WATCH: In his first match since winning the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal moves past Denis Kudla in the first round of Acapulco.

Rafael Nadal says he's no longer chasing the No. 1 spot in the rankings, but he does want to keep playing regularly on tour.

The 35-year-old is competing this week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, his first event since his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open.

There was some surprise that he did not take a longer break from competition following an exhausting title run that included coming from two sets down against Daniil Medvedev in the finals, and a win in the ATP warmup in Melbourne beforehand.

"I'm here because I want to and I can," Nadal was quoted as telling press in Acapulco following a first-round win. "I like to compete, I've played quite a lot for many years.

"If I reduce my schedule any more, I won't be a tennis player.

"Acapulco is somewhere I've always had good feelings. I wanted to be here if I could recover from Australia."

Nadal returned this season following a five-month layoff with a foot injury in the second half of 2021, and also had coronavirus just before the Australian events, spending several days in bed. Though happy to be back on tour, Nadal says he will be careful about where and when he plays. The Spaniard is not concentrating on the ATP rankings, where he's spent more than 200 weeks at No. 1.

"I have other goals, and I'm not going to pursue it because it would be an error to pursue it," said Nadal, currently ranked No. 5. "There are a lot of young players prepared to play all the events they need to fight for it. I have to be more selective and I'm not going to alter my calendar, not to fight for more points in the rankings."

Nadal is next scheduled to compete at Indian Wells, but has not confirmed for Miami.