Rafael Nadal
Nadal won his 11th Monte Carlo Masters title on Sunday. In this picture, Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates with the trophy after winning the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters against Kei Nishikori of Japan during day eight of ATP Masters Series: Monte Carlo Rolex Masters at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 22, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal is not concerned about the ATP rankings as he prepares for his title defense at the Barcelona Open this week just two days after capturing his 11th title at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The Spaniard’s win at the Principality of Monaco ensured he remained ahead of Roger Federer in the men’s singles ranking, but by just 100-points. Nadal needs to win in Barcelona and the Madrid Open which follows the tournament in the Catalan capital to maintain his advantage over his long-time rival.

Federer will not lose any points despite deciding to skip the entire clay court season as he did the same in 2017. Nadal needs to defend a total of 4,680-points in order to stay ahead of the Swiss ace going into the grass court campaign later in the year.

The 16-time men’s singles Grand Slam winner, however, is not concerned about the rankings and made it clear that the need to stay ahead of Federer does not give him extra motivation going into a tournament. Nadal revealed that just the desire and "passion" to play the clay court events is motivation enough.

“For me the extra motivation is just playing the tournaments that I am playing,” Nadal said ahead of the Barcelona Open, as quoted on ATP’s official site. “Monte-Carlo, for me is like a love story and here, almost the same. My real motivation is just play, Monte-Carlo last week and now play Barcelona. That's a tournament that I have had a lot of success and I really feel the passion for playing.”

The 31-year-old completed his "La Decima" at the Barcelona Open last year by capturing his 10th title and revealed that it was an "unforgettable moment" to do it in a place he calls home despite being a Mallorca native.

Nadal will be favorite to win his 11th title when he begins his defense on Wednesday after his dominant display at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he claimed the title without dropping a set — losing just 21 games in total.

“It was fantastic. It was an unforgettable moment,” Nadal said of winning his 10th title in Barcelona in 2017.

“It's a tournament that I know very well. I feel a little bit like home, even if my home is Mallorca, I am from this club and I enjoy the fact that I can play here in front of my people.

“This part of the season, all the events are so special for me, so I really enjoy playing every week and this week is not an exception. Now having two weeks at home, Barcelona and then [the Mutua Madrid Open, starting 6 May], it's a special two weeks back-to-back,” he explained.

Nadal faces a tough draw yet again with Monte Carlo finalist Kei Nishikori a potential third round opponent, while Novak Djokovic could await the Spaniard in the quarter-finals.