Reaching at least the semi-finals in Montreal will guarantee the Spaniard goes to the top of the rankings.
Rafael Nadal focused on winning in Canada rather than taking No 1 from Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal says he will focus on the foes in front of him at the Canadian Open this week, and not on his chance to return to number one in the world.
A semi-final run in Montreal would see the Spaniard supplant Britain's Andy Murray atop the rankings.
"I don't even think about that now," Nadal said of number one. "I'm trying to have the right preparation now and that's it.
"I'm going to keep trying to play the way I did in the first part of the season, so if I'm able to make that happen, I hope to have a chance to do well."
Graham Caygill Federer and Nadal set to duel for No 1 spot for rest of 2017
The top seed is expected to open his campaign for a fourth Canadian title on Wednesday with a second-round meeting against either Croatian Borna Coric or Russian lucky loser Mikhail Youzhny.
Nadal could also be on track for a third round showdown against 2009 tournament runner-up Juan Martin del Potro who beat hard-serving American John Isner in straight sets 7-5, 7-5 in a night match on Monday.
Murray is among the notable absentees from this key US Open tune-up.
Novak Djokovic is taking off the rest of the season to rehab an elbow injury and US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has ended his 2017 campaign with a knee problem.
Murray is trying to recover from a nagging hip injury in time for the final grand slam of the season that starts later this month in Flushing Meadows.
Nadal claimed his 10th French Open title this year but bowed out in the fourth round at Wimbledon -- his fifth exit before the quarter-finals in his last five appearances at the All England Club.
Roger Federer, who seized his 19th major title at Wimbledon, is also slated to open on Wednesday.