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Nadal Meets Chilean President On Arrival In Santiago

Vina del Mar, Chile

Nadal© Jim Rydell/VTR OpenRafael Nadal met with President Sebastian Piñera upon his arrival in Chile.

World No. 5 Rafael Nadal arrived in Chile on Friday morning ahead of making his comeback to the ATP World Tour at next week’s VTR Open in Vina del Mar. 

The Spaniard touched down in Santiago and later had an hour-long meeting with President Sebastian Piñera and Chilean tennis stars Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu at the presidential offices in the Palacio de la Moneda.

During the meeting, Nadal gave the President a tennis racquet and in return received a book on the history of Chile. Speaking to the President, Nadal remarked on the "affection of the Chilean people" upon his arrival.

The 26-year-old Nadal is set to travel to Vina del Mar on Friday afternoon and will have his first training session with a promising Chilean player, 16-year-old Christian Garin.

On his arrival in Santiago, Nadal said, "I'm happy to be in Chile for the first time. I want to enjoy this week at Vina del Mar. I hope everything works out. I'll try to do my best and take it one day at a time. I'm ready for competition.”

The left-handed Mallorcan has been side lined for the past seven months due to a left knee injury. His last competitive match came against Lukas Rosol in the Wimbledon second round, where he was beaten in five sets.

"My knee is much better,” affirmed Nadal. “The tests show that there is no danger of suffering a bigger injury. I still have some pain, which doesn't let me be on court as much as I’d like, but I have to start at some point.

"It was the best decision to come to a country for the first time. Vina del Mar has the surface I need. Losing in the first round is something that could happen, because I haven't played in such a long time. I hope that doesn't happen and I can get back in form.”

Nadal is set to play a first-round doubles match with Argentine Juan Monaco on Tuesday and will open his singles campaign on Wednesday, following a first-round bye as the top seed.

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