HAMBURG, Germany (AFP) - Spanish clay-court king Rafael Nadal, the favourite for the Hamburg Masters Series which starts here on Monday, admitted on Sunday he takes some solace being second behind Swiss master Roger Federer.
"For me, Roger is the best player of all time and I am the best number two in the world," Nadal told Sunday's edition of Die Welt newspaper.
"I would be very pleased to be world number one, but that is not something which obsesses me. I am just glad to be able to play at 100 percent.
"If I one day become the best in the world, that would be extraordinary, but if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen," said the Spaniard who has won the last three titles at Roland Garros, which starts at the end of the month.
Nadal has been second to Federer in the ATP rankings since July 25, 2005 and the Swiss master has been world number one since February 2, 2004 - 223 consecutive weeks - which is a record.
"I have a lot of respect for Roger and I know he has the same for me," said the 21-year-old Nadal.
The Spaniard, who lost the 2007 final in Hamburg to Federer, also repeated his criticism of the ATP's calender season.
"It is a big mistake that four of the five most important tournaments on clay - Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Hamburg - are all held in one four week period," said the Spaniard.
"I need to take part in all these tournaments, I will try to give it my best shot, but I know that will be difficult.
"This calendar damages the European tournaments and especially to us, the players," added Nadal hoping that "the ATP will do what it was created for, to look after the professional players."