• ATP Tour

Nadal targets return to world No. 1

ESPN staff
December 15, 2011
Rafael Nadal wants to return to world No. 1 © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal has targeted a return to the top of the world rankings, but admits he cannot aspire to win anything in 2012 if he cannot stay fit and healthy.

Nadal was overtaken as world No. 1 by Novak Djokovic in July following the Serb's barnstorming start to the season, picking up seven titles on the bounce before winning his second slam of the year at Wimbledon.

While Nadal retained his French Open title to equal Bjorn Borg's record of six titles at Roland Garros, it was the first time since 2004 that he had failed to win a title away from the clay courts.

After admitting to fatigue at the end of the season, Nadal enjoyed a brief break following Spain's Davis Cup victory in Seville, before turning his focus to the new season.

He will kick off his season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, before heading to the Qatar Open to complete his warm-up for the Australian Open which starts on January 16. And while he will have his sights on regaining the title he won in 2009, the world No. 2 insists his fitness remains his top priority.

"For sure you have to set yourself some goals in the short term, but the long term goal is always to keep improving my tennis and try to keep having chances to challenge for the big titles to compete for the first position in the rankings," Nadal said.

"But if you are not healthy the rest of the things are impossible so I'm always crossing my fingers to stay healthy."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.