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Defending U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal enters the year's final Grand Slam with less momentum than last year, but also less pressure to repeat as champion.
"After winning last year, the pressure is less," Nadal said in midtown Tuesday. "I now have all four Grand Slams."
In the time since he beat Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final last September — completing his major trophy collection — Nadal has dropped to the No. 2 ranking while struggling to stem the rise of Djokovic, the new No. 1 and the Open's top seed.
Nadal appeared Tuesday as part of Bacardi's "Champions Drink Responsibly" event at Bar Basque, and he was asked about his own drinking habits. (In his memoir, "Rafa," which was published yesterday, the 25-year-old Spaniard writes, "I barely touch alcohol.")
"I am the first one, when I have a chance, to go out with friends," Nadal told reporters during a news conference. "Alcohol is part of that all the time. The thing is ... it's not necessary to take a crazy amount of alcohol. ... I have [had] fun 1,000 times without drinking too much."