World No 1 Rafael Nadal insists staying fit is his main priority for the 2014 season

Last Updated: 27/12/13 1:33pm

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Rafa Nadal: Fitness the key for world No 1

Rafa Nadal: Fitness the key for world No 1

Sky Bet

Rafa Nadal insists staying fit in 2014 is more important to him than adding to his 13 grand slam titles.

The Spaniard has just completed one of the best seasons of his career, winning 10 tournaments in 2013 including a record eighth French Open crown and a second US Open title.

Those successes, which took him back to the world No 1 spot, followed his return to action in February following a seven-month lay-off with a knee injury.

Nadal is now determined to remain healthy and enjoy an injury-free campaign in 2014.

"I am not going to talk at the moment about winning the ninth Roland Garros or winning Wimbledon again."
Rafael Nadal

"What I want is to be able to start the year well and in shape to compete in the big tournaments," said the 27-year-old.

"In that sense, and thinking about 2014, I am not going to talk at the moment about winning the ninth Roland Garros or winning Wimbledon again, which would be the third time.

"No, look: what is important to me is to maintain my fitness in a way that will allow me to play the whole year, and competing at a good level.

"You see it's not easy: I couldn't do that, for the whole season, in 2012, 2013."

Nadal believes his enforced rest in 2012 meant he was fresh and hungry on his return to action and that was possibly why he had been so successful.

"In terms of results, I don't know if 2013 was the best year of my career," he said.

"What made it special was the feeling of being able to compete again at the level I managed.

"But certainly 2013 was the most emotional of my career. If you ask me about the key elements of what happened I think I started playing when I was fresher than ever after a seven-month rest. That may have been the key to the successes."

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