'Rafael Nadal needs to play a lot of tournaments for that', says former ace



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'Rafael Nadal needs to play a lot of tournaments for that', says former ace

The 2022 edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro won another top 10 in the lineup. After confirming the Italian Matteo Berrettini, current world number 7, and also the Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz, the largest tennis tournament in South America now announces the Norwegian Casper Ruud, the 8th in the ATP ranking.

Also joining the lineup is the bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Spanish Pablo Carreño Busta. The Rio Open will take place from February 12 to 20 at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, in Rio de Janeiro. At 22, Ruud had the best season of his career in 2021 and set several records.

The tennis player won the title in five tournaments and became the first Norwegian in history to be in the top 10 in the ATP. Ruud's big year was capped off with a spot in the ATP Finals, which also made him the first Norwegian to compete in the tournament.

Ruud's first participation in the Rio Open was in the 2017 edition, when he was invited to compete in the tournament. At that time, the tennis player was ranked 208th and surprised everyone with a great campaign, reaching the semifinals of the tournament.

Since then, the Norwegian has been in all editions of the Rio tournament. Rafael Nadal tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday after returning to Spain following his run at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. The Spaniard is scheduled to feature at an ATP 250 event in Melbourne kicking off on January 4, though that is now unlikely.

Rafa needs some time to make a final decision

In an exclusive interview with Marca, former World No. 2 Alex Corretja backed Rafael Nadal to win another Grand Slam title. He said that despite not enjoying great form on the tour lately, the Spaniard will retire as a "winner."

"Rafa will retire being a winner, whatever happens. No matter how he was before, he has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on, but being Rafa you always have the feeling that he still has a bullet in his chamber to do something great," said Corretja.

"You can never doubt special people like him, even if he comes from a very long injury and the process that he will have now will be difficult, I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him. A great title I mean a Grand Slam, because a Masters 1,000 more or less is not going to change anything," added the former World No.

2. However, Corretja feels that it will be really difficult for Nadal to regain the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings. "As for being number 1, it will be quite difficult because for that he needs to play a lot of tournaments, be very consistent, and that is no longer in his head. He has already been number 1 many times, it does not matter the weeks, and that is secondary," concluded Corretja.