Eleven-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, has warned his rivals that he will climb the rankings and compete for majors as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury. Nadal featured on court last week for the first time since he suffered a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left knee at Wimbledon in June.
He marked his comeback with a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina on Wednesday, 24 hours on from a doubles success alongside Juan Monaco. The Chile Open is a big tournament for Nadal as he looks to re-establish himself as one of the very best in the world. He has missed two Grand Slams through a mixture of injury and illness and has subsequently dropped to number five in the rankings.
While the Spaniard is keen to take things game by game during the early stages of his recovery, he is confident of finding his best form again. “I’m only a year older than (Novak) Djokovic and (Andy) Murray. Maybe it’s not time to bury me yet,” the 26-year-old told the tennis betting news. “I have not forgotten how to play tennis. I think I can reach the level I used to have.”
Nadal will face compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the Chile Open quarter-finals after getting past Delbonis. He has enjoyed the experience of playing in the country and said the locals are making him feel “like a Chilean” with their support.
“I felt good, very happy to play a singles tournament again. It was a very important and very beautiful afternoon for me,” Nadal added.
While Nadal will be focused on coming through his first tournament in eight months unscathed, he will surely have one eye on claiming his eighth French Open title in nine years in June. Sports betting news pundits have been unwilling to write the Spaniard off; he is the current favourite for the Roland Garros title, despite his recent hiatus.