Rafael Nadal returns to his beloved clay this week ready to begin his title defense in Buenos Aires. Though talk was still on his shock first round exit at the Australian Open last month.
“I didn’t like at all the defeat in Australia, but that I cannot solve,” Nadal said. “It was a bad tournament. [It] just did not work out despite having prepared very well. So I’m in Buenos Aires to give my best and try to make a better presentation.
“Every season is different, but with the same purpose to fight in every tournament and finish as high as possible in the ranking. I’m happy to return to Argentina, because every time I left this country I did it with a lot of positive energy. They treat me very well here, like few places in the world.”
Following a bye, the world No. 5 opens Wednesday against today’s winner between Marco Cecchinato and good friend Juan Monaco who is returning from a wrist injury.
“Monaco was injured a long time, so we have to wait if he can eliminate Cecchinato,” Nadal said. “I hope that Juan can win because he is my friend and a victory would benefit him after many days without playing. Anyway, it will be a difficult match for me.”
Nadal beat Monaco in the final last year. His last title came over the summer in Hamburg.
David Ferrer, John Isner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also in the draw. After BA, Nadal will head to Rio to wrap up his 2016 “Latin Swing”.
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