like this well, and now I hope I can recover from the tiredness for the Olympics and I still have four more days ahead of the event and I think I will be fine by next Monday."

Nadal is enjoying his best season yet and will take over from Roger Federer at the top of the ATP rankings on Aug. 18.

He has spent 159 consecutive weeks in Federer's immediate shadow (since July 25, 2005), with the Swiss master spending a record 236 weeks atop the world (since Feb. 2, 2004). The last player to rank No. 1 before Federer's reign was Andy Roddick in the week of Jan. 26, 2004.

But Nadal beat the Fed-Express in both the Roland Garros and Wimbledon finals this year and has even started the North American hard court season in fine fettle, winning in Toronto and reaching the semi-finals in Cincinnati last week.

The Spaniard will become the 24th player in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973) to hold the No. 1 position. He will join countrymen Carlos Moya (1999) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003) to rank No. 1.

"I have spent so many years being the world number two, so it feels great (to become the world number one), but now I have no time to enjoy this feeling and the Olympics are ahead and I will enjoy this event first. It is a great experience," said the 22-year-old, having been through the taste of the Olympics in Athens four years ago while partnering Moya in the men's doubles. This time he will pair Tommy Robredo in the doubles event, with the two sharing a same room in the Olympic Village.

Unlike the Swiss mogul Federer, who was not laughing and avoided waiting reporters since his arrival in Beijing, Nadal has kept an open mind and he opted to live in the Village.

"I don't want to miss the joy, you know, living with all the other athletes from Spain and even watching and playing computer games together. I want to share it with the other guys. It is a special and marvelous experience."

But of course, the happy mood will soon be replaced by the grueling competition which starts on Aug. 10 through to 17.

The Spanish tennis team has always been a strong contester in previous Games and registered six silver and three bronze medals in history, but they never get a gold.

The latest silver was claimed in the Athens Games four years ago when the women's doubles players Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual lost to China's Li Ting and Sun Tiantian in the final.

In the men's singles, Sergi Bruguera won the latest siver medal in Atlanta 1996 when he lost to home-favored Andre Agassi, who completed the Golden Slam.

"I am here to represent my country, I will do the best I can and win a medal.

"It's been a fantastic year for Spain and myself after the Euro Cup and the Wimbledon win, I hope the Spanish team can continue and let's see what will happen here. But of course it is difficult to achieve the victory as the event has strong competitors."

Nadal is widely considered to be the strongest and even fittest player on the circuit this year and he will have to be in this form if he is to succeed at the Olympic tournament and even achieve the Golden Slam in future.

He has the best record of anyone on tour this year, winning seven titles and with a 64-8 win-loss record.

"I don't think I have the special strength than anybody else," he answered when asked where his power comes from.

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