Rafael Nadal says he “can’t think about” potential Rogers Cup opponents Stan Wawrinka or Nick Kyrgios before his second-round opener in Toronto.
The world No 1 – playing his first event since losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon semi-finals – will face either Jared Donaldson or Benoit Paire in his opening round, but could meet three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka or Australian favourite Kyrgios in the third round.
Following the withdrawals of Roger Federer and Andy Murray, the pair are expected to be two of Nadal’s closest challengers alongside Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in a star-studded line-up, live on Sky Sports Arena.
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“I cannot think about Wawrinka, Kyrgios, Joao [Sousa] before playing Benoit or a qualifier,” Nadal said.
“I know the first round is going to be a tough battle. But the full draw doesn’t distract me from being focused on that first round.
“I always take it match by match. That’s what I’ve done all my life. That’s the only way, in my opinion, to have success.
“You need to respect all opponents. In tennis, things change so quickly, so you need to be ready to accept both victories and losses.”
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Nadal, looking to win his fourth Rogers Cup title, resumed training recently on his home island of Mallorca after spending some time off sailing.
The top seed will be joined in Toronto by defending champion and second-seed Zverev, who also received a bye into the second round, and he will play David Ferrer or a qualifier in round two.
Juan Matin del Potro is present as third seed, opening against the winner of Kei Nishikori v Robin Haase, while Kevin Anderson is seeded fourth and will play Andrey Rublev or a qualifier in the second round.
Other players with a second-round bye include fifth-seed Grigor Dimitrov, sixth-seed Marin Cilic, seventh-seed Dominic Thiem and eight-seed John Isner while Wimbledon champion and ninth-seed Djokovic faces Chung Hyeon in the first round.
Murray and Federer, meanwhile, are expected to make their returns at the Cincinnati Masters on August 13 – live on Sky Sports Arena – as the ‘Big Four’ gear up for the US Open at Flushing Meadows on August 27.
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