Rafael Nadal reveals unconvincing fitness update ahead of Rogers Cup return

The Spaniard has enjoyed a three-week break since his last competitive match when he lost to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling Wimbledon semi-final.

But Nadal returns with a second round clash against France’s Benoit Paire tomorrow in the first of two warm-up tournaments before the US Open, where he is the defending champion, later this month.

Nadal has won four of six available titles in 2018, missing out on the Madrid Open and Wimbledon, to boast a commanding 2,230-point lead over rival Roger Federer in the ATP Rankings.

And the world No 1, the Rogers Cup first seed, will hope to another triumph at Flushing Meadows – although he hinted that he may be short of sharpness.

“It’s important to understand which moments you need to take a rest or which moments you need to work hard,” he told ATP World Tour’s Tennis TV.

“After a great run on clay and grass, I needed some period of time off and that’s what I did. 

“Of course now is the moment to work hard again and [to] try to be ready for the action here. 

“That’s what I’m doing here these couple of days, working hard and just trying to be ready.

“I have been relaxing a little bit with family and friends, having some fun and spending some time with them. 

“It was a great feeling and then I started to work again step-by-step. 

“I try to put the bases on the work to be here and [be] ready to work harder. 

“I hope to be enough fit and ready to compete well. Let’s see.”

Nadal is a three-time winner in Toronto but has only competed twice since last winning in 2013, failing to progress past the quarter-final stage on both occasions.

On his return, the 17-time Grand Slam champion added: “It’s great. It’s a tournament that I was a little bit unlucky; I’ve missed it because of injuries a couple of times in my career. 

“But Canada is a tournament that works well for me, I have three victories. I’m excited to be here in Toronto. 

“Canadians are very passionate about the sport and the matches so I’m very looking forward to playing in front of all of them.”

Nadal is defending just 90 points from last year’s Rogers Cup and needs to win his second round and third round matches to continue building his lead over Federer in the standings.

The winner of the tournament gets 1,000 points – meaning Nadal could possibly be 3,140 points ahead of his Swiss rival come next Monday.