After the disappointment of first round bust at the 2016 Australian Open, Rafael Nadal is now looking forward to defending his title at the 2016 Argentina Open.
Nadal, who was ousted in the first round of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, won last year’s edition of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina beating Juan Monaco, 6-3 6-1 in the championship round.
Nadal lost to compatriot Fernado Verdasco in Melbourne, Australia despite leading the game two sets to one as he lost the final two sets with scores of 6-7 (6) 6-4 6-3 6-7 (4) 2- 6.
While Nadal was a complete disappointment, his peers and rivals Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Andy Murray of Great Britain and Roger Federer of Switzerland remained as part of elite players in the sport. Djokovic beat Murray in the Australian Open final while Federer lost to Djokovic in the semifinal round.
“I want to thank the organizers of the ‘Argentina Open’ for inviting me to play in Buenos Aires. The times I have played in Argentina have been special and full of happy memories because the public are completely different to any other crowd in the world,” Nadal said in an official statement.
“To lose so early in Australia is one of the biggest disappointments we have had because in the last four months we had been playing well. I hope it is only a blip and we move forward.”
Nadal has struggled the past two ATP seasons and the title in Argentina is one of the few championships the Spanish star has won in this stretch.
Nadal has won just three titles in the 2015 ATP season, two of which came in the clay courts in Hamburg, Germany and Buenos Aires and the other,on grass in Stuttgart, Germany.
The 2016 Argentina Open is scheduled from Feb. 6 to 14 with the winners sharing the $523,470 tournament cash purse.
Joining Nadal in Argentina are David Ferrer (Spain), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) and John Isner (USA), among other top-ranked players in the ATP tour.
Photo courtesy: rafaelnadalfans.com