The Cincinnati tournament (United States), the seventh Masters 1,000 of the season, starts this week at the Lindner Family Tennis Center with the great incentive of the return of the Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal, who has been away from the courts for a month and a half due to injury and that he will return as the second favorite and with the possibility of finishing the contest as number one in the world.

Just a few days after the Spaniard Pablo Carreño made history by being crowned at the Masters 1,000 in Montreal, the ATP circuit crosses the border from Canada to the United States to challenge the throne that German Alexander Zverev won last year. In addition, the last ‘Grand Slam’ of the season, the US Open, is already on the horizon.

“At the beginning of the season, my goal was not to be number one again,” Nadal told a news conference. And yet, the Spaniard knows that if he lifts his 37th Masters 1,000 title and the Russian Daniil Medvedev, current leader of the ATP ranking, does not reach the quarterfinals, the world tennis title will be his again -for the first time from January 2020-; if he reaches the semi-finals, he will qualify for the ATP Finals.

The unknown, once again, will be to see in what physical condition the man from Manacor, who will debut against the Croatian Borna Coric or the Italian Lorenzo Musetti, attend the event. In early July, the 22-time Grand Slam winner was forced to withdraw before the Wimbledon semi-finals due to an abdominal injury, and has since not participated in a tour event.

Meanwhile, Medvedev, winner in Cincinnati in 2019, needs only two wins to establish himself as number one. Now, he will try to forget against Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp his disappointing second-round elimination in Montreal against Nick Kyrgios.

In addition, the Murcian Carlos Alcaraz is looking for his Masters hat-trick after triumphing in Miami and Madrid, making his debut against the American Mackenzie McDonald, and Carreño wants to continue his streak and settle his debut against the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

In the women’s tournament, where the throne of the already retired Ashleigh Barty will be deserted, the Polish Iga Swiatek, number one in the world, will try to claim the title against contenders such as the Estonian Anett Kontaveit, the Greek Maria Sakkari or the Romanian Simona Halep , who returned to the ‘Top 10’ with his triumph in Toronto.

The Spanish Paula Badosa, number four in the WTA ranking, will debut against the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, while Garbiñe Muguruza, with whom the Catalan could meet in some hypothetical semifinals, will have to overcome the Kazakh Elena Rybakina.