Reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal (Player Profile) has revealed that he will partake in the Rio Open in 2014. The inaugural event takes place February 15-23 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is considered the biggest tournament in South America.
“I am looking forward to playing for the first time ever in Rio de Janeiro. I have heard so much about the city, and now I will finally have the opportunity to be there,” said Nadal. “All around the world, when I play, I can feel the love of the Brazilian people.”
The world no. 2 made history as the only player to win the same Grand Slam event eight times when he won the French Open earlier this year. The Spaniard has finished the ATP season as world no. 1 twice in his career and is focused on regaining the no. 1 spot before the end of the 2013 season. Rafa is the only player to win two Grand Slams this year on top of his five ATP 1000 titles, (Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Cincinnati and Montreal) two ATP 500 titles, (Acapulco and Barcelona) and a 250 title in Sao Paulo.
“Nadal is one of greats of the history of the sport. His commitment to play the Rio Open already states that the event is aiming to be one of the most important on the ATP World Tour and that the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro attracts the biggest stars of the planet, especially on the way to the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games. Having already confirmed Ferrer a couple of months ago, we will have the Roland Garros Champion and runner-up competing here,” said IMX Sports’VP, Marcia Casz.
Nadal has not scheduled any events on South American clay since 2005, emphasizing his scheduling changes for the upcoming year. Rafa generally reserved the month of February for potential Davis Cup obligations and as a recuperation period prior to the French clay court season.
The Rio Open marks the only joint ATP/WTA Tour 500 event in South America. The event will be held on the eight clay courts of the Jockey Club Brasileiro, including a Stadium and will be offering a total prize money of $1, 500,000. It is an ambitious event and the world no. 2’s participation brings more credibility to the event early on.
“It’s very important for South American tennis that we finally have an ATP World Tour 500 event.” Nadal said about the tournament. “It’s a great victory for Brazil.”
Check out other interesting articles about Rafa: Rafael Nadal News