NEW YORK, Aug 25: World number one Rafael Nadal is feeling rested and ready as he looks to defend his US Open title.
The Spaniard has put together back-to-back major crowns only at the French Open � where he has won 11 of his 17 Grand Slam titles.
A year ago at Flushing Meadows, he mowed down a men�s field that was missing five of the top-ranked 11 men, with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and 2016 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka among the injured absentees.
His brutally one-sided victory over South African Kevin Anderson in his third Grand Slam final of the year gave him a second major of 2017 � after two years in which he failed to reach a Slam final.
�Last year has been a very special year after a couple of years,� Nadal said on Friday.
�2015 was not a positive year in terms of level of tennis, 2016 I was playing good tennis but I got injured.
�Had the chance to get back in 2017. Of course I won on clay, but then to win on hard again is something that means a lot to me, especially here in New York.�
This year the men�s field features a full complement of the world�s top-ranked players and seven former US Open champions, but Nadal believes he�s had an ideal build up, starting with a hardcourt Masters title in Toronto.
�That�s important for the feelings, for the confidence,� Nadal said. �That gave me a chance to rest the week after in Cincinnati.�
After scooping his 80th career title � and his 33rd Masters 1000 � the 32-year-old pulled out of Cincinnati to focus on his US Open prep.
�I was resting from competing, not resting from working,� said Nadal, adding that as the tournament draws closer the signs are all encouraging.
�The last couple of days (before the tournament) is the moment to understand, that you really realise if you are better, you are worse � when you start to put the full mind on what you�re doing.�
He�s set to open his campaign on Monday with what promises to be an emotional 31st career encounter with his good friend and Davis Cup team-mate David Ferrer, a former world number three who has slipped out of the top 100 and will retire at the end of the year.
The quarterfinals could bring a rematch of last year�s final against fifth-seeded Anderson � who reached the final at Wimbledon this year.
Despite last year�s lopsided victory, Nadal said Anderson would pose a serious threat.
�He�s a player who is always improving,� Nadal said of Anderson. �He plays so aggressive. He has a huge serve. He�s one of these players that are dangerous for everybody.� � AFP