Nadal plans to play Queen’s Club

Rafael Nadal will return to Queen’s this year after he was unable

to defend his title at the grass-court tournament in 2009.

In 2008, Nadal was the first man to win at the French Open,

Queen’s Club and Wimbledon in the same year, but his persistent

knee problems prevented him from defending his titles on grass at

Queen’s and Wimbledon last year.

“I always look forward to coming to England to play at The

Queen’s Club and Wimbledon but this year there is even more

motivation because I could not defend my titles last year,” Nadal

said Thursday.

Two years ago Nadal followed victory at Queen’s with his

first triumph at Wimbledon, ending Roger Federer’s dominance at the

All England Club in an epic, five-set final.

But injury meant he could not return for the grass-court

season a year later.

“No one was more disappointed than me that I couldn’t play

because I love those tournaments,” Nadal said. “Queen’s is a big,

important tournament … and it was an amazing feeling to win it in

2008 and then to fulfill my dream by winning Wimbledon.”

To not defend my Wimbledon title last year was one of the

toughest decisions in my career, but this is a new year and now I

have the chance to go back to England and to compete on the grass

again.”

Nadal’s injury problems in the middle of 2009 signaled his

slide from the world No. 1 ranking. After winning the 2009

Australian Open, Nadal lost a match at the French Open for the

first time when he fell to Robin Soderling in the fourth round.

Nadal’s last appearance on court was when he retired, with

more knee problems, in his quarterfinal match with Andy Murray at

the Australian Open in January.

The 23-year-old left-hander is set to return to action at

this week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.

U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro has also announced

his intention to play at Queen’s. The traditional Wimbledon warm-up

event is scheduled for June 7-13.