Rafael Nadal was exhausted yet exhilarated following his emotional return to action at this month's Rio Olympics after an injury-absence and is looking forward to gearing back up for the U.S. Open starting on Monday.
"If you're not excited about the U.S. Open, you're not a tennis player," Nadal told reporters.
Injuries are affecting several top players heading into the last grand slam of the year in a season made even more hectic with the Olympics squeezed into the schedule.
Men's top seed Novak Djokovic, like Nadal, is also dealing with a wrist injury and women's number one Serena Williams is coping with a sore right shoulder.
Lefthander Nadal, sidelined after being unable to play his third-round match at the French Open because of an injured left wrist, decided to test himself in Rio.
"I was two months and a half outside of the competition, and not only outside of the competition, outside the practice courts. I couldn't practise," the Spanish fourth seed said at Flushing Meadows on Friday.
Nadal, 30, said he was determined to give it a try in Rio and ended up feeling good enough to compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
"The motivation, the passion, sharing moments with the team helped a lot," said Nadal, who reached the Rio singles semi-finals and won gold in doubles with his friend Marc Lopez.
"Winning a gold medal is always something unique, and I think I enjoyed it as much as I can during the whole event," he said.
"I finished the tournament completely exhausted ... no more energy inside of my body."
Rafael Nadal thru the years
Rafael Nadal thru the years
Rafael Nadal of Spain makes a speech after losing to Andy Murray of Britain during the men's final at the Madrid Open Tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, May 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul White)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 16: Rafael Nadal of Spain eyes up a backhand return against Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic in their semi-final match at the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand on January 16, 2004. Nadal knocked out the fancied Novak 6-1, 6-3. (Photo by Nigel Marple/Getty Images)
ALICANTE, SPAIN: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating France's Arnaud Clement in their fourth match of the Davis Cup semi final between Spain and France 26 September 2004 in Alicante. Spain advanced to the 2004 Davis Cup final taking an unbeatable 3-1 lead over France. Spain's Rafael Nadal beat Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours, 12 minutes to book a second consecutive spot in the final which they will host against the United States from December 3-5. It will be the fifth Davis Cup final for Spain who were runners-up in 1965, 1967 and 2003, and winners in 2000. AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDAN (Photo credit should read JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 23: Portrait of Rafael Nadal of Spain taken on May 23, 2004 during the French Open Tennis Championships at Roland Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates match point against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during day four of the Australian Open Grand Slam at Melbourne Park January 20, 2005 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
KEY BISCAYNE, FL - APRIL 03: Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his brow during play against Roger Federer of Switzerland in the men's final during the NASDAQ-100 Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on April 3, 2005 in Key Biscayne, Florida. Federer won the match 2-6, 6(4)-7(7), 6-3, 6-1 (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LONDON, United Kingdom: Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts after winning a point Irkli Labadze of Georgia during the 4th round of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, in south London, 03 July 2006. AFP PHOTO/GLENN CAMPBELL (Photo credit should read GLENN CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA: World number two Rafael Nadal of Spain eyes the ball as he serves during a practice session in the lead-up to the Australian Open in Melbourne, 12 January 2007. Nadal had a successful year in 2006 winning five titles including the French Open and is seeded second in this year's Australian Open. AFP PHOTO/Paul CROCK (Photo credit should read PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball in his game against Fernando Gonzalez of Chile during their men's tennis match on day eight of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 26, 2009. Top seed Rafael Nadal maintained his perfect record as he swept past Chile's Fernando Gonzalez and into the Australian Open quarter-finals. Nadal, who is yet to drop a set, dominated the 2007 finalist 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to advance to a last-eight clash with France's Gilles Simon as he seeks his first hard-court Grand Slam win. AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal (L) and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas attend a press conference during a Red Cross media event against malaria at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, 30 November 2007. AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal serves to Italy's Simone Bolelli on the second day of the Qatar Open in Doha on January 5, 2010. Nadal started the 2010 ATP World Tour with a comfortable-looking draw against the world number 93 from Italy - and with his projected semi-final opponent suddenly removed. The fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny fell at the first hurdle against Sergiy Stakhovsky, the former US Open junior finalist, an outcome which may be more helpful to Nadal than it may at first seem, since the Russian demolished him in the opening week of the 2008 season in the Chennai final. AFP PHOTO/KARIM JAAFAR (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)
Spain's tennis player Rafael Nadal (2nd L) poses next to French State Secretary for Sport Rama Yade (2nd R), France's National Assembly president Bernard Accoyer and French Tennis federation president Jean Gachassin, after being awarded by the French Sports Academy with the performance of the year 2008 prize, on November 9, 2009 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during the men's singles round robin match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on November 27, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Spain's Rafael Nadal (L) celebrate holding the David Cup trophy next to tammate David Ferrer after winning the Davis Cup final against Argentina at La Cartuja Olympic stadium in Sevilla on December 4, 2011. Spain's Rafael Nadal got the winning point as Spain won a fifth Davis Cup. The world number two beat Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro to give the hosts an unbeatable 3-1 lead, rallying from a set down to see off the 2009 US Open champion 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0). AFP PHOTO/JAVIER SORIANO AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER (Photo credit should read CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain views the ball as he serves to Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium during their second round match in the ATP Thailand Open tennis tournament in Bangkok on September 30, 2010. Nadal beat Bemelmans 6-1, 6-4. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Switzerland's Roger Federer (not pictured), during their singles final tennis match, on the last day of the ATP World Tour Finals, at the O2, in south-east London on November 28, 2010. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain serves during his men's finals match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the 2011 US Open tennis tournament September 12, 2011 in New York. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal during a press conference of the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on February 12, 2012. Nadal played in Chile winning doubles but lost his final after being away more than 7 months due to his left knee injure. AFP PHOTO/Yasuyoshi CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
LIMA, PERU - NOVEMBER 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain waves to the audience after an exhibition at Jockey Club on November 17, 2013 in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 03: Rafael Nadal of Spain leaves the court after losing his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Nadal carried on straight from Rio to Cincinnati where he won his opening match before losing to teenager Borna Coric of Crotia.
"I am better, I am a little bit better," said Nadal. "It's true that the wrist bothers me a little bit less every day. I need to understand again to hit my normal forehand. During the wrist injury, always you try to find movements to avoid the pain.
"Today I can start the forehand, I think my normal forehand, but still needs time to feel that I am more confident on my wrist. But I am practicing well and I am competing well."
Nadal hopes his Rio elation carries over to the Open, which he won in 2010 and 2013.
"I have been playing at a very high level. So that helped me to play well in the Olympics, and I hope it's going to help me to play well here," the 14-times grand slam winner said.
"When you go to the Olympics and finally you win a medal, it's just the most important thing that you can do. So I'm just very happy for that, one medal for my country."Nadal will play his first-round Open match against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, who reached the fourth round in New York in 2012 but is 7-20 this season.