World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will end his nearly seven-month layoff when he chases his record-extending 10th title at next week’s Italian Open.
“The Foro Italico is always a special place for me and even more so this year as it will be my first tournament following a long period without playing,” he said Tuesday in a video message for the Sept. 14-21 clay-court tournament in Rome.
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Nadal, 34, has not played since defeating Taylor Fritz in the final of the Mexico Open in Acapulco on Feb. 29.
The 19-time Grand Slam winner opted not to travel to New York for the U.S. Open due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Nineteen of the top 20 men’s players are entered in the Italian Open, a key tune-up for the French Open that begins on Sept. 27. No. 4 Roger Federer is still recovering from knee surgery.
Nadal is the two-time defending champion in Rome.