Top-ranked Rafael Nadal set for Japan Open debut
TOKYO – After a surprising loss at the Thailand Open, top-ranked Rafael Nadal is aiming to return to his winning ways in his debut at the Japan Open.
Nadal arrived in Tokyo on Monday after a loss to tournament winner and fellow-Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the semifinals in Bangkok on Saturday.
The 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 loss was Nadal's first since winning the US Open and becoming the seventh man to complete a career Grand Slam. The 24-year-old has won seven titles already this year, including three majors, and will face Colombia's Santiago Giraldo on Tuesday in the second round of the $1.2 million tournament.
"Tomorrow will be a difficult match," Nadal said Monday. "It's a very fast surface here and Giraldo is a very good player. He will be dangerous."
Despite the loss to Garcia-Lopez, Nadal said he wasn't about to make any major changes to his game.
"There is not much you can do in a matter of days," Nadal said. "If you look at the way I lost in Thailand you would say I have to make some changes. If anything, I feel I need to be more aggressive."
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, Nadal said he will remember 2010 as an "incredible" year.
"This was an incredible season for me," said Nadal. "I've been playing well all year. I had a bit of a problem with my knee in Australia, but when I won in Monte Carlo everything changed. I started to play really well and get some confidence."
The inclusion of Nadal in the Tokyo tournament is a huge boost to organizers. Other players taking part include defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, Andy Roddick of the United States and Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro.