Rafael Nadal says he’ll be back at the Rio Olympics

‘An important part of my life is leaving too,’ says emotional Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has taken time off from competitive tennis to care for his daughter but insists he’ll be back at the Rio Olympics as soon as possible.

Nadal, who won the US Open earlier this year, said the long gap between the end of this year’s Australian Open and the start of the Rio Olympics was ‘an important part of my life’.

He added: ‘Playing tennis will always be something that I love.

Rafael Nadal. Photograph: Andrew Nossiter/Reuters

‘It’s been a great year and I’m looking forward to the beginning of the next one.

‘An important part of my life is leaving too and I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to achieve in the past.’

Nadal, the world No 1, had not competed on the red-carpet event since the US Open last week and will be looking to improve his record as he prepares to defend his title at the Rio Games.

He has two ATP titles to his name, 12 grand slam singles tournaments and four major-ranking titles, along with a Masters 1000 doubles title.

The Swiss-born 27-year-old is one of just a handful of men to have won the grand slam in five different years.

Nadal said: ‘As always, I try to have a good time and make myself very happy.

‘I am looking to win at least one match in the Rio Olympics, which I hope to be able to.

‘I also hope to get an opportunity in the future to return to the Tour finals.

‘I’m going to spend the rest of the year to recover and then start again in the beginning of the year.’

Nadal is the first ATP title holder since Lleyton Hewitt won the US Open in 2006, four years after capturing the title at the same tournament.

He added: ‘It is very special to see that history repeated. It is only the beginning.

‘The tennis world has changed in a way that I can’t quite explain, and I’m very happy that I’m able to play for a prize that has value. For five years I was without money which was very difficult, but now I have an income.

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