FIFTEEN-time Grand Slam champion and new world No.1 Rafael Nadal has announced he will return to Pat Rafter Arena in January 2018 for the 10th annual Brisbane International.
In 2017 marked Nadal's first time playing the River City tournament and, following his defeat at the hands of Milos Raonic in the quarterfinal round, he returns next year to take another swing at the title.
Nadal said Brisbane International proved excellent preparation for his Australian Open campaign, where he faced off in the final against career rival Roger Federer at Melbourne Park.
"I'm very happy to be back, last year for me was the first experience and was very successful," he said.
"The atmosphere is great and there's a lot of nice people supporting the event. I really enjoyed the experience."
Nadal will officially regain the world No.1 title when the singles rankings of the ATP World Tour are released on Monday. It will be the first time the Spaniard has hit the top spot since 2014.
Prior to the Cincinnati Masters last week, he said he relished the opportunity to regain the rank after a tougher run.
"A lot of things have happened since the last time I was in this spot," said Nadal.
"Injuries and some tough moments, of course, but I have held the passion and the love for the game, and that's why I have the chance to be back in that position again."
This year has seen a remarkable resurgence from both Nadal and current world No.3 Roger Federer, who between them have won all three Grand Slams in 2017.
Brisbane International tournament director Geoff Quinlan said having Nadal on board is a coup for the competition and is sure to ignite the fans.
"It's beyond exciting to be welcoming Rafa back to Brisbane for our tenth tournament," says Quinlan.
"He's one of the world's most legendary and electric players, and was adored by fans in Brisbane earlier this year."
Queensland tourism and major events minister Kate Jones agreed that securing Nadal was a major boost to the event's worldwide reputation.
"To have the new world number one locked in to play in front of a vocal Brisbane crowd is a real coup for the event and for the tennis-loving public," says Jones.
"Year after year the Brisbane International attracts the best players on the planet with the world-class facilities at Tennyson helping to build its reputation as the ideal lead-up tournament for the Australian Open."
Business News Australia
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