Relaxed Nadal says winning the U.S. Open not an obsession

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal needs only the U.S. Open title to complete a career set of grand-slam titles but the relaxed Spaniard says he will never allow it to become an obsession.

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after a point against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during their match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 11 , 2010. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese

The 24-year-old world number one goes into the final grand-slam event of 2010 with Wimbledon and the French Open already in the bag this year.

Though he has yet to go beyond the semi-finals in New York, Nadal said that he was already more than content with a career that has yielded eight grand-slam victories.

“I hope I have more chances to play well here and to have the chance to win, but without obsession,” Nadal told a news conference at Flushing Meadows Saturday, two days before the start of the Open.

“I am more than happy with what I have at home, all the tournaments that I have won. It is more than I dreamt five or six years ago, so I am happy for that.

“Now I have the (desire) to improve my tennis to play well here, and that’s what I am trying (to do) all the time.”

The fast conditions at the U.S. Open have reduced some of the effect of Nadal’s topspin, while injuries have often seen him arrive in New York at less than 100 percent.

After winning his second Wimbledon title in July, Nadal had some treatment to his troublesome knees but said he was fully fit as he looked to become only the seventh man to win the Australian and French Opens, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“I think if we are talking generally, I probably arrived a little bit better than (in the) other years,” said Nadal, whose first opponent will be Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. “But I did two semi-finals (in the) last two years, so it wasn’t a bad result. I was there.

“Physically I’m fine. I was always fine mentally, just one time in 2008 when I lost the semi-final against Andy (Murray). I was too tired to win this tournament.”

Nadal looked a little rusty on his return to the tour in Toronto and Cincinnati earlier this month but said there was no reason why he could not win the title in New York.

“After a few years I am playing better and better in this tournament, but still the center court is difficult to play, with more wind than the rest of the grand slams.

“Sometime when you are against the wind, it seems like you are not moving the ball. But I did well. When you are in the semi-finals for two years, why not?”

Editing by Clare Fallon