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.