Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will defend his title at the Barcelona Open in April 2017, which is the second major tournament in the clay court season after the Monte Carlo Masters that happens a week prior to the tournament at the Catalan city.
The Spaniard cut his 2016 season short after the Shanghai Masters in October owing to a wrist injury, but confirmed earlier in the month that he will make a comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in December.
The Barcelona Open is one of two titles Nadal won last season, the other being the Monte Carlo Masters and the former world number one admitted that playing at his club in front of his Spanish people is a special occasion.
It will be Nadal's 13th appearance at the ATP 500 tournament held at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, which is the oldest Spanish tennis club and the Spaniard is looking for a record 10th title.
"I will play again at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell, a very important tournament for everyone on the world tennis calendar," Nadal said, as quoted on the ATP's official site. "As always, playing in Spain, at home, is an extra motivation for me for many reasons, but mainly because of the support of the public, which is closer. In addition, the tournament is played at my tennis club, and in Barcelona, which makes everything more special."
The Barcelona Open tournament director Albert Costa was pleased with the addition of Nadal to the roster and has backed the 14-time Grand Slam champion to get back to playing at his best next season. Nadal has also made it clear that returning to the world number one position and winning the Grand Slams is his main target in 2017.
"The possibility of watching Nadal play in Barcelona is reduced to one week a year, and it is normal that the expectation is triggered as he is one of the most extraordinary players who appear only once in a while in the world of sport. I am convinced that Rafa will return to play at the highest level and that we will have yet again a super tournament," Costa said.