Rafael Nadal: 'I'm thrilled to play in Toronto again, and would love to defend title'

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Rafael Nadal: 'I'm thrilled to play in Toronto again, and would love to defend title'

After an extended clay campaign and a tough Roland Garros loss to Novak Djokovic in the semis, Rafael Nadal felt like he needed more time to rest ahead of his next encounters. The 20-time Major winner decided to skip Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, staying at home in Mallorca and preparing for the North American hard-court swing.

Rafa will return to action in Washington in the first week of August and will enter the Canada Open a week later, seeking the third straight crown at this event. Nadal was the player to beat in Toronto and Montreal in 2018 and 2019, hoping for another strong run in a month.

In 2010, Nadal lost to Andy Murray in the semi-final in Toronto, and he didn't play in that city until 2018. Making a strong comeback as world no. 1, Nadal secured the 33rd Masters 1000 crown and his 80th ATP title following a 6-2, 7-6 triumph over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

The young Greek beat four top-10 rivals to enter the title clash, becoming the youngest player with that many consecutive wins over the players from the exclusive group.

Rafael Nadal will try to defend his Toronto title in August.

Tsitsipas gave his best in the second set against Nadal, pulling a break back and creating a set point on the return in game 12.

Rafa lost the ground in the match's closing stages despite a pearless performance before serving for the victory at 5-4 when Tsitsipas broke back to extend the encounter and almost send it into a decider. In the end, the Spaniard survived the 12th game and clinched the tie break 7-4 to lift his 19th ATP title on hard and the first since the 2018 US Open.

Rafa can't wait to compete in Toronto again, praising the event and hoping to chase the third consecutive Canada Open crown. "I'm thrilled to return to Canada and play in Toronto. It's a fantastic tournament, and I have had some really great matches there.

As a matter of fact, I won there the last time we played, and I would love to defend my title this August and be again with my fans in Canada and around the world," Rafael Nadal said.