Chile Welcomes Rafael Nadal
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal arrived in Chile and was greeted in an official ceremony by President Sebastián Piñera. Joining the ceremony were Chilean tennis legends Fernando González and Nicolás Massú.
SANTIAGO — Rafael Nadal will begin his comeback from a long injury layoff at the VTR Open. The Viña del Mar event will be the first of three Latin American ATP tournaments that the Spaniard will compete in.
Nadal has not played since Wimbledon. Despite this extended layoff, he is still ranked fifth in the world. The absence of “Rafa” from the Australian Open saw him drop one place in the rankings, with countryman David Ferrer moving into fourth.
Nadal said on arrival on Chile, “I am happy to be here in Chile for the first time and I hope to enjoy the next week in Viña. I hope it all goes well. I am here to compete.” Aside from a return in singles, Nadal will compete in the doubles with Juan Monaco.
After missing the Australian Open due to illness, Nadal has originally booked his comeback for the tournament in Brazil, but added the Chilean tournament to his schedule. The former World Number 1 will also play in Mexico.
President Piñera used the occasion to promote Chile’s work in the sports arena. The president stated, “We are creating a culture of sport in Chile, for this we will create a Ministry of Sport. In the past three years, we have added close to a million sportspeople.”
Aside from Olympic medalists González and Massú, the ceremony was also attended by government spokeswoman Cecilia Peréz as well as representatives from Chile’s tennis federation.