Rafael Nadal has committed to play at the 2017 Brisbane International next year. The Spanish player has struggled with injuries in recent years but had a good showing at the tennis events at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
A comeback to the top of the ranks in tennis is possible if he continues being healthy and the tourney in Australia would serve as a preparatory tournament in 2017’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
“It’s going to be the first time in my career that I’m going to play in Australia the first week of the season and I’m really excited about it,” Nadal stated to ATPworldtour.com.
“I think this is something I have to do during my career and I think at the same time it’s going to be a great preparation to be in Australia early. Everybody who has been in Brisbane has told me very beautiful things about the tournament and the place so I want to try it.”
The 2017 Brisbane International is set from January 1 to 8 with the 2017 Australian open from January 16 to January 31.
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Nadal usually plays in the Middle East in the early part of the ATP season but will choose to start his tennis year in Australia in 2017. Nadal joining the Brisbane tournament points to Nadal being serious in trying to add another Grand Slam in his career, so he can prepare better for the 2017 Australian Open.
The defending champion at the Brisbane International is Milos Raonic, who defeated Roger Federer, 6-4 6-4 in the title match in 2016. Federer won in 2015 and also made the final in 2014.
“We’ve been in talks with [Rafael Nadal] for a number of years about competing in Brisbane, he’s seen the event get bigger and better every year and we’re ecstatic he’s decided to join the field in 2017,” Geoff Quinlan, the tournament director of Brisbane International, stated.
He added, “Rafa is a legend of the sport and one of the most exciting players to see live so I’m sure fans will be counting down the days to January.”
In Rio, Brazil, Nadal won a gold medal after winning the men’s doubles event with Marc Lopez. The Spaniard made the semifinals but lost to Juan Martin Del Potro and lost the bronze medal match against Kei Nishikori.
Rafael Nadal will be appearing in the Brisbane tournament for the first time in his tennis career.
Photo courtesy: Brett Marlow/Wikimedia Commons