Australian Open: Rafael Nadal's focus not on Roger Federer's record

Rafael Nadal is just one Grand Slam shy of Roger Federer's record of 20 major titles, but the Spaniard insists that he is not focused on beating his long time rival's record and is happy even if he ends his career with 19 titles. The Spaniard is seeded No. 1 at the 2020 Australian Open but No. 2 Novak Djokovic will be considered the top favorite in Melbourne.

The Spaniard admits that winning more titles is his goal, but it is not his only focus as he is keen to play at a high level, which he believes will deliver the desired result. Nadal progressed to the second round at the Australian Open with a straight set win over Hugo Dellien and will now face Federico Delbonis.

"If I am able to reach my highest level, that's the thing that I have to worry about," Nadal said after winning his first-round match at the Australian Open, as quoted by the National Post. "If I am able to play at my highest level, normally I am able to produce some good chances. If not, impossible."

Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal
Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal YouTube grab

If not at the Australian Open this month, Nadal will be favoured to equal Federer's record at the year's second Grand Slam in Roland Garros, which he has won 12 times in the last 15 years unless the Swiss ace wins in Melbourne. However, he made it clear that it is not his priority and is certain that him not beating Federer's record will not affect his outlook on his career in the future.

"So, I don't care about 20 or 15 or 16 (Grand Slam titles). I just care about trying to keep going, keep enjoying my tennis career," the 19-time Grand Slam champion added. "It's not like 20 is the number that I need to reach. If I reach 20, fantastic. If I reach 21, better. If I reach 19, super happy about all the things that I did in my tennis career, no?

"I don't think in the future .... achieving 21 Grand Slams, for example, I'm going to be happier than if I (have) 19 in 10 years," the Spaniard said.

Nadal, however, has not been too successful in Australia winning just one title during his career in 2009. He has made the finals on four other occasions but came up short with Djokovic, Federer and Stan Wawrinka going on to claim the title.

This article was first published on January 22, 2020