World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is back in training ahead of the inaugural Rio Open next week and took part in a media session ahead of the official start of the event, where he shared his opinions on the new ATP 500 event.
“I think that tennis has to move to places where there is love and passion for the sport, so it is important to have tournaments in South America,” said Nadal. “Tennis is a global sport, so to have tournaments in new places is great for our sport.”
There are five tournaments on the Latin American swing of the ATP World Tour in 2014, emphasizing the growth of the sport in that region of the world.
“Cities and countries in Latin America have developed a lot over the years, so it is good to see tournaments are getting bigger and bigger in this part of the world.”
Nadal also expressed his desire to compete in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympic Games in 2016. The Spaniard won Gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and hopes to repeat his efforts in 2016 on the clay courts in Rio.
“It is difficult to predict what will happen over the next two-and-a-half years, but I am motivated to arrive at the Olympic Games in 2016 and be competitive,” he said. “The fact that the Olympic Games will be on clay gives me a little bit of extra motivation. Representing my country at an Olympic Games, at Beijing 2008, was one of the greatest moments of my career.”