Holger Rune will put the back injury which compromised his hardcourt summer to the test as the ATP Beijing 500 begins, with the world No. 4 keen to build for a November Masters 1000 title defence in Paris.
The Dane will be playing only his second match since a first-round Wimbledon loss as he played in pain.
But two months away from the court could well pay off for the 20-year-old as he makes his main draw debut in the Chinese capital at the oddly scheduled event which begins on Thursday.
“I’ve been battling a back injury for a while now. I have fixed it,” he said prior to his opening match in China.
“:I played a lot of tournaments with a lot of back pain, but in the end I thought: ‘Okay, I have to stop and fix it, not play tournaments again until I’m 100 percent.’
“That’s why I’m here too. I’m ready and excited for what is to come.”
Rune added: “I’m very happy to be back here and excited to get started. I’ve had a good week of training so far.
“I have good memories of China, the last time I was here I won the junior masters in Chengdu.
“It’s definitely something I can look back on and admire,”
Even after missing the entire North American August swing and skipping the US Open, Rune is holding onto eighth and last place to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin in November.
He is making a trip to the season wrapup one of his main current motivations: “One of the objectives is to be able to reach the ATP Finals.
“I have to defend Paris, but above all I really want to return (to Turin) because I have very good memories from last year. I played my best tennis there.
“I have good opportunities here in Beijing and in Shanghai (next week) to do well, so I can relax a little more – not relax, but not be completely stressed about these tournaments, about the points.
“You can’t control all that, you can only control your effort on the court, how you are and how much you put into it. Mainly I focus on being 100 percent.
“There are still many tournaments with many (ranking) points to distribute to end the season. There are 500 points here, 1,000 next week, then 250, 500, 1,000.
There are a lot of points, so I will try to focus on what I do instead of what others do.”