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Nadal to make Japanese debut

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Originally published on: 16/06/10 10:46

Rafael Nadal will make his Japanese debut at Tokyo’s Rakuten Open in October, tournament organisers announced today.

Past champions at the Asian tournament include Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, and the Spaniard will be the latest world No.1 to challenge for the Japan Open title – currently held by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“It is with great pleasure and excitement that I am coming for the first time to Japan,” said the 24-year-old French Open champ in between preparing for an assault at his second Wimbledon title.

“To me, this is a great opportunity to play in a tournament that I have never played before and that I have heard great things from other players. I know I have a huge fan base in Japan so that also makes me very happy.”

Defending champ Tsonga is also set to return for another tilt at the title, while he will be joined by countryman Gael Monfils and former world No.1s Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt.

The hard-court tournament, due to take place a month after the conclusion of the US Open, between 4-10 October, will also feature former world No.56 Kei Nishikori – now ranked No.204 – who missed last year’s event due to an elbow injury.

“It’s always special for me to play in Japan,” said the Japanese 20-year-old. “I’ve heard that Nadal will take part in the tournament. I’m really looking forward to play against him.”

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