Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (Photo : Reuters)
Despite bowing out on the first day of this year's wild Wimbledon Open, Rafael Nadal is still very much primed to reclaim the title as the best tennis player in the world at the end of the season.
The 27-year old Nadal has great chance of getting the top spot on the ATP world ranking, considering he won't have any point to defend in the upcoming hard-court season.
The Spaniard did not play a single tournament of last year's hard-court season after undergoing a knee treatment that put him on a seven-month layoff.
Nadal finished the long wait for his return in February at the 2013 VTR Open, where he reached the final before losing to journeyman Horacio Zeballos. However, the Spaniard racked up seven of the next eight tournaments he participated, including a record-setting 8th crown at the 2013 French Open.
Due to fatigue, Nadal decided not to play in any warm-up tournament prior to the Wimbledon Open. That decision proved to be costly as Nadal succumbed to Steve Darcis in straight sets on the first day of play at the All England Club.
The loss might be disappointing for Nadal, who won the Wimbledon Open championship twice, but it wasn't totally a big blow in his attempt to reclaim the top ranking in tennis. Nadal is currently sitting fourth in the rankings behind David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, but he still accumulated the most points in the season with 780.
Nadal is expected to make his hard-court season debut at the Roger Cup in Montreal and then participate at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. He will then try to win his second US Open title next month in Queens, New York.