Rafael Nadal is looking forward to returning to competitive action when he plays at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia where he will aim to capture a 10th title at the tournament.

Nadal spoke ahead of it and said he is just glad to be back and that he has arrived early in order to get some well needed practice in having not played competitively since February.

“Rome is always exciting,” said Nadal, via a virtual press conference on Monday. “It’s one of the most important events in the world, without a doubt. And at the same time, of course, it will not be the same with no crowd and, being in the bubble, not being able to enjoy a little bit the city. But at least we have a tennis tournament here in Rome. That’s positive and I’m happy for that.”

“I arrived in plenty of time to try and have the right practices. You need matches to feel 100 per cent… I’m excited about going back to competition, without big expectations. I know I have a tough first [match] against Pablo. He’s playing great. So let’s see, it’s going to be a good test.”

“[My] expectation is to always go on court and try to feel competitive. That’s the first goal. Go on court, feel [that I’m] competitive, and then I will see how I feel and what kind of goals I can look for.”

In terms of Dominic Thiem’s US Open triumph, he said he is somebody who deserves to win one and that he is glad he now has with Nadal defeating Thiem previously in the 2018 and 2019 Roland Garros Finals.

“I’m happy for Dominic,” said Nadal. “He’s somebody who deserves to win a big title. He’s a super hard worker. Very focused on his goals. [A] good person, [a] good human person. He deserves it.”

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Author: Samuel Gill