Rafael Nadal continues preparations for his return in competition after he was shockingly stunned at the Australian Open 2016. Nadal lost to compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the Australian Open 2016, 7-6(6) 4-6 3-6 7-6(4) 6-2.
According to the 14-time grand slam champion, he will return to his favorite surface at the Rio Open 2016 for his next tournament.
In an interview with local Spanish media IB3 during one of his training sessions in his hometown in Manacor, Mallorca as translated on Vamos Rafael Nadal’s Facebook page, the Spanish tennis star spoke about his thoughts on his early elimination at the Australian Open 2016.
Nadal said he felt sad and disappointed since it wasn’t the outcome that he would have wanted. However, the former World number one said that his defeat in Melbourne is not the end. Nadal insists that feels better now and is already looking forward to his next competition on tour.
The Spanish tennis ace also revealed that he has not yet decided about which tournaments he will take part in prior to the ATP World Tour Masters and grand slam events. However, he said that he is ready to compete at the Rio Open 2016.
Nadal won the inaugural Rio Open in 2014 when he beat Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets, 6-3 7-6(3), in the finals. Last season, Nadal reached the final four in Rio, but lost to Fabio Fognini of Italy in three sets, 1-6 6-2 7-5.
In this year’s edition of the Rio Open, Nadal returns as the top seed. He is joined by 2015 champion David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, Dominic Thiem, and Jack Sock as well as returning players Fognini and Dolgopolov.
Meanwhile, the women’s singles event features 11 of the top 100 players from Women’s Tennis Association including Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, Teliana Pereira, Johanna Larsson, Danka Kovinic, and Karin Knapp. The tournament is played on the outdoor clay courts from Feb. 21 to Feb. 16, 2016.
Main photo courtesy: Rioopen.com