Rafael Nadal to Return in Chile
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal will return to action in Chile after missing eight months through injury.
VIÑA DEL MAR – Chilean tennis fans will have a huge treat, with Nadal confirming that he will return in Viña del Mar. Nadal was already confirmed to play the ATP tournaments in Brazil and Mexico, but has added the VTR Open to his plans.
The news is a boost for tournament organizers, with the visit of the Spanish star likely to boost interest in tennis at a time when Chilean players are not starring on the world stage.
Chile’s best ranked player Paul Capdeville failed to make his way through the qualifiers for the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam event of the year is currently taking place in Melbourne, though Nadal decided to make his return in South America after pulling out of the first events of the year with a stomach virus. The passion, pace and energy of the Spaniard has been sorely missed by tennis fans in Australia.
Defending champion Juan Monaco will return to Chile for the tournament. The Argentine is currently ranked at number 12 on the ATP rankings. Despite the long absence, Nadal is ranked at number 4.
“Rafa” has the strongest career record of any player on clay, having won 254 matches with only 19 losses.
Following the tournaments on the “Latin American Swing”, Nadal will player in the Masters 1000 events. The Miami event saw Chilean Fernando González bring an end to his career. Nadal beat González in the Olympic final in Beijing.
The official tournament website confirmed the attendance of the Spanish star. The website crashed due to the interest in the tournament. The only Chileans on display will be dual gold medalist Nicolás Massú and young rising star Christian Garín, who both received wildcards to enter.
Nadal posted on his Facebook account, “I am delighted to confirm my participation in the tournament in Viña del Mar in Chile. I would like to thank the organizers of the tournament for the invitation, and say that I have many fans in the Andean country. Finally I can go in person to be with them and play my first tournament after the injury that has taken me away so long.”
The addition of Nadal should also be a huge boost for the tourism industry, with fans likely to travel from throughout Chile and further afield to see one of the greats of tennis.
The competition will begin on February 4.